Day 1139


February 11th, 2015

Heading back from Brooklyn on the subway after my walk, I passed by Masstransiscope, Bill Brand's spectacular, zoetrope-inspired work of art installed in 1980 on the remaining platform of the Fourth Avenue Line's abandoned Myrtle Avenue station. The series of 228 hand-painted images was most recently restored in 2013 after graffiti writers vandalized it while the subway system was shut down for Hurricane Sandy. You can view Masstransiscope from Manhattan-bound B and Q (and late-night D) trains; after your train leaves the DeKalb Avenue station, just gaze out a window on the right side and wait for the show to begin. It's rare to see the whole thing without the train slowing down and stopping in the tunnel approaching the Manhattan Bridge, but, as Mr. Brand says, that's part of the experience:

When I designed Masstransiscope . . . the trains even then always slowed down and stopped as they still do today. So, I designed that feature into the piece. I actually like that the illusion breaks down and you can see the slits and the static paintings behind them.

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