MTA Press Releases

Press Release
October 4, 2018
72 St BC Station Reopens After Major Repairs to Steel and Concrete Structure, Functional Improvements
Station Enhancements Include Wayfinding and Station Entrance Upgrades, Digital Signage and Updated Security Features

Newly Installed Series of Ceramic Mosaics by Yoko Ono Brighten Platforms, Mezzanine;

Photos of the Station are Available Here

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today reopened the 72 St station on the bc line following extensive work to repair deteriorating infrastructure and modernize the station environment with improvements such as digital signage for real-time service information, enhanced wayfinding and station entrances, energy-efficient lighting and updated security equipment. As part of the repairs to the station’s wall tiles, a new ceramic mosaic titled “SKY” by Yoko Ono was installed to inspire customers as they travel through the station.

“This station is nearly 90 years old but after these much-needed repairs to its structure and modern enhancements to bring it into the 21st century, it will be a completely new and different experience for the thousands of customers who use this station regularly,” said MTA New York City Transit President Andy Byford. “We thank our customers for their patience and we hope they’ll find that this brighter, cleaner and modern station was worth the wait.”

To expedite the work, the station was closed in May to give work crews round-the-clock access to the station, platforms and track infrastructure for repairs without exposing customers to construction and demolition zones. Crews repaired concrete slabs and steel columns, conducted waterproofing in areas of known leakage, cleaned and repaired rusted infrastructure, replaced floor slabs and existing tiles on platform and mezzanine walls, and power-washed the concrete floors and wall tiles.

Entrances were upgraded with either digital information totems or improved signage for easier navigation, countdown clocks, new illuminated guardrails and security cameras in select locations. The station environment also was enhanced with new glass barriers in the fare control area, brighter, energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the station, Help Point intercoms that allow customers to communicate quickly and directly with staff, Wi-Fi connectivity, new tactile warning strips at the platform edge and countdown clocks. 

In mezzanine and platform areas where wall tiles were in need of replacement, MTA Arts & Design installed a new ceramic mosaic titled “SKY” by Yoko Ono. “SKY” comprises six separate mosaics spanning both station platforms and mezzanine. The mosaics altogether measure 973 square feet and show a blue, cloud-filled sky embedded with written messages of hope. As riders move through the subterranean subway station, the messages of hope appear in the clouds as the perspective shifts in each mosaic. The transformation of photographs into mosaic sky paintings with subtle gradations in color and tone has created a visually striking station environment. Two mosaics are above the mezzanine stairs leading to the southbound platform where two more pieces are featured, and one mosaic each is installed on the northbound platform and in the main turnstile area on the mezzanine level.

“Art has the ability to both elevate us and ground us, which is what Yoko Ono’s mosaics bring to this location that has meaning to many riders as well as music fans around the world,” said Sandra Bloodworth, director of MTA Arts & Design. “Her mosaics remind us that a cloudy sky may be ephemeral but there is always hope.”

“I'm thrilled that my new work, ‘SKY,’ will be opening at the 72 St subway station just steps from my home and Strawberry Fields, which I created in memory of my late husband,” said Yoko Ono. “It will bring the sky underground, so it’s always with us. I hope this will bring peace and joy to my fellow New Yorkers for many years to come.”

Ono is a multimedia artist whose work in performance, sculpture, film, music, and writing, first began in New York in the early 1960s. Ono’s commitment to world peace is reflected in her conceptual artwork, often inviting viewer participation. Her work is widely exhibited and can be found in museums throughout the world, and her permanent public installations include “SKYLANDING” in Chicago and “IMAGINE PEACE TOWER” in Reykjavík, Iceland. She was the subject of a 2015 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 

The ceramic mosaic has particular resonance with the artist, who has lived in an apartment building located above the 72 St subway station since 1973. More than 8,800 weekday customers use the station, which first opened for service in September 1932.

MTA New York City Transit is making structural repairs and functional improvements to subway stations in all five boroughs. In May, President Byford announced a new subway station initiative as part of the Fast Forward Plan to modernize subway, bus and paratransit services, that would group together stations in the same geographic area under group station managers that would be accountable for every part of the station environment from cleanliness to customer service. The Fast Forward Plan also seeks to advance major repair and revitalization projects in more than 150 stations in the next five years, and an additional 150 stations in the following five years. The Plan also seeks to dramatically and rapidly expand system accessibility, including an immediate goal to have no customer be more than two stations away from an accessible station within five years.