A big white “1” inside a bright red tomato…a new NYC Subway series

Steve Ember
Jan 28, 2018 · 3 min read
“1Scape №1” — A downtown local 1 Train approaches 125th St Station in New York’s Harlem ©2018 Steve Ember

Well, I suppose it would be more accurate to say “bullet,” the term by which New York City Subway riders recognize the various groups of subway lines creating a remarkable web of rapid transit beneath and above the streets of Gotham.

But you’ll understand, I’m sure, if I prefer to use the more appetizing term “tomato,” at least to describe the symbol for the MTA’s (IRT) West Side 1, 2, and 3 lines.

If you follow my NYC Subway photography, you may be aware of my “7Scapes” series, which follows the trains of the №7 Flushing Line at stops throughout Queens and from Grand Central west to Hudson Yards/34th Street. If you’re new to my NYC Subway work, I hope you’ll explore!

It’s rush-hour on this summer afternoon, and a Flushing-bound 7 Train approaches 33rd St-Rawson St. station in Long Island City, Queens. It is a 7 Express, so it will blast past that station on the center express track, on its long journey through Queens to its terminus at Flushing Main St. ©2014 Steve Ember

That series grew out of an early fascination with the IRT №7 Train that started with a chance discovery in my teens.

A podcast describing how it all got started

You may view this growing collection of 7Scapes by clicking here and navigating through my New York City images.

But another early facet of fascination starting in my teen Subway-rookie years was the IRT №1 Broadway-7th Avenue Local — at least from Midtown down to the distinctive (former and once revived) loop station at South Ferry.

By some sheer serendipity, that fondly remembered (but since closed) station was rediscovered, Brigadoon-like — decades later — on a recent trip to New York.

Podcast: “A South Ferry Time Warp”

The segments of the route of the 1 Train that I remembered were entirely underground. Thus — with the exception of the iconic loop station, where trains reversed in a tight wheel-flange-screeching curve to continue uptown — not as photographically stimulating as, for example, the elevated portions of the 7 Train

However, with a big tip of the “Hut” to my German photographer friend Hans-Gerd, a fellow devotee of NYC and its Subway system, I have embarked on a parallel (or should I say “perpendicular” in terms of the lines’ compass-orientation?) course of photo-discovery along the upper West Side elevated segments of the 1 Train. After admiring each other’s Subway images for some time on the Foto-Community site to which I publish some of my work, we got together during H-G’s visit in December, and he introduced me to the soaring structure by which the 1 Trains cross high over the Manhattan Valley at Broadway and 125th in Harlem…as well as another photo-enticing station farther uptown at Dyckman Street, where uptown trains emerge from a tunnel under Fort George, high in the rock-face of upper Manhattan and continue along a curving elevated structure above the various neighborhoods toward their northernmost stop, Van Cortlandt Park–242nd Street in the Bronx.

So, for now, here is “1Scape №1.” It shows a downtown №1 local approaching the 125th Street station in Harlem, on an elevated structure high above 125th and Broadway. It was taken at the long end of the Canon EF 70–200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM lens on my 5DMkIV.

It is available in archival prints in a variety of sizes on either metallic or fine art media and as a custom printed greeting/note card.

I hope you will enjoy the series as more “1Scapes” begin to appear. You may look for them here and here.

©2018 Steve Ember

P.S: While this ramble was limited to “bullets with numbers inside,” I do happen to also love the ones with letters inside, ‘specially when they rumble borough to borough over bridges, so feel free to explore my sites and “ride” many more lines, including where the J meets the M on the Willy-B.

If you’d like to explore my work, both film and digital, beyond subway photos, you may do so at https://500px.com/steveember or by visiting http://steveember.com/ and clicking on “Photography.”

Steve Ember

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I am a photographer (film + digital), voice actor, and writer. You can sample my work at http://SteveEmber.com or https://500px.com/steveember