This project is part of SubSeries, a series of design charettes and associated exhibitions conceived by BAUKUNST STUDIO, a design and research practice led by Elizabeth Lasater and Nico Weiss.
The proposal for an extension to the Howard Beach/JFK station creates a space for grief that lies on the edge of two worlds. Pedestrian, boardwalk-style routes are inserted into the existing connection between the Subway and AirTrain platforms; along these walkways, a city of the dead emerges. Slightly corroded, white concrete blocks (held in place by a continuous steel plate that doubles as a cemetery wayfinder) memorialize loved ones who have died abroad. This remote cemetery acts as a readily accessible marker of loss-- it attempts to replace the once long-awaited journeys to far-away lands in search of familiar faces with a new (sentimental) ritual.
The remote cemetery's position is significant: it hovers on the blurry threshold between subway and airplane, underground and airborne, home and abroad. Visitors initially share a route with passengers bound for JFK. However, as the would-be air travelers continue towards the airport, the would-be mourners slip into side-walks that bring them into the swampy, open areas below the airport flight-paths. For them, Howard Beach is not a point of departure, but the last station: a memorial to journeys of the past and the loss that now exists in their place.
Location: Howard Beach, Queens