REACH- New York - CODAworx

REACH- New York

Client: NYMTA, New York, NY

Location: New York, MA, United States

Completion date: 1996

Project Team

Artistic Director

Christopher Janney

PhenomenArts, Inc.


Otto Piene



REACH-New York- An Urban Musical Instrument-
Installed on the 34th St. platform in the New York City Subway, this interactive light/sound installation has been enhancing this space and its waiting passengers for over 25 years! Composed of two 30 ft, long green horizontal cylinders (one uptown, one downtown), each “tube, contains photo-electric sensors, LED lighting and audio speakers. As waiting passengers reach up and “wave” a hand or any object in front of the light beam, he/she triggers series of melodic and environmental sounds. Without even speaking a word, passengers engage in a non-verbal “game,” interacting and playing the artwork together; the more people play, the more instruments and environmental sounds are generated All for one and one for all!


The basic concept of all mt Urban Musical Instruments is to make public spaces more inviting, creating a "social foil" for people to interact with one another in "creative play."


I first built a prototype while at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies in 1982. Then, I built a touring version and, at the invitation of both the Paris and Boston Transit systems, created a series of temporary installations. Then, the NYMTA asked me to create a temporary work in any station of my choosing. After 10 years, the MTA declared it an permanent work!

Additional Information

Some of the emails I have received over the years- _____________ - Among my favorite things in New York City is the wonderful musical instrument by Christopher Janney in the Manhattan 34th Street subway station. I play it often and delight in introducing it to tourists and locals alike. Thank you _____________ - Hi Christopher, Hope you are well! Love your work! I always play your musical instrument and I absolutely love it on 34th St. in the Herald Square subway. Best, Carolyn ______________ - Thank you - REACH and you are wonderful!! Jenielle