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Lower Bay's New York Makeover

Text by James Bow.

(See Also Toronto's Lost Subway Stations and Lower Bay's Doors Open)

At the end of February 2001, Lower Bay was used to film a movie entitled Don't Say A Word, starring Michael Douglas. The film is set in New York City and, once again, Lower Bay was called upon to represent the New York Transit Authority. But this time, the producers did more than just slap the usual vinyl "42" stickers on the pillars.

Instead, the entire station was transformed. The ceiling was painted black, and tiled pillers were covered up by phony steel pillars. Platform signage was hung from the ceiling and system maps as well as New York advertisements were put up on the walls. The producers even went as far as to put up fake graffiti, and apply stickers representing terra-cotta tiling. Lower Bay had become "Canal St".

The entire scene cost $600,000 to shoot, with $150,000 alone spent on set dressing (including decking out a train complete with side destination signs in the windows).

Another difference between this movie shoot and the others is that the TTC asked the production company to "donate" the set to the TTC, thus preventing the teardown. The TTC can now use their new station as a selling point for future location shoots.

The set remained installed for several days after the shoot, allowing these photographs, donated anonymously, to be shot. These pictures illustrate the rather startling makeover.

Lower Bay New York Makeover Image Archive

The TTC eventually disassembled the set. As most of it was made of wood, including the "steel" girders, it would have been a fire hazard if it had been left up. Lower Bay has now returned to normal.

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