Hot Dog Cart

Hot dog carts have been a fixture on New York City street corners since first introduced by German immigrants in the late 1800s on the boardwalk of Coney Island.

Level 3, Departures

Everything bagels

The Everything bagel was allegedly created in 1980 at a bakery in Howard Beach, Queens by an employee who thought of the idea while sweeping up leftover bagel toppings in the oven. Popular toppings for the Everything bagel include poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion flakes, garlic flakes, pretzel salt, and pepper.

Level 3, Departures

John Lennon "Imagine" mosaic

The Strawberry Fields memorial in Central Park includes an iconic black and white marble mosaic dedicated to musician John Lennon, who lived in New York City for the last decade of his life. The word “Imagine” at the center of the memorial invokes Lennon’s 1971 single of the same name.

Level 3, Departures

(high top sneaker, snow boot, work boot)

New York is known for streetwear. In this densely built city walking is popular mode of transportation and shoes—such as high top sneakers, snow boots, and work boots—are one way New Yorkers combine fashion and function.

Level 3, Depatures

Diego Rivera, removed 30 Rockefeller mural

(fruit tree)

This fruit-bearing tree is a detail from Diego Rivera’s Man at the Crossroads, a 1934 mural for the lobby of 30 Rockefeller Plaza that contrasted capitalism and socialism amid modern technological advances. Nelson Rockefeller, the artwork’s commissioner, objected to Rivera’s depiction of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, and the mural was demolished before its completion.

© 2019 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Level 3, Departures


Birds are a recurring motif in the art of Laura Owens. Eleven of her painted birds fly through the mosaic sky in the company of birds quoted from historically important New York City murals by artists James Brooks, Selma Day, and Reginald Marsh.

Level 3, Departures

Coney Island Cyclone

The Cyclone is a wood track rollercoaster that became world famous for its nine dips and record-breaking speeds when it opened in 1927. Its red illuminated sign continues to be an iconic landmark in Coney Island, the birthplace of the amusement park.

Level 3, Departures

Subway Lamppost

Subway globe lamps are distinctive beacons found at the entrances of most subway stations and are color-coded red or green to indicate whether an entrance is open or closed. The spherical half white and green design was introduced in the mid-1990s.

Level 3, Departures


First introduced in 1993 as the fare system for New York City’s subways and buses, the MetroCard has retained its signature blue and gold diagonal design with few alterations. The three depicted in this mural pay tribute to the classic card, which is being phased out for an electronic system.

Level 3, Departures

Subway signage (Borough Hall, Grand Central – 42nd Street Station, Pelham Bay Park E. 177th St Parkchester, Downtown, 72nd St., 14th St, Main St.-Flushing, Exit Sign)

Eight signs announcing station names and locations around the city are depicted throughout in a range of styles and typefaces, from the mosaic lettering and stenciled enamel tile on platform walls to the minimal Helvetica signage now seen throughout the system.

Level 3, Departures

Elba Lightfoot, Harlem Hospital mural

This pudgy caterpillar is from a detail of Elba Lightfoot’s whimsical mural entitled Toy Parade, which was completed in 1938 for the Children’s Surgical Ward of Harlem Hospital under the Work Projects Administration. Lightfoot’s mural, which has since been demolished, was one of the first WPA commissions awarded to a woman of color.


Based in part on the work of Elba Lightfoot in the collection of the NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem Hospital; images courtesy of the Public Design Commission.

Level 3, Departures

James Brooks, Marine Air Terminal mural
(bird flock, compass rose)

Birds are represented in many styles throughout the mural. This particular flock, as well as the compass rose, are quotations from painter James Brooks’ mural Flight. Completed in 1942, Flight was the largest and last mural produced under the Work Projects Administration. It can still be seen at LaGuardia Airport’s Marine Air Terminal.

Level 3, Departures

Marine Air Terminal exterior
(flying fish)

This flying fish emblem originates from the glazed terracotta frieze that wraps around LaGuardia Airport’s Marine Air Terminal. The flying fish is a fitting motif for the art deco building, which was designed in 1940 by architects Delano & Aldrich as a hub for seaplane traffic.

