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Work / Film

Philip Coppola spends nearly 40 years illustrating New York City’s Subway Stations

The Great Big Story is a New York-based video network dedicated to delivering stories on the “untold, the overlooked and the flat-out amazing.” For its latest instalment it talks to Philip Coppola, a man who loves New York’s subway stations so much that he’s spent the last 38 years sketching them in glorious detail with just a ball point pen. 

The film follows Phil studying the intricate mosaics that decorate the subway stations and tells the tale of how this “passion project” took off. “Why am I doing this? My purpose in this study is to make a record of what we’ve got,” Phil says in the film. “I want to document when it was done and give credit to those who made it possible.” Phil started the all-consuming project in 1978 and has created four volumes of drawings so far. He thinks he’ll be close to cataloguing all 469 stations by about 2040: “I’ll be in my 90s then… I hope I can see!”

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Great Big Story: A Big (Apple) Passion Project (still)

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Great Big Story: A Big (Apple) Passion Project (still)

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Great Big Story: A Big (Apple) Passion Project (still)

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Great Big Story: A Big (Apple) Passion Project (still)