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New York's Forgotten Substations
The Power Behind the Subway
Christopher Payne

ISBN 9781568983554
Publication date 10/1/2002
8.5 x 8.5 inches (21.6 x 21.6 cm), Paperback
112 pages, 124 b/w illustrations
Rights: World; Carton qty: 32; (-1.1)

This book is Out of Print


All over New York City, hidden behind unassuming historic facades, sits the gigantic machinery of the power stations that once moved the subways. For over a century, the 125,000-pound converters and related equipment of the substations remained largely unchanged, but in 1999 the last manually operated substation was shut down and since then they have been systematically dismantled and sold as scrap.

In 1997, author Christopher Payne was introduced to the substations by an official of the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Power Division. Since then, he has rushed to photograph, draw, and write the history of these amazing buildings and their machines before they are completely gone. With virtually unlimited access to the substations, he has developed an intimate bond with the buildings that most people know only in passing. His beautiful photographs and detailed drawings bring these lost treasures to life, while his illuminating text tells their fascinating story. Anyone interested in the art of industrial America or the New York subway will find this book a delight.

Christopher Payne is an architect with Weiss Manfredi architects. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Editorial Reviews

SciTech Book News:
"A useful and attractive record, for the aesthete and the industrial archaeologist."

"Seduced by the abandoned, Manhattan architect Christopher Payne succumbed to the lure of New York's disused subway power stations. . . Payne portrays his subjects close-up and in their best light. While the results evoke the characterizations of Bernd and Hilla Becher and Charles Sheeler, they also draw from Ralph Steiner, in particular his 1920s photographs of light switches." — Barbara A. MacAdam

The New York Times:
"Two years [ago], a young architect named Christopher Payne noticed a Brooklyn Heights substation on his way home from work, peered inside and was fascinated by the ancient machinery. He bought a large-format camera and five years later is the author of New York's Forgotten Substations: The Power Behind the Subway."

Architects Journal (UK):
"One step ahead of the demolition crews was Christopher Payne, with a large-format camera, and this beautifully produced little book (looking more expensive than it is) records what he found."

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