Metroscope: an Intervention in the New York City Subway



an Intervention in the New York City Subway

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

Interaction Design / Experience Design / Story Boarding

Lassor Feasley / Manako Tamura


The Challenge

How might we encourage people in the city to interact with one another in public spaces in a delightful and innovative way? In the New York city subway, we are conditioned to avoid eye contact and engage in all sorts of other anti-social behavior. This subterranean, and often dirty world seems incredibly disconnected with the bustling city outside. How can we create an interaction that would enable a connection between the people threading both spaces?


Metroscope confronts commuters with an unusual behavior that short circuits traditional subway etiquette and seduces commuters into an otherwise taboo interaction with a stranger. It takes advantage of a tactile behavior that almost everyone is familiar 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, a vehicle of war, 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.

Our Proposed Intervention


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 moving live on the screen.