-- Response to Underbelly, from MTA and the public. | LTV Squad

Response to Underbelly, from MTA and the public.

Published on: November 3rd, 2010 | Last updated: December 15, 2015 Written by:

First, let’s look at what the MTA has to say about this situation – from the second ave subway saga blog

MTA Response:

I asked the authority about their official response to the so-called exhibition, and it was as you might expect. “NYC Transit is working with the NYPD in the investigation and follow-up on this matter,” MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said. “Further inspections will be made to this and other similar locations throughout the system to better secure these areas. We remind the public that any such incursions into unauthorized areas of the transit system is considered trespassing and is punishable by law not to mention, dark and dangerous.”

Meanwhile, I learned this morning as well that an MTA work crew went into the old South 4th Street station to explore the site. They were spotted entering the shell at the northbound end of the Broadway stop on the G train, and Donovan told me that the authority’s crews are working to identify potential access points and to seal up these abandoned areas. “New York City Transit staff were on site today to assess the station’s security and make some adjustments to make it more secure,” Donovan said.

Next, let’s see what the public has to say about this art project:


Second ave subway comments:

Tsuyoshi says:
November 2, 2010 at 7:30 pm

They should open it up and charge admission.
Andreas says:
November 2, 2010 at 8:53 pm

I knew it was there..! The site is accessible without crossing the crosstown tracks, it’s just a few feet North of the SB platform at the Broadway Station. My guess is that this area would be the vertical circulation to the never to be station… I saw construction workers a couple of times over there… I wish i had the opportunity to visit this art space!

Gizmodo comments-

Either this is one cool art space or the biggest urban legend ever to be invented that will probably cause art loving adventure seekers life, limb or an entry into their newly minted criminal record if they’ve committed none thus far. Having said that, crap, I might try to find the damn thing.

Gothamist comments:

[1] | RJ Rushmore

I went down to see The Underbelly Project, and it was one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen. Just the sheer amount of art they were able to get down there. And the space is so unique…

4] | BoozeParty

Good stuff. I should do a little tunneling and check some of this out.


I think the MTA’s opinion is clear. Going in tunnels to do anything while not being an MTA employee or contractor is ILLEGAL and FROWNED UPON. There’s good reason for that. Dozens of people die in the subway tunnels every year. They’re not ‘people friendly’.

The public, on the other hand, seems to fall into 3 groups:
1) People who will pay money to go there
2) People who would willing to be blindfolded and lead around in circles for hours then get to see it – these people would probably pay triple the price.
3) Artists who are hating on it for various reasons.

My sources tell me you don’t need to go into a subway tunnel to access – that there is at least one hidden doorways to it that are safe for MTA employees to gain entry. Given that public safety could very likely be accommodated, it is my position that the MTA should give the people what they want: Open this to the public. Charge admission. People will come from around the world to see it. If it can’t be opened day to day, Let the transit museum give tours once every month or two. Again: Charge a lot of money. The MTA could make a decent clip off this project over time.

Yes, apparently it was created illegally, but when you overlook that fact and instead look what we’re left with: A station full of art where one never existed – this is quite the potential win story for NYC and the MTA as a whole. A huge collection of artwork, given to the MTA for free, by masters of their trade!
If you agree, write to the MTA and let them know what already seems pretty clear: The people want in. The people will pay money. You have nothing to fear but fear itself!

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3 responses to “Response to Underbelly, from MTA and the public.”

  1. artloverfinder says:

    I agree that opening this up to the public in some respect, even for a high fee, would be best.

    However, the art sadly no longer exists, at least not in any form worth seeing. I made my first sojourn to the station on Sunday when the story first broke online, and already much of the art had been tagged over. Returning there yesterday, large splotches of paint cover most of the pieces, as well as slogans reading “Get Out Of Here” and “The Tunnels Are Ours,” so unfortunately there really is not much to see. The installations have been bashed up and destroyed as well.

  2. Control says:

    Not surprising. The turf war between graff and ‘street art’ continues.

  3. Bill Benzon says:

    Damn! There goes Richard Branson’s plan to offer the bankers a two-fer. For a megabuck you get to have a catered dinner in the Underbelly, and then you get a trip into space.

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    Bad Guy Joe

    Bad Guy Joe

    Bad Guy Joe knows more about the NYC underground than anyone else on or below the surface of this planet. He has spent nearly 30 years sneaking into NYC’s more forbidden locations. When not underground, he’s probably bitching about politicians or building something digital.

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