Subway Art: New York's Underground Treasures

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When the New York City subway was first built 100 years ago, it was informed by a philosophical movement known as "The City Beautiful." It held that art and architecture must appeal to many — not just the elite — and that beautiful structures could inspire civic virtue. Since 1985, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority program known as Arts for Transit has revived that notion, spreading beautiful mosaics, sculptures and other hidden treasures underground. NPR's Margot Adler reports.

bronze alligator emerges from a manhole

At New York's 14th Street subway station, a bronze alligator emerges from a manhole to swallow up a hapless passerby. It's one of many such whimsical figures created for the station by artist Tom Otterness. Jeff Rogers, NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jeff Rogers, NPR



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