Level 3, Departures

New York City

New York City T-shirts are sold throughout the city and were made famous by an iconic 1974 photograph of John Lennon wearing one on the roof of his East 52nd Street apartment. The shirt depicted here uses a font similar to the one used by the New York Post.

Level 3, Departures

Reginal Marsh, Alexander Hamilton US Custom House mural
(Statue of Liberty)

Holding her torch above New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty is an icon of New York City and the nation. This rear view of the statue looking across the harbor toward Manhattan is a quotation from Reginald Marsh’s 1937 mural in the rotunda of the United States Custom House.


© 2019 Estate of Reginald Marsh / Art Students League, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Level 3, Departures

Pizza Slice

First sold in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood in the early 1900s, New York-style pizza is a variation on Neapolitan pizza and has a thin crust that is crispy but easily folded.

Level 3, Departures

Poodle with booties

This poodle sports the popular booties that protect dogs’ paws from the adverse effects of rock salt used to melt the snow and ice on New York City’s winter sidewalks. After a snowfall, nearly every dog in the city can be seen wearing this common safeguard.

Level 3, Departures

Lenape Land 

The Lenape Land Acknowledgement recognizes the Lenape, who are the indigenous people dispossessed from their traditional homeland, Lenapehoking, by the colonization of the island of Manhattan and surrounding area in the 1600s. Today the Lenape are a diaspora in federally recognized nations of Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Ontario. The Lenape Center of New York offers this welcome in Unami and Munsee, dialects of Lenape language spoken today.

– Lenape Center

Level 3, Departures

I Love
New York t-shirt

The title of Owens’ mural nods to the widely recognized “I Love New York” logo, developed by celebrated graphic artist Milton Glaser in 1977 to promote tourism in New York City and State during a severe economic downturn. Merchandise featuring the design remains among the most popular souvenirs for visitors to the city.


® I LOVE NEW YORK logo is a registered trademark/service mark of the NYS Dept. of Economic Development, used with permission

Level 3, Departures


The red neon sign of Harlem’s Apollo Theater marks one of the premiere venues in the nation to showcase African American musicians. Since 1934, its widely broadcast Amateur Night has launched the careers of many beloved blues, jazz, soul, and R&B musicians.

Level 3, Departures


When it was completed in 1930, the art deco Chrysler Building surpassed the Eiffel Tower as the tallest structure in the world. Designed by architect William Van Alen, its stainless steel crown of radiating recessed arches make it a striking silhouette within the New York City skyline.

Level 3, Departures

Boeing 314 & Stonewall Inn


In 1940 the Yankee Clipper, a Boeing 314 seaplane, was the first commercial plane to make a transatlantic passage from LaGuardia Airport. The plane’s banner pays tribute to The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village and the site of the 1969 riots that served as a catalyst for the LGBT rights movement.

Level 3, Departures

Ice Cream

Ice cream trucks are a common sight and sound on hot days in New York City.

Level 3, Departures

Grand Central ceiling mural (Pegasus)

This golden outline of Pegasus is derived from the ceiling mural in Grand Central Station, which depicts constellations and corresponding zodiac signs over a turquoise ground. The ceiling was originally designed in 1913 by Whitney Warren and Paul César Helleu, in consultation with astronomers at Columbia University.

Level 3, Departures

Hot Dog

Few foods are more ubiquitous than the hot dog, which was first popularized in New York City in the early 20th century before becoming common across the United States.

Level 3, Departures

Anthora Cup

The Anthora, depicted twice in this mural, is a popular disposable coffee cup found in bodegas, delis, and pushcarts around New York City. An homage to the many Greek-owned eateries in the city, its blue and white Grecian motif was designed in 1963 by Leslie Buck, a European Jewish immigrant who made a life in New York after World War II.


Solo® and the Anthora Design are Trademarks of Solo Cup Operating Corporation. Used with permission.

Level 3, Departures

Department Logo

This green encircled leaf is readily identifiable to New Yorkers as the logo of the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, which manages more than 5,000 properties across all five boroughs, including playing fields, community gardens, historic houses, landmarks, and monuments.

