Long Island Railroad’s Hicksville Station
Hempstead Plain, Morning & Evening, 2018
Roy Nicholson created glass mosaic artwork for the Hicksville station ticket office and waiting room in 2002, and when the station underwent a major platform rehabilitation effort in 2018, he was invited to expand the project to the new waiting rooms on the rebuilt platform above.
In the 2002 Morning Transit, Hempstead Plain & Evening Transit, Hempstead Plain mosaic murals, Roy Nicholson takes viewers back in time. The area around Hicksville was once a notable rarity, an example of an original prairie landscape most often associated with the Midwest. Nicholson recaptures that setting, in look and spirit, as if seen from a speeding train. The colors vary according to the time of day depicted – soft green and blue hues for sunrise in Morning Transit, and red and blue hues for sunset in Evening Transit. “Each commuter imagines his or her own personal scenery,” says Nicholson. “One can look at it over and over again and discover new images.” The artist creates a contemplative meditation on landscape and rewards the viewer with an affectionate look back at Long Island before the post-war housing boom forever altered the landscape.
In the newer installation, “Hempstead Plain, Morning & Evening “, Nicholson’s seventy two laminated glass panels bathe four platform waiting rooms with vibrant light and color. Additional glass panels frame two stair enclosures, making Hicksville station an engaging and lively environment. Expanding on the artist’s earlier vibrant mosaic landscapes in the station building, these sprawling transparent vistas are inspired by the historic writings of naturalist Henry Hicks, whose grandfather, Isaac Hicks developed the first plant nursery in the area.
Nicholson’s painted glass panels, created by Glasmalerei Peters Studios, capture the feeling and excitement of a train swiftly rushing through the open Hempstead Plain. The palette evokes the different times of day a commuter would pass through, with the soft blues and greens of the morning and the glowing yellows and oranges of the evening. As a long time Long Island resident, the artist chose to name each of the fifty foot long waiting rooms after a tree representative of early 20th century writings on the bucolic area: oak, sumac, cedar and maple are the name signs are framed by smaller paintings that represent these species. “I wanted to connect today’s commuters with the landscape they are passing through and to echo the historic prairie with its indigenous plants, sweeping vistas and colorful morning and evening light.”
Note: It’s the largest glass project ever commissioned by the MTA.
Artist Roy Nicholson
Copy courtesy of the Metropolitan Transit Authority.