Iron Meets Glass In Westbury

Historic train station illuminated by contemporary art.

Illuminations (2022) © Darryl Westly, LIRR Westbury Station. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. (Credit: Alex Nuñez)

Over the coming months, Nassau Illustrated News will be taking readers on a tour of our area’s train stations along the Long Island Rail Road, with an eye to the history, design, and public artwork of our stations.

And what better way to start, we thought, than with a look at one of our area’s most storied stations, with the help of a few snapshots by Anton Media Group Creative Director and longtime Westbury resident Alex Nuñez.

Light and people passing through

At Westbury Station today, passengers are greeted by a series of pieces of colorful glass art, which let light stream through much like traditional stained glass displays do in houses of worship.

The scenes depict our Long Island and Westbury communities, outlining people, plants, and familiar places in colorful panes.

The glass art, installed in 2022, is entitled “Illuminations,” and one can see why.

The piece was created by NYC-based artist Darryl Westly, a mixed media artist and curator whose works layer hyperrealism, architectural elements with idealized landscapes, and art historical references, according to Westly’s bio. Westly is a graduate of Pratt Institute with a major in sculpture, and holds a BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and the Arts.

A former assistant to celebrity pop artist Jeff Koons, the Chicago-born painter currently works alongside the art collective Bruce High Quality in Brooklyn and in his studio in Manhattan. He has curated shows for Christie’s Auction House, FiveMyles, and Miranda Kuo, and was commissioned to design a Digital watch for Fossil. Westly’s works have been exhibited in London, Athens, Beirut, and across the U.S.

Making stops in history

The original Westbury Station was built in 1837 alongside the opening of Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) service to Hicksville. It was briefly replaced by the Carle Place station that year for local service. A second stop was built in 1883, with a third built in 1914. The station was electrified in October 1970, along with the rest of the stations between Mineola and Huntington stations. Westbury Station got a major remodeling in 1972, and another in the early 2000s.

Westbury was the site of the first known car-train collision, in 1901, and several more track fatalies followed in the next few years. As a result, the community moved to have a below-grade track created. In 2019, a fatal collision between an eastbound train and a truck at the School Street crossing caused extensive damage to the Westbound platform and several power poles. That crossing was eliminated as part of the LIRR’s Third Track Project and replaced with an underpass.

In 2017, LIRR construction workers also replaced the Post Avenue bridge next to the station, installed during the station’s 1914 rebuild. The 103-year-old bridge seemed to be in good condition despite being hit by several trucks in the 2000s, but was replaced with a nice clearance and higher track capacity.

As part of the Third Track Project, Westbury Station was also upgraded to fit 12-car trains on new platforms. New canopies, benches, signage, security cameras and, finally, glass art were also added.

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