This week, we’re featuring a site that everyone encounters when taking the train to visit Red Rooster Harlem- the Flying HomeÂ mosaics in the 125th Street station. When stepping off the 2 or 3 express trains on 125th Street, riders get a pleasant surprise facing them on the wall- various colorful mosaics honoring a collection of historically prominent Harlemites.
Notables like Malcolm X, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Josephine Baker are featured “flying home” to Harlem, where they lived and prospered. According to the MTA description, “Flying HomeÂ is a mosaic mural that honors Harlem notables and makes them fly. The mural on one platform depicts performers, painters, and sports figures like Dinah Washington, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Josephine Baker. The opposite platform shows leaders like Malcolm X and writer Zora Neale Hurston, brought to life in mosaics that recall the cultural zenith of Harlem.”
The title of the mosaics is based on a Lionel Hampton song which artist Faith Ringgold heard as a child. She sought to capture its spirit in the pieces, which she expressed by posing the figures as if they were in flight. “I love every one of these people,” Ringgold says, “I wanted to share those memories, to give the community – and others just passing through – a glimpse of all the wonderful people who were part of Harlem. I wanted them to realize what Harlem has produced and inspired.”
So next time you’re at the 125th Street station, look around and get a glimpse of the history that made Harlem great!
Photos: Cyndi Amaya
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