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F & M Trains Return to Flatiron

Flatiron straphangers, rejoice! The F and M trains are once again stopping at 23rd Street as MTA New York City Transit's Enhanced Station Initiative (ESI) wrapped up construction just after Thanksgiving.

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According to the MTA, the station closed on July 23rd to address "various states of disrepair that include crumbling concrete and deteriorated structural steel columns and beams, cracked or missing tiles, water leaks, and deficient lighting."

Over the past four months, station entrances were enhanced with digital signage providing real-time information, countdown clocks, new railings and guardrails, and brighter, more energy-efficient lighting. Turnstile areas were upgraded with glass barriers, security cameras, new information centers, and digital dashboards that display New York City subway maps and the full F/M line stops. Platforms were treated with new edge warning strips, new seating furniture and benches, USB charging stations, and new countdown clocks.

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In addition to the standard repairs and renovation work, the station now has 11 mosaic murals from artist William Wegman of his famous Weimaraners, Flo and Topper. Mayer of Munich, a German mosaic fabricator, spent nearly six months creating the pieces that seamlessly translated gray glass into the gray dogs. Mayer of Munich is the same company that produced the life-size human portrait mosaics at the 72nd Street Q train station. Wegman photographed Flo and Topper as a part of his “Stationary Figures” series – a project that has been two years in the making.

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(Photo Credit: 6sqft

The mosaics depict the dogs taking on human qualities and attributes as Flo and Topper can be seen wearing everyday clothes like flannels and raincoats, and staring down the tunnel as if they are anxiously waiting for the next subway. Wegman told MTA Arts & Design, “I wanted to create portraits of individual characters, people who you might see next to you on the platform. For these, I dressed the dogs in more or less ordinary clothes, nothing too fashionable.” Wegman and his dogs have lived in the Chelsea neighborhood for decades. The charming mosaics breathe a new-found sense of life to the 23rd Street station.   

Sources: Gothamist and 6sqft

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