A Decorative Piece of Subway History Is Unearthed in a Busy Station (NYC)

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A lovely little piece of subway history on the uptown platform of the No. 1 line at 59th Street-Columbus Circle — so old it actually antedates the trains — was concealed from generations of riders by a false wall.

With the false wall being removed as part of the station renovation, history has come to light again: a blue-and-white Art Nouveau plaque, with a flowery border (worthy of willow ware) encircling the words, “The Tiles in This Exhibit are the product of the American Encaustic Tiling Co. Limited / Zanesville Ohio / New-York N.Y.”

What exhibit?

It turns out that the 59th Street station was a kind of proving ground for the architects Heins & LaFarge in 1901, three years before the Interborough Rapid Transit Company trains began running through it.

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