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Waiting for Toydot


Waiting for Toydot

Peter Drake
Mosaic artwork of toy figures against a field and a blue sky.
“Waiting for Toydot” (2015) by Peter Drake at LIRR Massapequa Station. Photo: Jason Mandella

About the project

Artist Peter Drake's father was a model train enthusiast who built villages for his HO and Lionel trains. He also maintained a collection of painted lead toy figures for his train sets, from the 1930s era in which the Massapequa station was originally constructed. Using the toys as inspiration, Drake created paintings of the figures in various poses waiting for their trains. The paintings were interpreted into a series of 17 laminated hand-painted glass windows by Peters Glass for the station's new waiting room windows and the glass above some of the stairways. These windows depict travelers engaged in private moments. The luminous colors are made through multiple layers of transparent pigment that give the artwork a glowing appearance.  

Two mosaic panels show the conductor and his trusty dog, overlooking the stairways. The largest artworks are reserved for two exterior brick walls on the platform, with detailed, hand glazed mosaics in relief for dimension. At 6 by 10 feet each, these works face north and south and also show scenes at Drake's mythic station.  

The mosaics, created by Mosaika Art & Design are expressive and the innovative method of fabrication contributed a magical three-dimensionality. The south-facing mosaic can be seen from nearby Sunrise Highway. The warmly colored and richly detailed works evoke the adventure of travel and family, which refers to the artist's childhood LIRR memories of waiting for his father to return from the city each workday. A Bremen aircraft is shown flying above and refers to the former Fitzmaurice Flying Field at Massapequa Park, one town over. With all of its combined elements "Waiting for Toydot" provides a visual identity and deeply felt sense of place to the station. 

About the artist

Peter Drake graduated with a BFA from Pratt Institute. His work is held in numerous private, corporate and public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Phoenix Museum of Art, MOCA LA, Weatherspoon Art Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Award and a New York Foundation Fellowship. He is a two-time recipient of the Two Trees Cultural Space Subsidy Program Grant for 2016-18 and 2019-22. 

Drake previously was a curator for the Drawing Center in New York City, wrote for Flash Art Magazine, served as a Board Member for the Artists’ Fellowship, Inc. and was a jurist for Base Istanbul 2017 and the XL Catlin / AXA Art Prize 2018-2021. Drake maintains a studio in Dumbo, Brooklyn, and is represented by Linda Warren Projects, Chicago and Los Angeles.