Drawing inspiration • Brooklyn Paper

Drawing inspiration

Subway drawings: Architect Zach Downey is one of the winners of an art competition to celebrate the 2013 Centennial of Grand Central Terminal and his work is on display at the New York Transit Museum.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

You know a place is special when architects keep sketching it well-after the blueprints have been drawn.

A contest asking for artistic renditions of the famous Grand Central Terminal has brought out the poetic side of architects and designers — notably Zach Downey, who hasn’t entered this type of thing in quite a while.

”I thought this competition could be a nice way to shake off the rust and see if I could still draw,” said Downey. “As an architect, it was a great exercise and challenge trying to communicate some of my favorite aspects of Grand Central in such a small format.”

The pen and ink drawing titled “Eddies of Pause” is noticeably the most eloquent piece in the Grand Central Sketchbook exhibition at the New York Transit Museum. Icons associated with New York’s beloved landmark — Grand Central Oyster Bar, the four-faced clock crowning the information booth, concrete cherubim, and the starry ceiling — are harmoniously entwined like lines in a haiku.

“I think spaces sometimes evoke words, but more often I think words evoke spaces,” said Downey. “Maybe this is the architect in me.”

Grand Central Sketchbook: Designers Dream, one of many special events that celebrate the 2013 Centennial of Grand Central Terminal, welcomed all architects and artists to participate. Contestants weren’t expected to build a better mousetrap, but to reinterpret and depict Grand Central Terminal through fresh eyes. The 20 winning entries, chosen for their imagination and originality, are on display at the New York Transit Museum through Dec. 1, and the works are have been published in a book titled “Grand Central Terminal Sketchbook” on sale at the museum store.

“Grand Central Sketchbook: Designers Dream” New York City Transit Museum [130 Livingston St., underground entrance located at Schermerhorn Street and Boerum Place in Downtown, (718) 694–1600, www.mta.info/mta/museum]. Through Dec. 1, $7, $5 children and seniors.

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