Gothamist continues to cover the Underbelly story in depth. Today they have a roundup of stories from some of those who have been arrested. Our original estimate of a dozen or so people having been arrested has continued to trend upward, with sources stating that the tally at the moment is closer to 30.
NY Times Art Beat has similar coverage, with quotes from the MTA stating they have no intent to paint the abandoned station shell.
If the comments within the NY Times article are any indication, the public really wants to see this art installation. Some are clearly willing to risk arrest just to see it. Let me state this again: The MTA should throw some lights down there and open the space to the public. Charge a high admission fee. This is great, low cost potential revenue stream for the MTA. The only argument I’ve heard against this has been that it would cost too much to create a viable entrance that is safe to the public. This is simply not true. We have it from sources within the MTA that the station shell is accessible behind locked doors, and the only work that would be needed would be the installation of a temporary staircase (the structure of which is already in place).
There is a huge market for this. 8 years ago, nearly on this exact date, a line stretching at least 5 blocks long formed as art lovers and tunnel foamers eagerly waited for chance to crawl down a manhole and view artwork from yours truly, Margaret Morton, Revs, Julia Solis, and many others. Barely 1/4th of the people on the line that day got to see the installation, and the one day only event was never repeated.
There is a huge market for this type of art show. Each visitor paid $10 to enter – and that was to see a tunnel and works by perhaps a dozen artists. This station includes art from over 100 artists. A black tie opening with an entrance fee of $100 would sell out. The public at large would probably pay 15 to 20 a pop to see this project. The MTA is sitting on a gold mine. They should do what a real public authority would do: Open it to the public and make us some money!
In completely unrelated news, we now have a second batch of photos from underbelly available for your viewing pleasure. With I like about this batch are some of the small detail shots. It seems some artists put added touches in the tunnel space. Smaller and less obvious than the large works, these small bits give the space much more personality.