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MTA Arts & Design


Port Jefferson

David McQueen

“…the vast and endless sea”, 2019

Stainless steel

Port Jefferson has a long history as a ship building center and a strong connection to its past. Located more than 2 hours east of Manhattan, the station serves as a gateway to the historic village that lies to its north. David McQueen's stainless steel sculpture at the LIRR Port Jefferson station is comprised of three ships once built in Port Jefferson (a schooner, a yawl, and a sloop), and he wanted them to "sail through its consciousness". Each is positioned to curve as if sailing through the sea, and held aloft by 52 boat stands. The ships are modified re-creations of those built here during the mid-1800's at the Bayles and Darling Shipyards.

The title of the sculpture is taken from the French aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's writings in a passage about instilling a love of the sea, "If you wish to build a ship, do not divide the men into teams and send them to the forest to cut wood. Instead, teach them to long for the vast and endless sea." The ships are presented as if they are in the process of being built, temporarily aground, but bound for the ocean. They are connected to the past, but look to the future, full with potential.

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