Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

REACH- Subway Sounds

One of my favorite art installations in the city-The 34th Street Herald Square NR Subway station is one of the busiest in the city, other than 42nd Street. Most people are usually too immersed in their iPod music or magazines to pay attention to the subway platform, but if you do, you may just experience something really special. Along the subway platform is a green stretch of square vent/piping, with clear stripes that are on top of plastic holes. Reach up and swipe your hand past one of the holes and you are in for a treat.

Created by artist Christopher Janney, the green track and holes is an “urban musical instrument” called REACH. As you move your hand past each hole, a different nature sound is ignited that fills the subway platform- rain sticks, water and sounds of the rainforest. The clear strips are supposed to light up as well, but only a few still work.

Janney is a composer/artist/architect who juxtaposes architecture and music with incredible “permanent participatory soundworks for public spaces.” His work is inspiring, different and totally surprising, inviting commuters to interact with art- a breath of fresh air during a hectic morning commute.

I first discovered this when I interned in New York in 1999- and I’m excited to see it is still going strong!


Who: Christopher Janney

Where: 34th St and Broadway, NR subway platform

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