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Public Installation Turns Space Under Bronx Train into Cultural Hotspot

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By the thousands, New Yorkers use the hundreds of miles of elevated train tracks, bridges and other structures to get around town, but the areas below them aren't often places where we want to hang out. A public installation project unveiled in the Bronx Wednesday aims to transform those areas. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

Under the "El"—many say the elevated trains can be unpleasant.

"Really dark and dreary, especially at nighttime," says one person.

Not to mention noisy.

There are a lot of spaces like that, too.

The city has about 700 miles of elevated infrastructure with more than 100 million square feet of space beneath.

That's why the Department of Transportation and a couple of non-profits are out to make those areas more inviting—with the Under the Elevated Project.

In the Bronx, they've unveiled the Boogie Down Booth.

"It lets passersby rediscover this space through sound," says Connie Moran of the Bronx Borough Commission.

Playing inside: the sounds of homegrown talents like circa '95 and those who paved the way for them.

"Masking the subway noise with great music from the Bronx, making it brighter and maybe safer by adding solar-powered, integrated LED lighting in the canopy. We've added covered seating for people to gather and to rest," says Susan Chin, Executive Director of Design Trust for Public Space.

The hope is that the booth will help transform this space, making it more hospitable and attractive to residents and visitors. There's also hope it will encourage more people to patronize area stores.

"I think it's pretty nice to have something like that, like, really makes the neighborhood look a little bit better. Gives us more to kind of do around here and it's nice to have lights, you know, when it gets dark at night," one area resident says.

"Everything is more inviting. Like, I feel comfortable sitting and waiting for the bus," another said.

So, we're New Yorkers—skeptics by nature, right? So, you're probably wondering how this music competes with the rumbling of the train above and the noise on the street.

Surprisingly, the directional speakers do a good job distracting folks from the other sounds.

Passersby might not hear the music, until they sit down.

"I just expected it to be a little seating area and when I sat down, the music just surrounded me," another person in the area said.

The Boogie Down Booth is the second Under the Elevated Project installation. The first was in Chinatown.

This one will be up through September 15.

To give feedback on the Under the Elevated Project, email or use the hashtag #UnderTheElevated on Twitter. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP