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The Future Beneath Us

The Future Beneath Us: 8 Great Projects Under New York

An Exploration of Eight Current, Massive Underground Transportation and Water Projects That Will Modernize New York.

Extended through November 1

The vast underground network of tunnels in New York City is the focus of an historic exhibition allowing visitors into a world unknown and featuring the much-discussed, but little understood mega-projects bringing the City’s transportation and water infrastructure into the 21st Century.  The exhibition, titled The Future Beneath Us: 8 Great Projects Under New York, is the result of a unique collaboration between The New York Public Library, one of the pre-eminent libraries of the world, and the New York Transit Museum, custodian of the most extensive collection of urban transportation materials in the United States.  The exhibit will be shown in two locations in Midtown Manhattan: The Science, Industry and Business Library’s Healy Hall, at 188 Madison Avenue, and the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store at Grand Central Terminal.  The exhibit will be on view from February 17, 2009 through July 5, 2009.  Admission is free. 

The Science, Industry and Business Library will draw on The New York Public Library’s impressive resources in an exhibit focusing on the construction of two NYC Department of Environmental Protection infrastructure projects: City Water Tunnel #3, and the Croton Water Filtration Plant being built in The Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park; along with the new Trans-Hudson Express Tunnel, which will double rail capacity between New York City and New Jersey; and the transportation and infrastructure undertakings at the World Trade Center site.  

The images on view include an anonymous lithograph from the October 13, 1842 Croton Water Celebration.  The lithograph, which comes from the Phelps Stokes Collection at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallace Division of Art, Prints and Photographs at The New York Public Library, was featured on the cover of the sheet music for the “Croton Ode,” sung during the celebration.  Other images include an historical view of City Water Tunnel #2 looking into the access drift from the tunnel section showing parts of the steel interlining in place after riveting, along with a current map showing the existing portions of City Water Tunnel #3 and the proposed tunneling for the remainder of the project. 

“Mostly, New Yorkers hear about the cost and timing of the City’s infrastructure improvements.  This exhibition will show the scope and complexity of these gigantic projects, revealing just what it takes to expand an already crowded and thriving city, while that city continues to function at breakneck speed,”  said Gabrielle Shubert, Director of the New York Transit Museum. 

The two exhibitions are located just 9 city blocks apart, each in an historic landmarked building – Grand Central Terminal and the former Altman’s department store that now houses The Science, Industry and Business Library.  In addition to including current status and design information, the exhibit will illustrate the future impact these projects will have on the quality of life and economic and social well-being of New Yorkers.  A comprehensive array of educational programs, lectures and tours will be available to the public, including guided tours of several project sites.

Combined, these mega-projects comprise the greatest infrastructure advancements seen in generations. This joint exhibit will speak to experts and laymen alike.


The New York Public Library
Science, Industry and Business Library
188 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
(212) 592-7000

The New York Public Library

new york transit museum

New York Transit Museum
Grand Central Terminal
Gallery Annex and Store
(In the Shuttle Passage, adjacent to the Station Masters' Office.)
(212) 878-0106

New York Water System

New York's Water System
New York City has the largest unfiltered surface water supply in the world. Every day, more than 1 billion gallons of water from this vast system is delivered to eight million New York City residents – an amazing accomplishment. Visit the links below to learn more.
Learn about the watershed
View maps of New York's watershed
The history of New York's water supply

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600