CITY OF LIGHT
East Tremont Ave. & Westchester Ave.
This three-paneled glass installation, also known as a triptych, greets commuters as they ascend the first flight of stairs at the elevated Westchester Square/East Tremont Avenue station. The colored glass vividly portrays a city skyline with a black subway train threading through the buildings. The artist, Romare Bearden, was a social worker in New York CIty for three decades who produced art in his free time, experimenting with a variety of mediums but primarily known for his collages. His only work in glass, City of Light was initially executed as a collage maquette before Bearden submitted his proposal to the MTA in 1983. Although Bearden died in 1988, glass fabricators Benoit Gilsoul and Helmut Schardt faithfully followed the artist’s sketches to produce the work that now graces the subway station stairway. This work was funded through the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Percent for Art program, which has competitively selected over 300 artists to produce permanent works throughout the agency’s properties since the 1980s.