New Yorkers rave about Taiwan-themed subway cars

New Yorkers praise Taiwan Tourism Bureau's ad campaign displaying Taiwan's iconic cultural images inside New York subway trains

(Image from Taiwan Tourism Bureau)

(Image from Taiwan Tourism Bureau)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- New Yorkers gave strong words of praise and expressed interest in traveling to Taiwan in response to the Taiwan-themed subway cars program by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau in a video report posted by a bilingual British journalist.

In interviews on their take of the new Taiwan-themed subway cars with the host of the Chinese language New Tang Dynasty Television show "A Laowai's View of China & Taiwan," Ben Hedges, New Yorkers of all ages had strong words of praise for the colorful and whimsical designs, and expressed their interested in traveling to Taiwan in the future.

For the month of October, New York Subway trains along the S-Line between Times Square and Grand Central Station have been decorated in a Taiwanese theme, including laughing faces of Taiwan’s smiling indigenous people, Hakka floral fabric, flying fish, sky lanterns, old streets, and "rattan" chairs, among other elements.

Exterior with laughing Taiwanese aborigines. (CNA image)

When asked what they thought of the new design, a couple riding an S-Line train told Hedges, "Love it. I think it is really conducive to happiness. It's very upbeat and happy, and I think people feel upbeat when they come and see this." Another man said, "I think it's beautiful, I think it's really bright. I love the pink colors, it's almost like a little bit of magenta, and makes it a cheery subway."

In the video, Hsu Li-wen (徐儷文), head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, said that there are over 1.7 billion rides recorded on the New York Subway system each year and such a high number of travelers is quite suitable for selling Taiwan. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau spent more than three months and exchanged more than 300 emails with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to develop the design for the special interiors and exteriors, according to the report.

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau invited Taiwanese designer Chiang Meng-chih (江孟芝), a winner of both the German Red Dot Design Award and International Design Awards (IDA), to create the overall design for the subway cars. In the video, Chiang said that the smiling faces of Taiwanese aborigines were created by Taiwanese artist Yosifu of the Amis Tribe.

Hakka floral pattern in interior. (Image from FB user Alice Wu)

Throughout both the exterior and interior, the train is painted a bright fuchsia, referred to by Chiang as "Taiwan Red," which the designer said is used on many festive occasions in Taiwan symbolizing "celebration, auspiciousness, and blessing."

"Rattan chairs" with "Sanxing green onions." (Image from FB user Alice Wu)

When Hedges asked several passengers if the ad made them want to visit Taiwan, they all answered affirmatively:

"This would make me want to go to Taiwan."

"Yeah it kind of does. I wish I could go right now, right?"

"I would love to visit, yeah, absolutely. If it's as beautiful as this subway, I hope I get there before I die."