Metro stations get a bad reputation as dark, grimy places where travelers are as likely to catch a communicable disease as they are a train.
Riding the subway needn’t be a journey to the dark side.
Brash, bright and colorful new metro stations have begun to open in several cities that make going cheek-to-cheek with 45 strangers in a metal tube almost feel worth it.
With the latest of these, New York’s sunlit Fulton Transit Center, opening its doors this month, here’s a look at some of the world’s best.
MORE: 11 of the world’s best rail stations
Fulton Transit Center (New York)
Gloomier than most, New York’s underground rail network would make an ideal hangout for vampires, if only they could put up with the unpredictable weekend services and that weird smell at Canal Street.
Creatures of the dark would do well to avoid the newly opened Fulton Transit Center though.
This hub for nine subway lines in Lower Manhattan sits under a huge oculus — a beautiful conical conduit that pulls light down well below street level.
Inaugurated in 1998 to little fanfare, this otherwise ordinary looking station took on new life just three years later.
In 2001, Westfriedhof’s platform was aesthetically enhanced by 11 enormous, domed lighting fixtures that continuously bathe the surroundings in haunting shades of blue, yellow and red.
Opened in 2012, Toledo station defies its depth — at 50 meters, one of the deepest in Naples — with a design based around themes of light and water.
A work called “Light Panels,” by Robert Wilson, illuminates the station corridor furthest underground.