See Xenobia Bailey’s Giant Mosaics for New York’s Newest Subway Station

The West Side station took eight years and $2.42 billion to finish.

Xenobia Bailey, Funktional Vibrations (2015), commissioned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts & Design. Photo by Rob Wilson courtesy of the MTA.

With 24 lines, a 660-mile system, and five million rides a day, the New York subway system is legendary. Last week, the city saw its 469th subway station open, extending the 7 line to 34th Street-Hudson Yards—an area that was once a transportation wasteland.  The station is the city’s first new stop in 25 years; it took 13 years to complete the project.

For the mezzanine of the new station, artist Xenobia Bailey was commissioned to create three mosaic designs, one being a 2,788 square-foot mosaic mural called Funktional Vibrations—one of the largest mosaic works in the subway system, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Bailey is known for her elaborate crocheted designs evoking African and Native American patterns. The fiber artist says her signature aesthetic is “the aesthetic of funk,” in a video for Etsy.

Xenobia Bailey. Photo courtesy of the artist and Creative Capital.

Xenobia Bailey. Photo courtesy of the artist and Creative Capital.

The murals feature sun motifs with plenty of optical spheres scattered across the cobalt blue backgrounds, and were inspired by the sounds and rhythms of the 1960s, when Bailey was growing up. Her third mosaic will be installed in the northern station entrance.

Architect Toshiko Mori designed the large oval-shaped glass entryway to the station that makes it hard to miss. The result is a clean and airy space that brings back the old New York City subway aesthetic, with a nod to the London underground.

Ahmasi Lloyd, 71, a local resident waiting to enter the new station, told the New York Times he had been riding the 7 line for 62 years. “I never thought I would see this happen,” he said. “I’m just excited to be a part of history.”

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