Passing Muster

Passing Muster

A photo essay. To view all nine images, including a couple of animated gifs, check out the email version.

As a pedestrian, it’s easy to want to get underpasses over with. They’re meant to facilitate movement, of course, but inhuman scale and features, including hard industrial textures and heavy shadows, often make these passages feel more like barriers or cages.

Some New Haven underpasses do better. Simply painting the undercarriage a nice color, like the dusky blue at the base of State Street or the coal-fired red at the I-91 terminus over Water Street, goes a long way. So does public art. A series of murals lining Humphrey Street redeem in part that stretch’s tendency toward desolation, while a massive LED installation above George Street and Church, broadcasting slow-mo video portraits of happy students and personnel at Gateway community college, couldn’t be more welcoming.

Call it a downtown underpass that goes over and above.

Written and photographed by Dan Mims.

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