Subway reefs
February 22, 2011 7:57 PM   Subscribe

Subway Submarines - a photo essay by and interview with industrial art photographer Stephen Mallon on NYC subway cars repurposed into underwater reefs. (via @stevesilberman)

More photos at Stephen Mallon photography, including a portfolio of the recovery of Flight 1549 (previously) and some great portraits. Alert: This is a flash site so for all that is holy, please avoid it if that is going to piss you off because that point has been beat to death.

More on subway reefs
Subway cars for reef deployment
Growing Pains for a Deep-Sea Home Built of Subway Cars - NYT 2008
The Submerged Subway Reef - Scientific American, 2001
posted by madamjujujive (11 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I'm surprised NYC paid to have them dumped instead of being paid for scrap metal.
posted by stbalbach at 8:23 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I hope this works out better than that bright idea to sink old tires that resulted in hundreds of tires rolling around and smashing into everything.
posted by amethysts at 8:32 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Have other cities done this?

I'm particularly interested if any of the cities that adopted extruded aluminum railcars when they were popular in the 1960s have done it, as many of these vehicles are now approaching the end of their useful life (about half of DC's Metro fleet and a big portion of California's BART fleet -- both largely due to the fact that Rohr's railcars turned out to be the railway safety equivalent to the Ford Pinto).

Is aluminum hazardous to fish? Do we even have methods of disposing or recycling huge chunks of the stuff?
posted by schmod at 8:41 PM on February 22, 2011

schmod, aluminium is highly recyclable. but no danger to marine populations.
posted by wilful at 2:44 AM on February 23, 2011

My butt polished a lot of those seats.
posted by Faze at 3:56 AM on February 23, 2011

Is this really repurposing stuff into reefs or just a really convenient way to get rid of a bunch of old subway cars?
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:21 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was hoping to see some "after" shots of the cars inhabited by sea creatures. You know, an octopus with tentacles all over the handholds, a fish splayed across the seats passed out and pissed itself, etc.
posted by exogenous at 5:42 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

The cars are a mix of steel and aluminum. Neither metal holds up well in salt water. But aluminum is worth 5 to 10 times as much in scrap as steel, that's why people collect soda cans, imagine how many soda cans by weight is in one of those cars, it's a lot of money they are throwing in the ocean for a reef that will fall apart in a few decades or less.
posted by stbalbach at 12:00 PM on February 23, 2011

I was hoping to see some "after" shots of the cars inhabited by sea creatures.

In the YouTube links in the FPP "more inside" - sea turtles and various fish.
posted by stbalbach at 12:02 PM on February 23, 2011

"All right, what are you doing with all those big black sealed barrels with the skull and crossbones on the side?" "Why Mister Coastguard, nothing at all. These are being REPURPOSED INTO REEFS."
posted by tumid dahlia at 1:52 PM on February 23, 2011

Any artistic connection to the IRT (1/9) Houston Street murals that depict a flooded subway station with large marine animals swimming in it?
posted by bad grammar at 6:14 PM on February 23, 2011

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