Digital Art Photography

MTA unveils digital memorial honoring over 100 transit workers lost to COVID-19

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Photos courtesy of Marc A. Hermann/ MTA unless otherwise noted

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday unveiled a memorial dedicated to the 136 employees who have died from the coronavirus since March. The tribute, named “Travels Far: A Memorial Honoring Our Colleagues Lost to COVID-19” after a poem by Tracy K. Smith commissioned for the project, includes an eight-minute video featuring photographs of the frontline MTA workers who lost their lives to the virus. The video will run on 138 three-panel digital screens at 107 subway stations across the city starting Monday.


Video courtesy of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority

“The pandemic has marked an unimaginably challenging and painful time at New York City Transit,” Sarah Feinberg, interim president of New York City Transit, said in a press release.

“Today marks the next step in our ongoing efforts to honor the colleagues, friends and family members who were taken from us too soon. These men and women were the heroes of the transit system – conductors, bus and train operators, cleaners – but they were also mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters. We think of them daily and we continue to mourn them with their friends and families.”

Designed by MTA Arts & Design, the tribute will feature the “Travels Far” poem in multiple languages as well as an original score by the same name from composer Christopher Thompson. Starting Monday and running through February 7, the video will play twice consecutively three times per day at 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.

There is also a new website dedicated to the COVID-19 memorial that features the video and photographs of the MTA employees. You can find the full list of NYC subway stations displaying the memorial here.

“TRAVELS FAR, with its poignant title and thoughtful words by Tracy K. Smith, helps us remember these courageous members of the MTA family in a way that pays tribute and honors them and their workplace contributions,” Sandra Bloodworth, director of MTA Arts and Design, said.

“Surrounded by a spectrum of colors, the portraits in black and white allow us a glimpse into unique personalities known to their families and colleagues. This memorial shows that art can be a powerful messenger, conveying loss and honoring the memory of our colleagues.”

The poem “TRAVELS FAR” by Tracy K. Smith reads as follows:
What you gave—
brief tokens of regard,
soft words uttered
barely heard,
the smile glimpsed
from a passing car.

Through stations
and years, through
the veined chambers
of a stranger’s heart—
what you gave
travels far.

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Photos courtesy of Marc A. Hermann/ MTA unless otherwise noted


Tags :

coronavirus, covid-19, MTA