Brooklyn’s subway art, gone virtual.
Williamsburg-based freelance art director and designer Adam Chang recently completed his digitization of every Brooklyn subway station mosaic. Brownstoner got the chance to talk to Adam about the project, his inspirations, and the G train.
To create the graphics, Chang photographs every station’s sign, then recreates it in Adobe Illustrator.
According to Chang, it took 10 MetroCard swipes and 23 hours of riding to cover every one of Brooklyn’s 157 stations.
He finished the project on Tuesday and relaunched his website, NY Train Project. The site makes art out of art, creating electronic representations of physical subway signage from the borough’s stations. Chang completed the Manhattan portion in April 2014 and has placeholders for Queens and the Bronx.
Brownstoner: What inspired you to start this project?
Chang: In a quick recap, I got started on this project two years ago when I noticed the Bleecker station sign while waiting for the 6 train. From there I basically started to pay attention to the signs and thought it would be interesting to create an online gallery and experience that mimics the New York subway system. Last year I launched the site with all the Manhattan stations and this year I just completed all the stops for Brooklyn.
How was documenting the Brooklyn stations different from Manhattan?
Brooklyn was definitely a different experience. For one, a lot of the stations I had never been to before so it was a lot of discovering and exploring new places. In Manhattan, prior to creating this site, I had basically already been to every station at some point. Also, for Brooklyn, especially on the stops further away, it seemed like there was either a lot of people or basically just a handful of people at times waiting at each station.
Do you have a favorite Brooklyn stop?
My favorite mosaic sign in Brooklyn is probably the Borough Hall station on the 5.
Why isn’t the G train currently included on your website?
The G train was running but there was something buggy on that line so I took it down and my developer is working on it. It should hopefully be up in a day or so. I guess it’s similar to the real G train in that it’s always down.
Did you pick up on any general trends that differentiate Brooklyn subway stops?
One that pops up right away is that there’s definitely a lot more above ground stops. Overall, there are fewer mosaics, but more than I expected. Also, the stations that have mosaics seemed to mostly use serif-style fonts, whereas in Manhattan there was more of a mix between serif and sans serif.
[Images: NY Train Project]