Home Abandoned Stations MTA vows to secure abandoned stations after Underbelly

MTA vows to secure abandoned stations after Underbelly

by Benjamin Kabak

The Shadow Machine from Jason Eppink on Vimeo.

When news leaked of the Underbelly Project gallery at an abandoned subway station somewhere in New York, I assumed that the MTA would quickly identify the site and shut down porous access. It took of us intrigued by and obsessed with abandoned stations just a quick glance to identify the gallery site as the South 4th Street station, and today, I was able to confirm that the art is indeed in this IND Second System shell station. The MTA figured it out too and pledged better security.

I asked the authority about their official response to the so-called exhibition, and it was as you might expect. “NYC Transit is working with the NYPD in the investigation and follow-up on this matter,” MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said. “Further inspections will be made to this and other similar locations throughout the system to better secure these areas. We remind the public that any such incursions into unauthorized areas of the transit system is considered trespassing and is punishable by law not to mention, dark and dangerous.”

Meanwhile, I learned this morning as well that an MTA work crew went into the old South 4th Street station to explore the site. They were spotted entering the shell at the northbound end of the Broadway stop on the G train, and Donovan told me that the authority’s crews are working to identify potential access points and to seal up these abandoned areas. “New York City Transit staff were on site today to assess the station’s security and make some adjustments to make it more secure,” Donovan said.

As the video above from Jason Eppink — the artist behind this summer’s Spoiler Alert signs and a 2008 subway chair installation — shows, it is indeed dark and dangerous, and it appears as though at least one site access point requires walking along or through subway tracks. More scenes from the makeshift gallery have reached the Internet as well. Wall Kandy offers up a blog post and a flickr photo gallery. These photos are from July 30-August 1, and I have to wonder what time and other graffiti artists have done to the project in the intervening three months.

We won’t, it seems, learn that answer from the MTA. Although an MTA crew got to explore a long lost part of a planned subway expansion, I doubt they took pictures. Still, eve as the MTA works to secure the site and prevent unwanted access to dangerous areas and dark corners, the authority is tantalizingly leaving the art in place. “We have,” Donovan told me, “no intention of painting over or removing the artwork.”

After a jump, one of my favorite pieces of the street art from the Underbelly Project.

At South 4th Street, a unique twist on a familiar slogan. (Photo via LTV Squad)

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Lawrence Velazquez November 2, 2010 - 6:17 pm

“We have,” Donovan told me, “no intention of painting over or removing the artwork.”

Makes sense. Paint costs money. 🙂

Tsuyoshi November 2, 2010 - 7:30 pm

They should open it up and charge admission.

Killjoy November 3, 2010 - 2:24 am

Let’s see- cost of security, additional lighting, liability insurance – that oughta turn a profit…

Alon Levy November 3, 2010 - 3:43 am

For the contractors, it’d be very profitable.

Andreas November 2, 2010 - 8:53 pm

I knew it was there..! The site is accessible without crossing the crosstown tracks, it’s just a few feet North of the SB platform at the Broadway Station. My guess is that this area would be the vertical circulation to the never to be station… I saw construction workers a couple of times over there… I wish i had the opportunity to visit this art space!

Cap'n Transit November 2, 2010 - 9:57 pm

I want that “If you see something…” on a T-shirt!

JP November 2, 2010 - 10:47 pm

If I lived in hipsterville and relied on the pokey ol G train, chances are someone I know would go wandering down the platform here and there.

Pondering the allure of the abandoned :: Second Ave. Sagas November 4, 2010 - 2:00 am

[…] The MTA and the NYPD are working to ensure that access to the abandoned and forgotten stations isn’t as easy as it was for the two years while street artists toiled away at the Underbelly Project work. Hidden access […]

Photos from a recent trip to the Underbelly :: Second Ave. Sagas November 5, 2010 - 2:02 pm

[…] spot. Either way, it is a testament to the fleeting nature of this project, and while the MTA has no plans to erase it, time and other artists will take its […]


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