May 4, 2008

When you try to add a cheerful touch to a depressing place....

... doesn't it just make it more depressing?

Clark Street subway station

Or does it actually cheer you up? If it cheers you up, why does it cheer you up? Because it's a touching tribute to human optimism, because something cheery really is cheery wherever it is, or because it's incongruous and incongruous is funny?

ADDED: This is the Clark Street subway station in Brooklyn Heights:
The first stop in Brooklyn on a west side train is Clark Street. This island platform station is very deep (approx. 100 feet below the street) and has rounded side walls indicating the deep bore construction of the under river tunnel. Access to the street is by elevator. The platforms have sailing ship mosaics and a large "Clark Street/Brooklyn Heights" mosaic name panel. The street level fare control has a directional mosaic to the Hotel St. George.

30 comments:

Meade said...

The last - the one about funny.

Ron said...

I think it's incongruous to see Colorforms on a floor so it brightens me up that way!

It's not so much that it cheers me up, but if it were the usual boring floor material, I'd be thinking about the Zyklon B coming out of the showerheads if I'm walkin' in there!
So, anything is better than that!

sandyshoes said...

I thought two things: Colorforms, and/or a very peculiar dance instruction.

Sometimes the "well, at least they tried" factor is funny in itself.

Revenant said...

I'm with Sandy -- I'd be unable to suppress the urge to hopscotch along the color pattern.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Colorforms are still available for purchase.

vbspurs said...

They say the colour red makes you hungry, and that's why (apart from cultural considerations) all Chinese restaurants splatter red everywhere.

They want you to eat and eat and eat.

Cheers,
Victoria

cardeblu said...

Do those signs at the far end explain the symbols?

It looks like the route to the morgue in a hospital where I once worked... yeesh!

Trooper York said...

The signs are for the subway trains dude. Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a train.

former law student said...

Looking at that floor is not as depressing as looking at the typical subway floor covered in filth and black chewing gum splats. So I would say you end up more cheerful.

Trooper York said...

Yesterday I stepped over a wino that was lying on the floor at the Jay St. Borough Hall stop. But he was smiling. It was cheerful.

Richard said...

I think it's cheery because it distracts. It's something to focus on besides the otherwise depressing environment. On the other hand, running a table fork through your forearm might accomplish the same thing.

cardeblu said...

"The signs are for the subway trains dude."

That's what I mean. Are those legend signs, i.e., the red/orange circles lead to track 9 east, triangles to another one, or whatever, etc? Having never even been close to a subway (except BART once and the sandwich shops so named), I wouldn't know.

Oh, and that's "dudette."

Chris (R-NY) said...

It looks like someone at the MTA got a deal on ugly black floor tiles.

Trooper York said...

The signs are for each line and the writing underneath tells you if it's going uptown or downtown. It looks like the IND so it's probably the R and N line.

Sorry dudette

Ron said...

Of course that bum was smiling! With a good drunk, the world is your friend. The only people happier are supervillians with the maniacal laughing and all...

Chip Ahoy said...

It makes me so sad I could weep.

With all the artists in NY you'd think they could invite grade schoolers down and have a go at creating a circus. In fact I know they can.

vbspurs said...

OH! This is part of the NY subway. Well colour me a yokel, I had no idea until I read the further comments above.

Well, since I thought this was a dismal hallway at a hospital or some such, then yes, it looks a fright.

Makes you wonder if NYC would've gone the way of Beijing, and spruced up their airport and subway, had they won their Olympic bid, no?

Somehow, I don't think so, or at least not to that extent.

But then Communism always has to put up a nice Potemkin Village so that people friendlier to it will say, "oh, much better than that yucky NY subway we have to endure. We could do with a spot of Communism!", as if that were the bloody point.

Proof positive is the Moscow subway, still one of the great treasures of the world.

Won't find any overgrown confetti dotting the tunnels there.

Cheers,
Victoria

George said...

Black Napkins

Zappa.

rhhardin said...

It doesn't strike me as depressing without the added color, but maybe I'm just used to the subway from early excursions.

The color is just inexplicable activity that you're uncurious about.

I just turned on spell check. What's wrong with uncurious? Turning it back off.

Meade said...

Here Vic, you dropped your Moscow subway.

George: great FZ vid!

Ron said...

Victoria, I'm not sure we would have the temerity to ask for a whole spot of Communism. Perhaps just a tiche or a scoche! One lump. No lemon.

MadisonMan said...

The color on the floor does not make the tile grout look any cleaner.

Michael_H said...

It doesn't cheer me up. What cheered me up today was a 300 mile motorcycle ride on the back roads of southwestern Wisconsin, the beautiful, hilly part of the state left unflattened by the glaciers.

Life is good, all is well.

rhhardin said...

Ohio sad but it's absorbed easily by the countryside, as a mark of the usual stuff going on.

You have to be in a city to be depressed.

Last seen with bay horse and turtle dove.

Mr. Yoshimoto said...

Is that around Canal? It looks like there is a huge crack ready to suck someone in at any moment. When I left new York they had put in a bunch of new tile work near the 6 at Canal. They must have a huge water problem because in a month brown was oozing down the pretty new tiles. That whole part of the subway is complete funk, I never knew if I was stepping in water or bodily fluids.

MPH said...

Go to Tirana, Albania, where they have plastered multi-colors all over the dreadful communist apartment buildings.


http://membres.lycos.fr/viperpms/manu/images/tirana%20couleur2.jpg

http://www.pbase.com/blphotography/edirama

http://www.eda-zari.de/ak-tirana5_small.jpg

http://img48.exs.cx/img48/3436/Tirana20apartments.jpg

rhhardin said...

Think of the city as a woman, and the subway tunnels as her plumbing.

Michael_H said...

"Think of the city as a woman, and the subway tunnels as her plumbing."

And the speeding train would be.....oh never mind. We've all watched the Fellini movies.

Balfegor said...

Victoria, I'm not sure we would have the temerity to ask for a whole spot of Communism. Perhaps just a tiche or a scoche! One lump. No lemon.

How about a spot of Fascism instead? Then maybe the New York subway might run on time. Because they do have timetables, you know. I looked them up online once. They're just complete and utter fantasy.

I think the colour spot things are a little depressing, but it wouldn't be so depressing if they weren't so ugly. To take a contrasting example, a lot of the subway stations in Manhattan have little bits of decorative tilework or ribbing on the metal struts and so on -- leftovers from a more civilised aera, I suppose -- and though they do not do much, they do a little to alleviate the soul-crushing misery of the New York subway system -- the rats and the feces, the stinging stench of urine and of rotting food. They offer a little ray of hope into that dismal subterranean world, a hope that someday New York will get their act together and restore their decrepit transportation network to something presentable, if not quite to its former glory. Back in 1920 or whenever.

These colour spots, on the other hand, offer us only the hope that the world will someday be changed into a hellhole of sanity-sapping 60s and 70s design motifs. The stuff nightmares are made of.

vbspurs said...

MPH, cool shots of the Tirana buildings! I have to say, as awful as Stalinist architecture is (and you can see it behind the happy colours), these are not nearly as bad as some of the Bronx efforts I've seen, to "jolly up" the environment.

Maybe it's the distance, but the Albanians seem to have a better sense of whimsy.

And thanks, Meade! Beautiful pile of alabaster, ain't it?

Cheers,
Victoria