Metroscope: an Intervention in the New York City Subway


Metroscope: an Intervention in the New York City Subway

Metroscope is a series of working pericopes strategically positioned in Union Square Station so that its users can catch a glimpse of the bustling park outside. The imagined interaction was created by Alexia and her classmates Manako Tamura and Lassor Feasley.

In the subway, we are conditioned to avoid eye contact at any cost and engage in all sorts of other anti-social behavior. To outsiders, the sociopathic choreography of the New York subway system seems strange and lonely. Metroscope confronts commuters with a jarring behavior that short circuits traditional subway etiquette and seduces commuters into an otherwise taboo interaction with another human being.

Metroscope takes advantage of a tactile behavior that almost everyone is familiar with, but that few have actually engaged with; the submarine periscope. Its location in Union Square is key; the duality of the lush park above contrasted with the archetypical grimy subway station matches that of the vast ocean and the cramped quarters of a submarine command room. But unlike a submarine periscope which engenders the mass murder of innocents, Metroscope encourages benign person to person interaction. Park dwellers can look down at the commuters below and the intervention’s various configurations create all sorts of interesting possibilities.


Water Park Scenario


Playground Scenario


Surprise Scenario


This working prototype was created to simulate the interaction. The periscope is attached to a "lazy susan" spinning mechanism so that the user can view the 360 degree photo of Union Square on a sunny day moving live on screen.