Subway Tile Conservation At Times Square

New York, NY

At the Times Square subway station, at the corner of 42nd St. and 7th Ave, an original tiled mosaic was to be selectively being removed to make space for several upgrades to the station. The removed sections were to be moved to the Transit Museum’s collection.

As part of a multi-phased project, EverGreene was engaged in the conservation of the mosaic and other historical elements. In the first phase, all materials and current conditions of the Northwest platform was assessed and documented for archival and project records and for the review by SHPO and the Transit Authorities. The site survey included historic mosaic, glazed ceramic tiles, terracotta, stone, and brickwork.

In the second phase, we cleaned, documented, and tested all materials to develop a plan for the removal of the tiles. Cleaning tests were carried out to determine best methods and materials required to remove general soiling, paint, and accretions from the surface of the tiles and brickwork. No destructive samples or removals took place, as the goal of the cleaning was to remove the soiling, paint, and accretions only. We used probes and a borescope to better understand the matrix of the substrate, airspaces, and voids, as understanding the types of cohesion, depth, and wall make-up are key in the decision-making process for the removal.

In the third phase, our conservators are working with the client’s contractor to oversee the removal, packaging, and transport of all salvaged materials and provide recommendations for storage and future treatment.