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Transit Museum Opens Exhibit On Subway-Inspired Album Art

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TWC News: Transit Museum Opens Exhibit On Subway-Inspired Album Art
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"Album Tracks: Subway Record Covers," a new exhibit opening at the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn on Saturday, showcases a string of subway-inspired album covers, which capture the essence of New York and music history through the decades. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

It was nearly 50 years ago when Simon & Garfunkel stood on the subway platform at the Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street station, seemingly waiting to catch a ride back to Queens.

The year was 1964 and the photo of the duo at the station appeared on the cover of their debut album, "Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m."

This is one of 40 subway-inspired album covers featured in an exhibit that opens Saturday at the Transit Museum, located at the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn.

Other featured album covers include Duke Ellington's "Take the A Train" and the lesser known Brecker Brothers' "Straphangin'," shot at the City Hall station that closed nearly 70 years ago.

"They very much capture a moment - the '40s, '50s, you know, up through the '80s," said Robery Del Bagno, the curator at the New York Transit Museum. "When you look at the different covers, you really get a feeling for the times."

Billy Joel's 1976 album "Turnstiles" is also among the album covers featured. The cover art was snapped at the Astor Place station in a time when tokens, not MetroCards, were the currency of choice.

"In the late '70s, the subway was looking kind of bleak, and that is one of the things you see in some of these album covers," said Del Bagno.

Graffiti-coated trains appear on the Ramones' "Subterranean Jungle" and on a Kool and the Gang compilation, where a heavily graffiti-ed B train graces the cover.

"The albums in the show from the late '70s, early '80s, do show how much graffiti was in New York and really how much better the system looks these days," said Del Bagno.

Musicians also used subway stations for more than just their album covers.

At the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station in downtown Brooklyn, Michael Jackson shot the music video for his song, "Bad."

Many subway riders had no idea about the station's tie to the video.

"It's cool, I respect M.J.," said one rider.

"No idea," said another rider.

Del Bagno says the exhibit gives riders a sense of the music history in subway stations all over the city.

"At first glance, this seems like a kind of odd bunch of objects for a museum exhibit, but as you start to look at it, there's so many aspects of history that you can see have changed," said Del Bagno.

"Album Tracks: Subway Record Covers" runs through January 12, 2014.

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