Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tunnel of Love: The Best and Weirdest Subway Art on Etsy

Posted By on Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Here it comes!
  • c/o brooklyn365.com
  • Here it comes!


When I was little, I lived along the 1/9 line, or, as my grandmother called it, the IRT. My grandmother also insisted that there was nothing in the world that you couldn't get between the borders of Morningside Heights, specifically between 116th and 110th Streets and Riverside Drive and Amsterdam Avenue, because my grandmother was a sort of perfectly provincial New Yorker in a way that doesn't really exist anymore. Anyway. I was fiercely loyal to the 1/9 for a couple of reasons. One, it was really my only subway option and a lack of choice breeds both loyalty and even love, I've found. This extends to relationships as well, obviously. And, two, I was born with the unfortunate burden of having both a first AND last name that start with letters which are not represented by subway lines. There was no K train, no I line for me to enjoy riding on. To put it mildly, this fucking sucked. I'm still not quite over it, as you can see.

But, yeah, I sure did love that 1/9. Enough to write a song about it like people have done for the oft-maligned G train? Well, no. Not at all. The New York Post, in an article titled "O-M-G", spotlights some people's love for that four-car, limited to Brooklyn and Queens, unreliable on weekends, red-headed stepchild of the MTA—the G train. It turns out that a lot of people actually love the G. Whether it's because of "Brooklyn elitism—it’s the only train that doesn’t enter Manhattan" or because of what the Post not entirely unfairly terms G train-related "Stockholm Syndrome," riders just can't help professing their love for "the turtle of the train system." And not only do they profess it in song, like the band Teen Commandments, they also profess it through art. But what kind of art and where can you find it? Well, some of it is really great! And some of it is really weird. And some of it is both. And all of it, of course, is on Etsy.

This must be true love.
  • c/o etsy.com
  • This must be true love.

How to Love a New Yorker "G Train" Watercolor Card

The genius of this card does not need to be explained, not if you've ever been in a relationship with someone that requires taking the G. Love conquers all, even waiting thirty minutes for the subway.

"G Train" Watercolor Card; $3.50, etsy.com

This kind of defeats the purpose of the map, but whatever. Art!
  • c/o etsy.com
  • This kind of defeats the purpose of the map, but whatever. Art!

Melted Crayon Art with NYC Subway Map

So, this is art. The colors certainly are vibrant. But, call me a cartography purist or whatever, I hate seeing this happen to a subway map. I like subway maps. I know they're wildly disproportionate in scale, but they're still fun to look at. The melted wax obscures all the goodness of the map. In the words of L Magazine Culture Editor Henry Stewart: "I don't get it."

Melted Crayon Art; $25, etsy.com

C Train
  • c/o etsy.com
  • "C Train"

"C Train"

This photograph displays hands holding a pole on a C train. So, ok. That should be rather innocuous but instead feels incredibly weird. Yeah, this photo makes me uncomfortable. Perhaps it is because it represents all the anxiety involved with being on a crowded subway and not wanting to touch anybody else but constantly being on the verge of touching everybody else because there's no room and you can't move and you can't even really breathe and everything is terrible. Or perhaps it makes me uncomfortable because all those hands gripping a pole just make me think of a multi-person handjob? Who's to say really? It'll remain a mystery, I guess.

"C Train"; $21, etsy.com

Nothing says New York like Starbucks.
  • c/o etsy.com
  • Nothing says New York like Starbucks.

"Manhattan and Starbucks"

New Yorkers like their coffee, you know? That's a thing New Yorkers like. And Starbucks sells coffee. So it's just so natural and artistic to put a disposable Starbucks cup on top of a subway map and call it art. I mean, can't you just imagine someone who has never even been to New York seeing this and falling in love with the glamor of it all? This just screams sophistication, I think. All that's missing is a blueberry bagel to give it that real New York feel.

"Manhattan and Starbucks"; $33, etsy.com

My eyes...ahhhggghh.
  • c/o etsy.com
  • My eyes...ahhhggghh.

NYC Subway Map Pixel Art Print Nintendo 90s Vintage Original

Everything from the 90s is just THE BEST, right? Wrong. Totally wrong. Because sometimes things from the 90s give you seizures. Like this piece of art. Don't stare at it too long, unless you want to develop an eye twitch. Unless maybe that's your thing? Winking? Don't make that your thing though. It is really hard to pull off well.

NYC Subway Map Pixel Art Print Nintendo 90s Vintage Original; $48, etsy.com

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About The Author

Kristin Iversen

Kristin Iversen

Bio:
Kristin Iversen is the Managing Editor at Brooklyn Magazine and the L Magazine. She has been described as "a hipster buzzword made flesh." This seems pretty accurate.

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