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NYC Subway Benches Part 2

04/09/2020 by Yoav Liberman

NYC Subway Benches Part 2 1

Click for Part 1 of NYC Subway Benches

In 2019 I noticed that a new design of benches was deployed to the recently renovated subway stations of New York City. The overall shape and proportions of the new benches was on par with the iconic benches of the past, but the 21st century designers decided to lighten up the original bulkiness with steel components that punctuated the new form. Steel and wood designs are quite popular these days and we can see them rise to prominence in many live edge designs and other projects whose centerpieces are made of thick slabs of wood. In these projects the industrial looking, sleek and light steel element is used to juxtapose the thick and organic wooden element, and thus bestow the composed furniture with a modern look.

NYC Subway Benches Part 2 2
NYC Subway Benches Part 2 3
The new subway benches are robust and include all the hallmarks of furniture that can last forever. Just like their predecessors they are also made of a laminated oak and have enough “meat” on them to withstand decades of heavy use, including periodical sanding and refinishing.

NYC Subway Benches Part 2 4
NYC Subway Benches Part 2 5
On top of the benches, the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority had decided to add another type of street furniture that is completely novel. This newcomer to our civic life is a standing rest, or a furniture that allows us to lean against it. The modus operandi of the arched beam is to support some of our weight while we lean against it. So instead of leaning against a wall one can buttress themself against a piece of wood. An interesting idea, isn’t it?

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As NYC has come to a complete halt as a result of the Covid-19 (Thankfully Tools For Working Wood is still open as it is considered an essential business.... hurrah to Woodworking) I hope that all that is so much New York, from Broadway to fantastic museums, to dining and shopping will resume to normal life as soon as possible. Let’s hope that our Gotham both above ground and below will see millions of pedestrians and passengers, and those new and old benches will fulfill their purpose yet again.
Join the conversation
04/09/2020 Dave Somerville
Note that the new benches are 'bum proof' as well as pleasing to the eye...
04/09/2020 Paul Baker
Nice post, but I think Yoav missed a few important points.1) Interestingly, the bench will hold a half dozen people, yet whole thing supported by only 2 slender columns/pipes. Very easy to clean under. Plus, no hiding (see next point). 2)*Open* armrests and anti-sleep-at-night metal parts prevent hiding of weapons. Yep...let's be realistic. Note especially the ends are open. A peace officer can see at a glance if any weapons, even a utility knife or club, has been left there. Same with its base/pedestal. Very well designed--no place for someone to casually put a weapon down under bench and stash it. NOTE: I'd love to think they will look sleek for decades. They won't. Fashion changes. They will look as clunky as previous!
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The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.