Every week day, on the way to work, I exit the subway at 34th Street/Penn Station and walk past one of the most beautiful and prolific subway mosaics that I’ve seen. Comprised of several panels of various sizes, The Garden of Circus Delights by ERIC FISCHLis a homage to the circus, which performs at Madison Square Garden above of the subway station.
The 34th Street/ Penn Station subway stop is perhaps one of the busiest in the city. During rush hour, the stairs, entryways and halls are often packed body to body with commuters making it hard to take in the full breadth of the mosaic series. But, in quiet moments, you can see exotic animals, clowns, fire breathers, dancing bears, jugglers and acrobats. The idea being that the mural allows a commuter to leave the ho hum day and be pulled into the circus, where he experiences the magic of the circus. On the other side of the tent, the commuter emerges from “the white light and harmony, a commuter again, but transported and transformed.”
To find the mural, you’re best bet is to enter at 34th street and 8th Ave on the East side of the intersection, and follow the stairs all the way down to the lowest level – following signs toward the platform for the Uptown and Downtown A train. The mural is on the lowest level.
Of the work, the artist says “I thought it would be amusing, to do a contemporary Dante’s Inferno, to turn commuting into a spiritual quest.” Spiritual quest or not, the murals certainly brighten my commute. I hope you find the opportunity to experience them for yourself.