New York is a Rollercoaster

  • “New York is a Rollercoaster” transformed an unsightly subway tunnel into an inviting entrance.
  •  The team presents their mural proposal. The imagery and title for the mural were taken from the poem "New York is a Rollercoaster," written by youth artist Pury Soliver.
  • Prior to the completion of the mural, the underpass was a dark and unwelcoming tunnel. It now features a vivid tableau of the history and diversity to be found in Washington Heights.
  • On its journey, the train passes a Lenape Native American (an original tribe that lived in Manhattan); neighborhood artists; and Klezmer, Merengue, and Irish musicians.
  • This mural team can be seen in the rollercoaster – dynamic, boisterous, and bursting with energy.
  • The dedication was attended by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Also in attendance was Community Affairs Unit Commissioner Nazli Parvizi, who explained, "This project does more than just beautify the neighborhood - it showcases the rich and diverse history of Washington Heights and provides inspiration for neighbors, young and old."

Project Description

In 2008, Groundswell collaborated with the New York City Department of Transportation and the Office of the Mayor to create “New York City is a Rollercoaster.” The team of muralists collectively designed a lively image to transform and revitalize the entrance way to a 900-foot-long subway underpass in Washington Heights. The mural presents the Number 1 train as New York’s rollercoaster, zooming around The Cloisters, past city workers, and over the George Washington Bridge. In August, the mural was officially unveiled by Mayor Bloomberg, who enthused that, "This is a wonderful example of how community members, City government, and the nonprofit sector can come together to help beautify a neighborhood and make New York City a better place to live. Public art has a way of transforming the landscape, creating dialogue, and bringing people together, and this mural has turned an underground tunnel into a beautiful work of art that the community can be proud of."

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Project Info

Location: 190 Street and Broadway New York, NY 10040

Fun Facts

Fun Fact
There are 656 miles of subway tracks in New York City. That number jumps to 842 miles when you include non-revenue tracks.
“It is no longer dark and scary. I’ve been here 25 years and never did I think this day would come. Thank you.” – Washington Heights resident
Legend Symbol
The butterfly. The Dominican Republic is represented by three butterflies symbolizing the Maribal sisters, who were underground freedom fighters executed by the Trujillo dictatorship.