2011-11-04 / Community

Beach 98 Street Artwork Unveiled

By Samantha Rose Routledge

Duke Riley’s art on display at the Beach 98 Street platform. Duke Riley’s art on display at the Beach 98 Street platform. Accompanying all the construction being performed along the Rockaway train stations is the installation of new faceted glass art panels. The latest round of artwork to be revealed is from Duke Riley at the Beach 98 Street station. Faceted glass is raw, thick, unpainted glass with deep color and shimmering sparkle.

Riley spent time researching the Rockaways and took stock of his own first impressions. After gathering historical imagery and recording his own current reference images, he presented a series of proposals to the MTA in the form of sketches and pencil drawings.

After the MTA selected the artwork they wanted displayed, Riley sent his final drawings to Willet Hauser Architectural Glass to be translated into faceted glass panels. Riley worked with the company throughout the entire process, putting his stamp of approval at every point along the way.

Riley has long been interested in maritime history, folklore and local customs, particularly around New York’s waterways. His work features the iconic view of the houses on stilts seen from the A train as it crosses Broad Channel. Another set of panels depicts a tugboat pulling a barge laden with recyclable glass. The MTA said there could not be any words or writing on the project, so Riley used nautical flags to spell out the phrase, “Be Good or Be Gone,” seen in a local tavern. Other panels feature the rolling sea filled with cast off and floating objects and even houses, as Riley comments on both the power of the sea and the need to respect it.

From the time Riley proposed the project to the MTA, till the installation, the entire project spanned three and a half years.

Riley’s website documents the creation of the artwork from proposal to fabrication. His amazing artwork has been exhibited widely in the US and reflects a long-standing fascination with the Rockaways. His work can be seen at dukeriley.info.

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