Graffiti on the Train Line

Today’s Post by Mildred Alpern

Visitors, tourists, and neighborhood residents are generally unaware of the graffiti art on the walls of an active two-and-a-half-mile long covered train tunnel beneath the Upper West Side Riverside Park promenade walkway in New York City.

A small section of the subterranean tunnel is on view through a portal of a locked iron door in the wall under the park space. It can be seen by entering Riverside Park on 83rd St, walking past the grate on the grassy lawn and winding down steps leading to the Hudson River. The graffiti is in brilliant colors and easily viewed, thanks to light streaming into the tunnel through the grate above.

I happened upon the graffiti by chance as a friend and I were heading towards the Hudson River and decided to peer into the door’s square portal. It was an unexpected discovery leading to research on the naming of “Freedom Tunnel” after the artist Chris “Freedom” Pape who originally created many of the art works. I have gone back to the site several times hoping to see a train heading north, but so far, no luck.

All images were taken with the Olympus E-M5 Mark II; the train tracks and the iron door with the Olympus M.Zuiko 12mm f/2 lens, train tracks at an exposure of 1/8 Sec at f/2, -1EV and ISO200; door at1/60 sec at f/2, -1EV and ISO 200; the grassy lawn with the Olympus M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens with an exposure of 1/1250 sec at f/5.6, -1/3 EV and ISO 400.


Mildred’s book Haiku and Images is available on Amazon and is filled with beautifully reproduced color photographs along with original haiku underneath, embellishing the image and deepening its meaning. Pick up a copy to give as gift for yourself or a friend.