Be Good Or Be Gone (MTA commisioned subway station)

Be Good Or Be Gone (MTA commisioned subway station)

Installation of faceted glass in platform windscreens at the Beach 98th Street A/S train MTA subway station now complete!

The MTA proposal drawings consist of several symbols local to the Rockaways. The left side of one diptych shows two images of a Piping Plover – an endangered bird that has chosen a section of beach at the Rockaways, just a few blocks south of the 90th Street station as one of its few remaining nesting grounds. The nautical flags spell out the popular phrase “Be Good or Be Gone” which can be seen behind the doors of several pubs and restaurants in the neighborhood. I am using the phrase as a reminder for visitors to take care and appreciate the fragile environment of the area. The other diptych has nautical flags above images of seaside bungalows that also bear a common Rockaway phrase, “No Sniveling’’ which simply means no complaining. In the past 150 years, Rockaway beach endured more destruction from storms and fire than any other part of New York City. As often is the case with waterfront communities, the unwavering determination to rebuild has shaped the resilient culture of the community

At the north end of B84th (once Java Street) is a long pier that extends out into Jamaica Bay. What makes this pier unique is the row of 20 houses built on it. There are similar houses built up on pylons in other parts of the city but this is the only remaining bungalow housing pier of its kind in all of New York City, and perhaps the State. Several of them are still occupied as year round homes. In this illustration, all of the bungalows appear occupied under the night sky, with their windows illuminated. A rope serves as border for the drawing, with two bowline knots (a very strong knot commonly used to tie down the bow of a ship) on each end. The bowline knots represent the strength and closeness within this small community due to the close quarters of the bungalows; all of the residents would share one common, narrow walkway along the dock to access his or her own home.

The designs I proposed relate to all three of the Rockaway beach subway stations, which hold personal significance for me. Eleven years ago they gave me my first glimpse of the Rockaways, and I’ve been grateful to them ever since.

Process

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When asked by MTA to design art for a Rockaway Station, I spent some time sniffing out the area.
When asked by MTA to design art for a Rockaway Station, I spent some time sniffing out the area.
First thing I noticed from the A train was an old pier of row houses on stilts.
First thing I noticed from the A train was an old pier of row houses on stilts.
In the early 20th Century, this was a vacation community for the working class.
In the early 20th Century, this was a vacation community for the working class.
Clearly what were once vacation homes are now inhabited year-round.
Clearly what were once vacation homes are now inhabited year-round.
There used to be many piers like this, but now only this one remains.
There used to be many piers like this, but now only this one remains.
Sharing a homefront boardwalk created close-knit communities.
Sharing a homefront boardwalk created close-knit communities.
1912 Summer homes at Java Street (now Beach 84th Street)
1912 Summer homes at Java Street (now Beach 84th Street)
circa 1915.  Beach 90th Street, Holland pier
circa 1915. Beach 90th Street, Holland pier
The ruins of a pier community.
The ruins of a pier community.
Foundation of bungalows destroyed by fire.
Foundation of bungalows destroyed by fire.
The brightly colored bungalows inspired my first proposal.
The brightly colored bungalows inspired my first proposal.
Proposal drawing for panels to be rendered in faceted glass.
Proposal drawing for panels to be rendered in faceted glass.
This neighborhood has weathered more disasters than any in NYC. Great Storm of 1920, Beach 86th St
This neighborhood has weathered more disasters than any in NYC. Great Storm of 1920, Beach 86th St
This has bred a spirit of resiliency in the community.  Great Fire of June 15, 1922
This has bred a spirit of resiliency in the community. Great Fire of June 15, 1922
November 12, 2001 plane crash
November 12, 2001 plane crash
The MTA said 'no text', which suited me fine.  I generally use nautical flags in my work instead.
The MTA said 'no text', which suited me fine. I generally use nautical flags in my work instead.
Local bars spell out the neighborhood philosophies:
Local bars spell out the neighborhood philosophies: "NO SNIVELING"

"BE GOOD OR BE GONE"
The style of bungalows portrayed in the following hurricane themed panels.
The style of bungalows portrayed in the following hurricane themed panels.
A reference to the hurricanes and storms that have battered but not defeated the area repeatedly.
A reference to the hurricanes and storms that have battered but not defeated the area repeatedly.
Tugboat pulling a recycling barge.
Tugboat pulling a recycling barge.
I modeled the tugboat from this old nyc tug down the street from my granny's when I was a kid.
I modeled the tugboat from this old nyc tug down the street from my granny's when I was a kid.
The area is home to many endangered species and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
The area is home to many endangered species and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
One endangered local resident: the Piping Plover.  Nautical flags: Be Good or Be Gone.
One endangered local resident: the Piping Plover. Nautical flags: Be Good or Be Gone.
Cead Mile Failte-In Irish:
Cead Mile Failte-In Irish: "100,000 Welcomes Before You'. Nod to the welcoming of summer tourists.
Faceted Glass in Process
Faceted Glass in Process
Faceted Glass in Process
Faceted Glass in Process
October 2011: Finally the panels are installed at Beach 98th Street Playland Station!
October 2011: Finally the panels are installed at Beach 98th Street Playland Station!
Glass Installation ace team Dave and Jack
Glass Installation ace team Dave and Jack
Glass Installation ace team Dave and Jack
Glass Installation ace team Dave and Jack
Half-in, view of the water.
Half-in, view of the water.
October 2011: Finally the panels are installed at Beach 98th Street Playland Station!
October 2011: Finally the panels are installed at Beach 98th Street Playland Station!

Installation

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MTA ArtCards in subway cars 2011
MTA ArtCards in subway cars 2011
ArtCard detail
ArtCard detail
October 2011: Finally the panels are installed at Beach 98th Street Playland Station!
October 2011: Finally the panels are installed at Beach 98th Street Playland Station!
Detail: Tugboat
Detail: Tugboat
Detail: Glass Bottles
Detail: Glass Bottles
Houses on Stilts
Houses on Stilts
100,000 Welcomes Before You
100,000 Welcomes Before You
Detail: Channel Marker
Detail: Channel Marker
Detail: Channel Marker
Detail: Channel Marker
The Endangered Piping Plover
The Endangered Piping Plover
In Water
In Water
Original Duke Riley design for MTA Arts For Transit Merchandise
Original Duke Riley design for MTA Arts For Transit Merchandise