While London boasts the world’s oldest underground train network (opened in 1863) and Boston built the first subway in the United States in 1897, on 27 October 1904 the first New York City subway system opened to the general public at 5 cents per ride. The 9-mile line ran from City Hall to 145th Street and Broadway. It now has become the only rapid transit system in the world that runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Much needed as more people pass through the NYC subway every single day than live in all of Denmark!

Times Square Mural by Roy Lichtenstein, fabricated in 1994 and installed in 2002 in the Times Square – 42nd Street Subway station.

The New York Subway has artworks throughout its network. For a list of all the works, please go to:

But it is not just the major commissions, also look out for intricate ceramic tile work, some of it dating back to 1904 when the subway first opened.

New York City’s stations stand apart in their overwhelming use of tiles and mosaics, initiated by subway art director/engineer Squire Vickers in the 1910s, at the end of the Arts and Crafts era, and continued by him into the 1930s, with the IND’s precise Machine Age graphics. After Vickers was gone, the subways seemed rootless, with a wide variety of different schemes, some effective, some not.

In recent years, the MTA has restored much of Vickers’ work, especially along the BMT Broadway line, and new mosaic installations have appeared that seem to extrapolate Vickers’ ethos, adapting it to a more playful, innovative age, with additional colours and images.

Well, and this is New York after all, so plenty of things to see while on the train too!

Should you be traveling to the States for the holidays, and want to splash out on shopping instead of seeing art... here are 5 things to do!

Elizabeth Street Garden

Elizabeth Street between Prince and Spring Streets

A 1-acre community sculpture garden in Little Italy, this garden is kept by local neighbours and is a haven after doing shopping in nearby Spring street. This little gem is a unique green space with sculptures and architectural elements, and lovely landscaping.

LOVE sculpture

W 55th St &, 6th Ave

The Love sculpture is a pop art sculpture made by American artist Robert Indiana. It was turned into a US postage stamp in 1973.

(NB this is not the only one... in fact, there are at least 28 others located throughout the US & Canada and at least another 25 located around the world)


4 Cortlandt Alley

A tiny museum housed in a New York freight elevator specializing in the "overlooked, dismissed, or ignored." It even has a little cafe/shop two doors down!

Cabinet of Curiosities: Creel And Gow

131 E 70th St, near The Frick Collection

This is technically a shop.. but no need to buy or spend any money. They are super friendly and let you wonder around and admire things without bothering you!

Jamie Creel and Christopher Gow are serious collectors who spend much of their time traveling the world sourcing far-flung objects for their townhouse, and the result is a wonderful collection of curiosities old and new.

Venus de Milo

1301 Avenue of the Americas, 6th Avenue near MoMA

Three varying sized Venus de Milos stand in line along the plaza, but something about them is off – their heads. The recognizable figures are the work of artist Jim Dine, who is considered to be one of the first Pop Artists.

In the early 1960s Dine produced pop art with items from everyday life. These provided commercial as well as critical success, but left Dine unsatisfied. Since the late 1980s, the artist has sketched and studied Greek and Roman sculpture, and the form of the Venus de Milo has become one of his favourite themes, depicted in a variety of media. These three sculptures collectively areentitled "Looking Toward The Avenue" and were installed in 1989.

Updated: Jan 14

Rents in NYC are high so few independent shops survive, but here I have listed a few who give you the feel of having been there for ever! The history of these shops and their wonderful interior is a great feast for the eyes (buying something only a premium)

J.J. Hat Center

310 5th Ave (btw 31st and 32nd)

Take a step back in time when all men wore hats. full service shop complete with shaper, steamer & felt brushers. Established in 1911, J.J. Hat Center is New York’s oldest hat shop.

McNulty Yea & Coffee Co

109 Christopher St. (between Bleecker and Hudson St. in Greenwich Village)

Founded in 1895, this little shop has lured customers with its wafting scents of freshly ground coffee and specialty teas for a very long time now.

Moscot Eyewear

108 Orchard St

Moscot is a five-generation opticians, founded in the Lower East Side in 1915 by Hyman Moscot, which makes it one of the oldest local businesses in New York City

Known for their quality craftsmanship and classic look, Moscot Eyewear is designed and prototyped in New York

and worn by many New York celebrities.

Music originated in 2004 at the Orchard Street Shop, when 4th Generation Harvey Moscot grabbed his guitar and

started jamming out on a rainy Saturday. Guests lined up, staff members and 5th Generation Zack Moscot joined and since then, MOSCOT has added a music element to its repertoire, by presenting emerging and established musical artists.

Russ & Daughters

179 E Houston St

Family-owned shop offering high-end smoked fish, caviar & New York-style specialty foods since 1914.

In 1907, Joel Russ immigrated from the shtetl of Strzyzow, now part of modern day Poland. He got his start selling schmaltz herring out of a barrel to the throngs of Eastern European Jews on the Lower East Side. It took him seven years to work his way up

from that first herring barrel to having a pushcart operation, a horse and wagon, and then, in 1914, a brick and mortar store. The original store was on Orchard Street. In 1920, he moved the store around the corner to 179 East Houston Street, where it has been ever since. 

Eastern European Jews started meals with cold appetizers, known in Yiddish as the “forshpayz.” In New York, the popularity of forshpayzn among Eastern European Jewish immigrants led to the creation of the institution known as the appetizing store.

Appetizing also originated from Jewish dietary laws, which dictate that meat and dairy products cannot be eaten or sold together. As a result, two different types of stores sprang up in order to cater to the Jewish population. Stores selling cured and pickled meats became known as delicatessens, while shops that sold fish and dairy products became appetizing stores.

C.O. Bigelow Chemists

414 6th Ave

Founded in 1838 in New York's Greenwich Village it is the oldest surviving apothecary–pharmacy in the U.S.A.

Some of the products they offer are original formulas recreated from the archives, like their Lemon Body Cream, which is a recipe that goes back to 1870, and Dr. Galen’s Skin Tonic, named after its founder.

Alec Wade Ginsberg, the fourth generation of Ginsberg pharmacists received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in 2016 keeping the tradition alive.