All Aboard The Artificial Reef Train

Swim clear of the closing doors

It makes the most perverse kind of sense. Humans have done such a thoroughly efficient job of ruining the oceans that we just dump more trash into the sea in an attempt to preserve dwindling marine habitats. Fighting fire with fire, I suppose. Anyway, New York City has been sinking old, dilapidated subway cars into the Atlantic for years now to serve as an artificial reef. They strip the cars to the bare metal, cart ’em on boats, and pitch them into the sea. Here’s the thing: marine organisms love the cars (see photos here). It’s been about a decade now since the first subway cars went into the drink, and each one is a thriving, bustling home to all sorts of marine life. Stack enough of these babies on top of one another, and you’d conceivably have an Atlantic version of the Cortes Bank heaving up massive teepees just offshore of the Statue of Liberty.

These images are from a photo series by Stephen Mallon currently making visitors ooh and ahh at an exhibition in NYU’s Kimmel Galleries. They were too lovely to pass up.

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