Level 3, Departures

New York City tree leaves

Fifteen fallen autumn leaves represent the diverse foliage of New York’s Central Park, including native and naturalized species of ash, beech, cherry, elm, locust, maple, and oak.

Level 3, Departures

Bronx Zoo direction sign

At 265 acres, the Bronx Zoo is the largest urban zoo in the United States. The zoo has been in operation since 1899, and today is home to more than 700 animal species.

Level 3, Departures

Marathon race bib

The bib identifies runners in the New York City Marathon, which is the largest and one of the most competitive races in the world with over 50,000 participants each year. The course begins on Staten Island and passes through all five boroughs, ending in Manhattan’s Central Park.

Level 3, Departures

Staten Island Ferry

The orange Staten Island Ferry is an icon of New York City public transit. Free to all and operating 24/7, the boat shuttles 22 million commuters and tourists annually between the boroughs of Staten Island and Manhattan. Its five-mile route through New York Harbor offers views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.

Level 2, Arrivals

Ed Sorel,
Monkey Bar mural
(La Guardia portrait)

This portrait of Fiorello “Little Flower” La Guardia is a detail from the Monkey Bar restaurant mural painted in 2009 by Edward Sorel, an artist best known for his political cartoons and caricatures for The New Yorker. La Guardia was mayor of New York City from 1934-45 and spearheaded the construction of the airport that now bears his name.

Level 2, Arrivals

Tennis Ball

This tennis ball is a nod to the hundreds of public courts around the city, as well as to the U.S. Open, which has occurred annually at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens—the world’s largest tennis venue—since 1997.

Level 2, Arrivals

Selma Day, Harlem Hospital mural
(boot and goose)

This oversized boot and friendly goose are details from artist Selma Day’s 1938 mural Mother Goose Rhymes, which recast African American figures in traditional nursery rhymes. The mural was commissioned by the Works Projects Administration for the Children’s Surgical Ward of the Harlem Hospital, but has since been destroyed.


Based in part on the work of Selma Day in the collection of the NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem Hospital; images courtesy of the Public Design Commission.

Level 3, Departures and Level 2, Arrivals


With a diameter of 120 feet, the gargantuan stainless steel Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is the world’s largest globe and an iconic landmark in Queens. Landscape architect Gilmore D. Clarke designed the Unisphere for the 1964-65 World’s Fair as an appeal for global unity at the dawning of the space age.

Level 2, Arrivals

Reginald Marsh, Alexander Hamilton US Custom House mural

This dove is a detail from Reginald Marsh’s 1937 mural for the rotunda dome of the Alexander Hamilton United States Custom House in lower Manhattan. Commissioned by the Treasury Relief Art Project, the mural depicts scenes of early exploration and maritime commerce that connect New York Harbor to the world.


© 2019 Estate of Reginald Marsh / Art Students League, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Level 2, Arrivals

Halal cart

Halal carts became one of the most ubiquitous street vendors in New York City beginning in the early 1990s. The traditional “American halal food” is chicken or lamb over rice with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean sauces and spices, though vendors are known for creating their own distinctive fusion of flavors from around the world. 

Level 2, Arrivals

Keith Haring, Woodhull Memorial Hospital mural

This parade of dancing figures is a quotation from a 1986 mural painted by artist Keith Haring for the lobby of Woodhull Memorial Hospital in North Brooklyn. Haring was a radical figure in New York’s 1980s art scene, creating many public installations that raised awareness around the AIDS crisis and other social issues.

Level 2, Arrivals


The Checker Motors sedan was the most ubiquitous taxi cab in New York City for much of the 20th century. Out of production since 1982, the classic car remains a symbol of this convenient mode of transportation.

Level 2, Arrivals

All Images: Courtesy of the artist; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, Rome; Sadie Coles HQ,London; and Galerie Gisela Capitan, Cologne
Photos: Tom Powel Imaging


Icon Guide


LaGuardia Gateway Partners is building a new state-of-the-art Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport. 


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