From Underground to Underwater

Old New York Subway Trains
Find New Life as Artificial Reefs

Once they snaked at high speeds under the streets of New York City. Now they sit underwater and house a rich marine life in no hurry to go anywhere. Old subway cars, some still covered in graffiti, are being regularly dumped off the Atlantic coast since at least the early 2000s.
They’re loaded onto barges and taken to points off Maryland, Georgia, New Jersey and South Carolina, among other locations. There they are dumped to serve as artificial reefs, and to attract all sorts of marine creatures. It’s not clear who had such a brilliant recycling idea for those trains, most of which carried for years millions of passengers for hundreds of miles underneath New York.
Brooklyn-based industrial photographer Stephen Mallon got clearance from the Metropolitan Transit Authority and went along a few  of those trips. The high-quality pictures he took are part of his “Next Stop, Atlantic” show, at the Front Room Gallery.
He discussed this project at length with the Heavy Light website, and also his well received documentary on the aftermath of Flight 1549 (the one that US Airways’ pilot Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III landed safely on the Hudson River, two years ago). His expert advice for those who plan to shoot photos from a boat is: “Don’t try to preview your images on the back of the camera while shooting- Hello Motion Sickness!” Check more pictures on his site. (Thanks Heavy Light)

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