MTA Press Releases

Press Release
January 25, 2021
IMMEDIATE
MTA Launches Living Memorial to Honor Transit Workers Lost to COVID-19

Digital Art Installation Named After ‘TRAVELS FAR Poem Written by Former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith; Features Poignant Portraits of Transit Workers Shared by Families

Memorial Will Appear on 138 Three-Panel Digital Screens Across System Today Through Feb. 7  

Visit the Online Memorial

View Memorial Unveiling

The global pandemic has led to unimaginable loss to the MTA family, with 136 employees dying of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. To honor and pay tribute to those who have been lost too soon, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority today launched an engaging visual memorial to those employees, heroes who dedicated their lives to moving New Yorkers through the city and region. 

Built around photographs shared by family members, the memorial was designed by MTA Arts & Design at the request of Sarah Feinberg, Interim President of MTA New York City Transit. It is entitled “TRAVELS FAR” after a poem by Tracy K. Smith, former U.S. Poet Laureate, that was commissioned for this project and will appear in multiple languages at stations. The online version is accompanied by an original score of the same name by composer Christopher Thompson, which was also commissioned for the memorial. This special tribute involved many people in various disciplines including New York City Transit liaisons to the family, and in-house talent from marketing, web and digital content teams. 

The memorial will appear as an eight-minute video running on 138 three-panel digital screens at 107 subway stations today, Monday, Jan. 25, through Sunday, Feb. 7. The video will play twice consecutively three times per dayat 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and is available to view on a website featuring the memorial and portraits.

"COVID-19 has been a devastating scourge on our entire country and, tragically, that includes the MTA's workforce," said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye. "We quickly made sure that those families who lost an MTA worker to COVID were taken care of financially, but the launch of today's memorial is aimed at personalizing the legacies of those who died during the pandemic. It is a moving tribute to the members of our heroic workforce who lost their lives and we will continue to make sure those who perished are not forgotten." 

The pandemic has marked an unimaginably challenging and painful time at New York City Transit, Feinberg saidToday marks the next step in our ongoing efforts to honor the colleagues, friends and family members who were taken from us too soon. These men and women were the heroes of the transit system - conductors, bus and train operators, cleaners  but they were also mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters. We think of them daily and we continue to mourn them with their friends and families.

“TRAVELS FAR, with its poignant title and thoughtful words by Tracy K. Smith, helps us remember these courageous members of the MTA family in a way that pays tribute and honors them and their workplace contributions,” said Sandra Bloodworth, Director of MTA Arts and Design. “Surrounded by a spectrum of colors, the portraits in black and white allow us a glimpse into unique personalities known to their families and colleagues. This memorial shows that art can be a powerful messenger, conveying loss and honoring the memory of our colleagues.

Transport Workers Union Local 100 will never forget our union brothers and sisters who perished in service to the city,” said Tony UtanoPresident, Transport Workers Union Local 100. It’s our fervent hope that with this memorial the riding public also keeps them in their hearts and minds. Stop for a moment during your daily travels and reflect on these departed heroes, the lives lost, and the heartbreak being carried by their families and co-workers. May they rest in peace.

TRAVELS FAR by Tracy K. Smith   

What you gave—    

brief tokens of regard,    

soft words uttered    

barely heard,     

the smile glimpsed    

from a passing car.

Through stations    

and years, through    

the veined chambers            

of a stranger’s heart—             

what you gave    

travels far.

A full list of the stations where the memorial will appear is included below.

Train Line

Station 

1

103 St

1

137 St-City College

1

145 St

1

157 St

1

18 St

1

23 St

1

50 St

1 

59 St

1

66 St

1

79 St

1

86 St

1 

Canal St

1 

Cathedral Pkwy (110th St)

1

Christopher St

1

Cortlandt St

1

Houston St

1

Rector St

6 

103 St

6

110 St

6 

116 St

6 

23 St

6

33 St

6

51 St

6

77 St

6 

96 St

6 

Astor Pl

6 

Bleecker St

6 

Canal St

6 

Spring St

7 

Court House Sq

7

Hunters Point

7 

Times Square

7 

Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av

123

Times Square

23

116 St

23

125 St

23

135 St

23

Bergen St

23 

Borough Hall

23 

Fulton St

23 

Wall St

2345

Atlantic Av

45

Bowling Green

45 

Fulton Center

45 

Wall St

456

125 St

456

14 St-Union Square

456

59 St

456

86 St

a

Dyckman St 

abcd

59 St-Columbus Circle

abcdefm

W 4 St

ac

23 St

ac

Clinton-Washington

ac

Franklin Av

ac

Kingston-Throop

ac

Lafayette Av

ac 

Nostrand Av

ac

Ralph Avenue

bc

103 St

bc 

116 St

bc 

135 St

bc

81 St-Museum of Natural History

bc 

96 St

bd

161 St-Yankee Stadium

bd

Grand St

bdfm

42 St-Bryant Park

bdfm

50 St-Rockefeller Center

bdfm

Broadway-Lafayette St

bq

Avenue H

bq

Avenue J

ce

155 St

ce

50 St

ejz

Jamaica Center Parsons/Archer

em

5 Av-53 St

em

Court Sq-23 St

f 

21 St-Queensbridge

f 

Bergen St

f 

Delancey St

fg

4 Av

fg

Ft. Hamilton Pkwy

fg

Smith-9 Sts

fm

14 St

g 

Broadway  

g 

Classon Av

g 

Clinton Washington Avs

g 

Court Square

g 

Flushing Av

g 

Fulton St

g 

Greenpoint Av

g 

Metropolitan Av

g 

Myrtle Willoughby

g 

Nassau Av

jmz

Essex St

jmz

Flushing Av

jmz

Hewes St

jmz

Lorimer St

jmz

Marcy Av

jz

Broad St

jz

Fulton St

jz

Kosciusko St

l 

14 St-Union Square

l 

3 Av

l 

Bushwick Av

l 

Dekalb Av

l 

Graham Av

l 

Grand St

l 

Halsey St

l 

Jefferson St

l 

Lorimer St

l 

Montrose Av

l 

Morgan Av

m 

Central Av

m 

Knickerbocker Av

mr

36 St

mr

46 St

mr

63 Dr

mr

65 St

mr

Elmhurst Av

mr

Northern Blvd

mr

Steinway St

mr

Woodhaven Blvd

n 

Spring St

 

 

 

nq

Canal St

nqrw

14 St-Union Square

r 

45 St

r 

49 St

r 

5 Av

r 

77 St

r 

9 St

rw

Canal St

rw 

City Hall

rw 

Cortlandt St

r 

Pacific St

r 

Rector St

r 

Union St