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In pictures: New York’s old subway cars are buried at sea

Posted at 8:15 am, January 29, 2015 in Photos of London, Transport
New York subway cars sunk into the sea. Photo: Stephen Mallon and Front  Room Gallery

Here in London, old tube trains are usually recycled in some form or another: donated to the London Transport Museum, bequeathed to other, lesser railways, or simply melted down and turned into fizzy drink cans.

Not so in New York, where retired subway cars are instead being dumped at sea. Oceanic littering at its worst, you might think, but there’s more to this project than meets the eye.

New York subway cars sunk into the sea. Photo: Stephen Mallon and Front  Room Gallery

It’s part of a plan to create new artificial reefs across the eastern seaboard of the US. The hope is that they’ll make cosy habitats for crustaceans, corals, fish and other underwater fauna with a taste for edgy urban living.

New York subway cars sunk into the sea. Photo: Stephen Mallon and Front  Room Gallery

Over 2,500(!) carriages of various descriptions have walked the proverbial plank over the past decade.

New York subway cars sunk into the sea. Photo: Stephen Mallon and Front  Room Gallery

Photographer Stephen Mallon captured the process in this photo series, Next Stop Atlantic, an off-shoot of his ‘American Reclamation’ work on how materials are recycled and repurposed.

New York subway cars sunk into the sea. Photo: Stephen Mallon and Front  Room Gallery

Rumours that TfL has been secretly moving London’s old tube carriages to a secret location, and slowly turning them into an enormous Transformer-type robot are sadly unsubstantiated, because we literally just made it up.

New York subway cars sunk into the sea. Photo: Stephen Mallon and Front  Room Gallery

In any case, it’s an excellent example of taking something old and unloved…

New York subway cars sunk into the sea. Photo: Stephen Mallon and Front  Room Gallery …and using it to make a big splash.

sebastian the crab

All images courtesy of Stephen Mallon and Front Room Gallery. The image ‘Don’t Do This’ will be featured along with other work by Mallon in the solo exhibition ‘Patterns of Interest’ at NYU’s Kimmel Galleries (that’s in New York, admittedly) from Feb 6 to Mar 15.

The best stop is the deepest: here’s what you voted London’s favourite tube station.

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