The Time Telling - CODAworx

The Time Telling

Client: Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit

Location: New York, NY, United States

Completion date: 2023

Project Team


Diana Al-Hadid

Public Art Agency

MTA Arts & Design


Mayer of Munich


MTA Construction & Development


The Time Telling, a permanent artwork by Diana Al-Hadid, is located at NYC Transit 34 St- Penn Station. Installed within the new ADA-accessible street level station entrance at 33 St and 7 Av, the glass mosaic stands at an impressive 14’-9” high by 14’-1” wide. “Al-Hadid’s work blurs the boundaries between figuration and abstraction, creating a scene that feels drawn from our collective memories of this historic space, real or imagined. The line work is fluid, not fixed. It invites viewers to travel into a moment in time’” says MTA Arts & Design Director, Sandra Bloodworth.


Inspired by Alfred Eisenstadt’s iconic photograph of the famed clock that hung at the entrance of the original Pennsylvania Station, Al-Hadid captures its prominence through her expressive gestural mark making. The large-scale work features a scene viewed from above. Light pours through the windows, forming a veil of mist or fog. Below commuters rush across the station floor. The rising architecture draws in the viewer, but it is the clock at the center that looms large. Its power is clear even though the precise moment is obscured. The artwork connects the past and present of this important station and offers a space for today’s riders and those of an earlier era to briefly meet in passing.


“In recent years Diana Al-Hadid has created multiple timepieces. In this new mosaic she references one forever connected with the memory of the original Pennsylvania Station,” said MTA Arts & Design Director, Sandra Bloodworth.The Time Telling joins two other mosaics by Al-Hadid already installed in the control area of the 1,2,3 trains at 34 St-Penn Station, directly below the new artwork. Commissioned by Arts & Design, those works were installed in 2019. The Arches of Old Penn Station is based on an image of the original 1910 Beaux-Arts Pennsylvania Station grand interior. The Arc of Gradiva features a mythological female character, Gradiva, from a novella who “walks through walls” and roams the ancient ruins of Pompeii, appearing as a ghostly apparition, with the flowing fabric of her garment stretching the length of the wall. All fabricated by Mayer of Munich, the trio are rendered in a palette of shimmering aquas, metallics, and iridescence. Each one captures Diana’s gestural linework, signature drips, and speckled fogs – marks designed to relate to the concept of time.

Additional Information

Diana Al-Hadid is a Syrian-born, American artist living in Brooklyn, New York, who creates sculptures, installations, panels, and drawings using various media such as polymer gypsum, plaster, fiberglass, wood, and steel. Al-Hadid creates structures that simultaneously soar and dissolve in space, blurring the boundaries between figuration and abstraction. She sources conceptual ideas and imagery from literature, history, anatomy, architecture, cosmology, and physics. Her rich, formal allusions cross cultures and disciplines, taking inspiration from her Syrian background, as well as ancient Rome, the Renaissance, or Mannerist painting.