PARK SLOPE — A bear, turtle and deer have moved into the empty retail spaces at the Fourth Avenue-Ninth Street subway station.
The animals aren't a wildlife infestation, they're part of an art installation the MTA recently added to brighten up the six vacant storefronts outside the station's Fourth Avenue entrances.
The MTA plans to issue a request for proposals to fill the six retail spaces by the end of the year and the art will stay until the stores are occupied, an MTA spokeswoman said. Local artist Francesco Simeti created the landscape scenes.
The Park Slope Civic Council requested the art installation at a February meeting where MTA representatives updated the community on upgrades at the station.
The agency paid for the $4,000 art installation and unveiled it with no fanfare or announcement in mid-September, said S.J. Avery, co-chair of the Park Slope Civic Council's Forth on Fourth committee, which works to beautify the avenue and improve the subway station.
"We think the art is very lovely," Avery said. "We’re glad they lived up to their agreement."
Since the February meeting, the MTA has made other improvements at the station including adding more "you are here" maps and improving interior lighting.
But the Civic Council has a list of other improvements it wants at the station. Elevators for disabled riders are a top priority, but that won't happen any time soon because the station isn't on the MTA's list of 100 "key stations" where elevators are being installed.
In addition to elevators, the Civic Council wants the MTA to install better lighting beneath the elevated section of the station that crosses Fourth Avenue.
Right now the area is shadowy, which makes it feel unwelcoming, and also makes it hard to see the new art installation, Avery said.
The MTA is "working on" plans to install new lighting beneath the elevated section, a spokeswoman said.