• 03.03.11

Surreal Photos of Subway Cars Being Thrown Into the Ocean [Slideshow]

But not just to junk them: Rather, the cars create manmade reefs for ocean wildlife.

For more than a decade, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority has treated the Atlantic as its very own graveyard, tossing thousands of old subway cars off a barge to rust away on the ocean floor. An environmental crime? Hardly. The program creates habitats for marine life from Georgia to Jersey and gives New York’s aging subway cars a vibrant (and free!) retirement home.


Now, New York photographer Stephen Mallon has captured the MTA’s artificial reef program in a gobstopping collection of stills that look like what you’d get if you combined an Ed Burtynsky series with the freeze frames of The Matrix and the train porn of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (without the agro hostage situation). We’ve got lots of details on the program and a selection of Mallon’s photographs above.

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.