Iconic NYC subway posters come together at SVA's Chelsea gallery

Posters tracing the love affair between the New York City subway system and the School for Visual Arts are now above ground at the SVA gallery in Chelsea.

It's part of an exhibition called "Underground Images: A History."

"It's the first time in 75 years since the posters were first published for our New York City subway system that all of them have been united in one place," director of SVA Galleries, Francis Di Tommaso, said.

More than 200 posters are on display. 

The earliest is one from 1947, an ad to recruit students to the Cartoonists and Illustrators School as the School for Visual Arts was originally known.  Curators say the school's founders decided to advertise in the subway system after being inspired by similar posters in Paris post World War II.


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"So they had this little school, and how were they going to let the world know that it existed? This was the idea they hit upon and has been going and going and going," Di Tommaso said.

Each poster is reflective of its era; each is just as eye-catching to straphangers who use the busiest transit system in the world.

Straphangers like Daniela Scheiblhofer said, "These posters, I think they definitely stop a lot of people maybe, you know, for a minute or even if it's just for 30 seconds and be like, hey, what is going on there? What do you see here? And then, you know, maybe take a step closer and kind of see what the person's trying to tell you."

One of the most iconic is a poster designed by legendary artist Milton Glaser, who borrowed from his most famous creation the "I (heart) NY" logo...to do so.

Underground Images: A History is on display at the SVA Chelsea Gallery until October 14.