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Now that’s a gorgeous mosaic! • Brooklyn Paper

Now that’s a gorgeous mosaic!

Artist Amy Bennett’s history-themed mosaic is really brightening up the 86th Street subway station in Bay Ridge.
Photo by Michelle Manetti

One of Bay Ridge’s busiest subway stations has gone from just old to historic.

The long-decrepit 86th Street station, at Fourth Avenue, has finally been fitted with a gorgeous mural depicting scenes from Bay Ridge’s illustrious architectural treasury.

Created by Brooklyn Heights artist Amy Bennett, the mosaic, “Heydays,” shows off three grand houses and lively greenery, all fashioned from hand-installed glass tiles called “smalti” and larger irregularly shaped pieces of glass cakes.

“While exploring Bay Ridge, I was struck by the unique character of many of the neighborhood’s homes,” said Bennett. “I became captivated by picturing the grand estates and summer homes of the area’s rural origins.”

The mosaic covers one entire wall and has turned straphangers from skeptics about the station’s changes into believers.

“At first I said, ‘What’s going on here? Why are they changing everything?’” said Aloha Burkett, a student at Fort Hamilton HS. “But now that I see it complete, it looks wonderful, so creative and fun.”

The cost of the mosaic was $12,800, a tiny portion of the ongoing $12.8-million reconstruction of the beleaguered station.

Previously, the 90-year-old décor consisted of grey walls, chipped paint and broken wall and floor tiles, but Bennett’s work livens-up the station and the commuter’s ride.

“She has done a phenomenal job,” said Sandra Bloodworth, director of Arts for Transit and Urban Design, the program that overseas transit art. “Her work changes the quality of the subway, it sends the message that someone cares about the passengers’ ride.”

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