Photograph from The Underbelly Project via LTV Squad

With the announcement that over 100 street artists had been sneaking into an abandoned subway station to create installations, paintings, murals, and more since last year for The Underbelly Project, naturally the question is how come the work went undetected by the MTA and NYPD for 18 months. As the NY Times described:

The difficult process of getting to the Underbelly space — which involves waiting at an active station’s platform until it’s empty, slipping from it into the damp and very dirty no man’s land beyond, and traversing that to get to the old station’s entrance — suggested to PAC and Workhorse how challenging the project would be. And the legal risks were obvious. Charles F. Seaton, a spokesman for New York City Transit, described such incursions as “trespassing, punishable by law,” and said “anyone caught defacing M.T.A. property is subject to arrest and fine.” Beyond that, Workhorse and PAC worried that given anxiety about terrorism in the subway, a large-scale, long-term project like theirs might even lead to more serious charges.

We asked the MTA for further comment, and spokesman Kevin Ortiz said, "MTA NYC Transit is working with NYPD in the investigation and follow-up on this matter. Further inspections will be made to this and other similar locations throughout the system to better secure these areas. We remind the public that any such incursions into unauthorized areas of the transit system is considered trespassing and is punishable by law not to mention, dark and dangerous." (We are also awaiting comment from the NYPD Vandal Squad.)

It's suspected that the abandoned station housing the Underbelly works (the entrance has been removed) is at S 4th in Williamsburg; Second Avenue Sagas says the proposed six-track station there is less an abandoned station and more an "abandoned dream." And, for a little taste of what it's like heading down to the space, here's Underbelly contributor Jason Eppink's video of his projection collaboration with I Am. Eppinksays, "I had to make a video because, as a hand-made analog projection system, it's a little difficult to photograph!"

The Shadow Machine from Jason Eppink on Vimeo.