New Photography Exhibit Tracks Progress of MTA Capital Projects

Credit: MTA/Patrick J. Cashin

MTA Arts & Design has installed “Breaking Ground,” a photography exhibit by Patrick J. Cashin that focuses on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s major infrastructure projects. The yearlong exhibit near the fare control area at the 4 Subway5 Subway Bowling Green station, which is the latest in Art & Design’s large-scale photography exhibits, offers a glimpse of the future of New York City public transportation and a behind-the-scenes look at MTA’s major capital projects.

Cashin, a former Newsweek lab technician/photographer, has been visually documenting the MTA’s projects, milestones and other news-making events for 15 years. His role within the MTA gives him a unique view and access to the transit authority’s mega-projects, workforce and advanced equipment that few see in person. Selections of his photography are available for public view and media use on the MTA’s Flickr account, but the exhibit at Bowling Green is the first time that his photography has been displayed in large format in a public space.

The photographs featured at Bowling Green were taken deep beneath New York City. They show the herculean efforts underway to build the important transportation infrastructure that is vital to the city’s growth. Cashin’s trained eye captures the massive earth-moving equipment and MTA crews responsible for carving out subway tunnels and railroad tubes in the city’s bedrock. Among the MTA capital projects highlighted in the photographs are the Second Avenue Subway, the 7 Subway Line extension to Manhattan’s west side and the East Side Access project, which will link the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal.

“There has been an amazing amount of excavation and construction work going on, out of sight, as MTA builds a 21st-century transit system for New York, and we wanted to share some of Patrick J. Cashin’s photographs with the public,” said Sandra Bloodworth, the Director of Arts & Design. “His vivid photos in our Lightbox Program take you directly to the site so you can experience firsthand this remarkable work.”

Cashin’s photographic subjects resemble the set of a futuristic movie, with their images of tunnels and massive equipment that most people associate with the scale of epic movies.  The seven large-scale images include the tunnel boring machine used to drill into the bedrock for East Side Access and visually shift from earth to concrete as subway tunnels take shape. The most recent photograph, taken in February 2015, shows the massive curved space underneath Second Avenue that has become the 96 St Q Subway station as it awaits finishing touches.

“You can feel history being made when you’re behind the lens deep beneath the street, surrounded by massive equipment and workers,” Cashin said. “It’s a great subject for a photographer, as I get to create a record of something that will become part of the life of the city for generations to come.”

The exhibit was made possible with the generous support of Kodak Alaris and Duggal Visual Solutions. MTA Arts & Design’s Lightbox Program exhibits photography at four locations within the transit system: B SubwayD SubwayF SubwayM Subway 42 St-Bryant Park, 4 Subway5 Subway6 Subway7 SubwayS SubwayGrand Central-42 St, B SubwayD SubwayN SubwayQ SubwayR Subway2 Subway3 Subway4 Subway5 Subway Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr and 4 Subway5 SubwayBowling Green.  New artworks are installed annually at each location. 

About MTA Arts & Design

MTA Arts & Design, formerly known as MTA Arts for Transit & Urban Design, encourages the use of mass transit in the metropolitan New York area by providing visual and performing arts in the transit environment. The permanent art program is one of the largest and most diverse collections of site-specific public art in the world, with more than 300 works by world-famous, mid-career and emerging artists. Arts & Design produces photography installations as well as award-winning graphic arts and live musical performances in stations, and the Poetry in Motion program in collaboration the Poetry Society of America. Arts & Design serves more than 8 million people who ride MTA subways and commuter trains daily and strives to create meaningful connections between sites, neighborhoods, and people. For more information, please click here.