Nostrand Avenue

Around the Way

Derrick Adams
Platform view of glass artwork of colorful figures and trees against intersecting roads.
"Around the Way" (2019) © Derrick Adams, LIRR Nostrand Avenue Station. Photo: Emil Horowitz

About the project

"Around the Way" by Derrick Adams presents a bold and playful depiction of city life throughout LIRR Nostrand Avenue Station. The laminated glass artwork consists of 85 panels that span the length of the newly rehabilitated platforms and extend onto four new pedestrian bridges that connect the station to Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, which are represented in the artwork.

Drawing from aerial photos, maps, and personal history, Adams employs his signature collage-like style to reimagine the community. Fanciful assemblages represent the area’s vibrant and diverse population as well as the buildings and structures in which they work, live, play, and travel.

"Around the Way" emphasizes the symbiotic relationship between neighborhood residents and their built environment. Recognizable street configurations include the train winding through the scene. Trees dot the sidewalks and street corners of this city-scape and, unexpectedly, sprout from the palms of the figures, symbolizing the importance of nature in the city and its cycles of growth, renewal, and sustainability.

Adams reflects, "As a longtime resident [of the area], I was inspired to create this work as a response to the vibrant cultural surroundings and diverse population which I see in motion on a daily basis. The figures fuse with architecture and nature as a representation of the progressive impact left by generations of growth. These hybrid structures represent the many important components which reside together to form a thriving community." 

Adams’ prominent use of patterning and color-blocking, a technique by which shades opposite one another on the color wheel are paired to create complimentary color schemes, adds visual complexity to the piece. These convey how beauty and harmony can exist and thrive by embracing the differences that surround us. 

About the artist

Derrick Adams is a multidisciplinary artist working in performance, video, sound, and 2D and 3D realms. His work is in the permanent collection of prominent American museums and is exhibited internationally. Adams was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and is based in Brooklyn, New York.