A Colorful Surprise: New Art on the E Train

It’s so rare lately that I jump on the train and I am delighted. I don’t want to make this post a bitch and moan about my subway ride, which I could very easily especially with recent construction and delays. But, even though I have written before on the topic of how best to manage a subway ride, the MTA this past year has been so determined to make my post completely untrue. I know that you can hear me MTA. I am side-eyeing the hell out of you right now!


But I’ll take a break from the side eyeing because you know, eye strain. While I was in Jamaica, Queens I hopped on the E train to go into Manhattan. This isn’t my usual route, so I knew that I was probably going to see something new but this time it was a pleasant surprise and it didn’t include, “SHOWTIME!“. There was new art on the E train!

Art on The E train, Rendezvous EN NewYork
E train Route

Just in case you aren’t aware of the E train route or have never ridden it before. It starts at Word Trade Center and travels uptown then over to the borough of Queens and ends in Jamaica.

Beautiful Patterns & Bright Colors on the E Train

You might have seen the special E trains, from the outside they do look a little different from most. There’s a blue and yellow striping on the outside of the train car that lets you know that these trains are full of color on the inside.

Art on the E train, Rendezvous En New York

So keep an eye out for the special trains and hop on, you’ll be delighted! I am not sure how many different train cars that exist but on this day I was able to take shots of three.

The first is designed by James Yang, and it a lovely mural of trains cars on a cityscape colored in aqua blue.

Art on the E train, Rendezvous En New York NYC

The mural, titled Catching Lines, continues on the train car ceiling and to repeats itself on the other end of the subway car. It’s so cheery. I think that the trains are trying to catch the subway line letters as they float by with the net on top of the subway cars. Hmm, I think that’s what going on there. It is sold as an art card on the MTA museum website.

The second mural is by James Gulliver Hancock and it is just as colorful but more chaotic in theme.

Art on the E train, Rendezvous En New York NYC
James Gulliver Hancock

It’ s so bright, kind of reminds me of a board game and incorporating so many uniquely New York things in the mural, like yellow cabs in between oddly sized ice cream and tenement buildings. It seems to be working from underground to the top of skyscrapers and all the different sizes and scale in NYC.

And the last one that I saw on this trip was by Boyoun Kim, titled ” Our Town” and it reminds me of a children’s coloring book after an expert colored it. It’s very colorful and full of flowers. And if you fancy this design you can buy it as well, right here.

Art on the E train, Rendezvous En New York NYC

The New Art on the E Train Comes With A Trade-Off

The MTA gives with one hand and takes away with the other as most of New Yorkers expect at this point. To have these lovely murals to look at means that we lose the corner seats that they take up. And that is part of the MTA’s new idea for making trains less crowded. When you figure out how having more tired riders standing is a positive thing you let me know (but not the point of the post, still side eye again).

But I won’t harp on that point any longer. The E train runs very regularly, so if you interested in the decorated cars you will see them in no time. I checked the MTA site and there is no info on the new subway cars directly which means that I can’t tell you how long these particular murals will be up. So enjoy them while you can. I promise I won’t give you the side eye for stopping to admire them. Cross my heart!

Do you enjoy public art in your everyday spaces like I do? Where do you catch your favorite pieces? Let me hear it in the comments below!!

Art on the E train, Rendezvous En New York

Until our next rendezvous…



  27 comments for “A Colorful Surprise: New Art on the E Train

  1. April 14, 2018 at 9:39 AM

    Those murals are gorgeous though!!!

    • April 14, 2018 at 11:23 AM

      Which on is your favorite?

      • April 14, 2018 at 12:10 PM

        The last one with the flowers at the bottom…though I love the first skyline one… but the Hancock one is kinda cool too!
        I can’t decide…

  2. April 14, 2018 at 10:16 AM

    The art is cool and I have to say that MTA strategy is interesting. Take something away, but give something back—and oh by the way, it’ll help with crowding. (But co tribute to sore legs.) Very interesting, indeed. I often wish there were perfect solutions that solved the needs of everyone. But, since that’s not reality—I do like it when people get creative!

    • April 14, 2018 at 11:22 AM

      I think that the MTA is sneaky as a raccoon but I appreciate my horizons being opened to different things.

  3. April 14, 2018 at 10:58 AM

    Love it! It’s a great way for artists to be seen!

    • April 14, 2018 at 11:20 AM

      It is, because I had no idea who these artists were before these murals.

  4. josypheen
    April 14, 2018 at 11:42 AM

    This is awesome! In Japan they often decorate the outside of the trains, but decorating the inside is even better as the passengers have something to contemplate!

    Did you have to wait for ages to have uncrowded photos, or were the trains just not busy at all!?

    • April 14, 2018 at 12:26 PM

      No, I waited until we go to the last stop when everyone has to get off and hurried before the conductor shut all the doors as I walked from one train car to the next.

      • josypheen
        April 14, 2018 at 12:58 PM

        Oooh good thinking batgirl!

        • April 14, 2018 at 1:27 PM

          I have to come up with plans because I am usually alone when I am doing my photography.

  5. April 14, 2018 at 11:50 AM

    Street art, below the streets. We have a train that passes through the area, (freight train) if only those who tag the boxcars would apply their art constructively, there is so much talent there. Thanks for sharing.

    • April 14, 2018 at 12:27 PM

      I love street art and I have written about it, although I do need to catch up on my walks around the city to see new ones. Thank you for visiting!

  6. April 14, 2018 at 12:03 PM

    What a great idea. I love art like this – so bright and colourful.

    • April 14, 2018 at 12:32 PM

      I agree I think when I am grumpy from being up too early this might help my mood.

  7. April 14, 2018 at 4:50 PM

    I really hope they do more of it! I stumbled into my first one last fall and it really did brighten my commute 🙂 But also, side eye for everything else!

    • April 14, 2018 at 5:13 PM

      Yes! Let’s perfect our side eyes together, since the MTA gives us so much practice.

  8. April 14, 2018 at 6:15 PM

    It does suck to loose some seating but it’s nice to look at these beautiful paintings. I have been on the NY subway numerous times and I can say that it hasn’t always been the nicest (cleanest) ride. This would be a welcomed train if I saw it.

  9. April 14, 2018 at 6:54 PM

    I’ve never heard of side eye, much less seen it. Wish I could watch you demonstrate. I used to ride the E train to go shopping. That was a long time ago!

    • April 14, 2018 at 7:40 PM

      Hi Anne! The side eye is done in the GIF animation in the post, those are two examples.

  10. April 25, 2018 at 10:43 PM

    How fabulous to have wonderful artwork like this!! It really add so much to the daily commute I would think!!

    • April 26, 2018 at 9:55 PM

      It does for me but I’m not sure that everyone else is convinced.

  11. Ellen @ If It Brings You Joy
    May 23, 2018 at 8:33 PM

    I would be filling my camera – LOVE it!

  12. June 2, 2018 at 7:50 AM

    I seriously love Catching Lines. Could look at it all day, and then venture out and see the real thing!

    • June 2, 2018 at 8:23 AM

      I’m glad that you enjoyed it. I enjoy what the MTA picks, they’re always beautiful.

What do you think? I would like to know.

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