Pelham Parkway and
White Plains Road

Tomie Arai
Back to the Garden, 2006
faceted glass in
platform windscreens
MTA Arts for Transit

Pelham Parkway is a tree-lined boulevard that connects Pelham Bay Park with the Bronx Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo.  The faceted glass installation at the Pelham Parkway Station honors these park areas with a panorama of trees and plant life indigenous to New York City. The title of the piece, Back to the Garden, refers to the lyrics of a Joni Mitchell song about returning to the simple life—the life back in the garden.

Tomie Arai's work consists of 24 faceted glass windows with colorful images of fall foliage, spring blossoms and summer wildflowers including daffodils and irises. Inserted into these radiant images are glass inserts of historical black and white photographs of Bronx neighborhoods. The photographs, which were chosen from the archives of the Bronx County Historical Society and span the period from 1899 to 1969, have been screened and fired onto the glass surface.  They include views of the community’s surrounding streets and buildings—Prospect Parkway, White Plains Road, Tremont Avenue, and specific numbered streets that cross the path of the elevated tracks of the #2 subway line.

As commuters move through this train station, they will be reminded of another time and feel a sense of the borough’s history.

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Lehman College Art Gallery and Mario Burger