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kottke.org posts about subway

The NYC subway exits into a Brooklyn townhouse

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 22, 2011

Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG took some photos yesterday of a curious townhouse in Brooklyn Heights.

Fake Subway Townhouse

Curious in that the facade is 100% NYC rowhouse but it’s actually a secret subway exit. Here it is one Google Maps.

Subway waltz

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 03, 2011

Two NYC subway trains dancing down the tunnels…what a charming little video.

(via ★leela)

NYC subway exits into buildings

posted by Jason Kottke   May 25, 2011

Noah Brier (and his commenters) are collecting NYC subway stations that open into buildings…like the BC stop that exits right into the Museum of Natural History.

Graffiti is a crime

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 28, 2011

From the NYC transit authority, a 1988 video about the consequences of painting graffiti in the subway.

Intense! (via ★vuokko)

Musical subway map

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 31, 2011

Alexander Chen made a version of the NYC subway map that plays music as the trains intersect routes.

At www.mta.me, Conductor turns the New York subway system into an interactive string instrument. Using the MTA’s actual subway schedule, the piece begins in realtime by spawning trains which departed in the last minute, then continues accelerating through a 24 hour loop. The visuals are based on Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 diagram.

Check out the full version; there are more details here. See also Isle of Tune. (via about 20 people on Twitter just now)

A tour of the abandoned Paris Metro

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 23, 2010

sleepycity has tons of photos of some old trains and abandoned Paris Metro stations and tunnels.

Old Paris Metro sign

(via @bldgblog)

The sweaty glass of the Tokyo subway

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 09, 2010

From photographer Michael Wolf — you might remember his Architecture of Density or 100x100 projects — a collection of photos of people pressed against fogged-up Tokyo subway windows.

Michael Wolf Tokyo

(via coudal)

The subway announcement lady

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 15, 2010

A profile of the woman who does the announcements — the ones you can actually understand — for the NYC subway. Since becoming “the voice”, she hasn’t actually ridden the subway.

On the telephone, her voice does not have quite as much oomph as it does on the subway. “My husband says he doesn’t hear the nice voice as often as he’d like,” she said.

But the nice voice cannot be disobeyed. Before 9/11, when they lived in Louisville, Ky., he drove to the airport to pick up her. He was early. He parked right in front of the terminal. He could hear her on the public-address system, saying no one was supposed to park there.

A traffic officer came along and said he had to follow the voice’s orders.

Her husband said, “I don’t listen to that voice at home; I’m not going to listen to it here.”

NYC subway photos, 1917-present

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 22, 2010

Slideshow of almost 100 years of photography of the NYC subway system by the NY Times.

NYC Subway 1940

The caption for the photo above reads:

1940: In a view north from 106th Street, only the supports of the old Ninth Avenue elevated line remained as the push to go underground continued.

NYC transportation event

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 14, 2010

This week’s Geeking Out, Gelf Magazine’s nerdy event series, is all about NYC transportation.

The evening will feature Benjamin Kabak (Gelf interview), author of popular subway blog Second Avenue Sagas discussing the MTA; Sharon Zukin (Gelf interview), author of Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places, on gentrification; and Charles Komanoff (Gelf interview), creator of the Balanced Transportation Analyzer, discussing how to optimize the city’s transportation network.

Free. Sept 16, 7:30p in Dumbo. Click through for more details.

Job opening: NYC transit map designer

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 09, 2010

The MTA in NYC is looking for someone to keep their transit maps fresh.

As part of a two-person team, the incumbent of this position is responsible for the design and timely updating of NYCT’s printed and online map products, including the extensive service schedule panels on the reverse side of all “pocket” bus maps; researching and responding to map design and information issues; identifying, researching, recommending, and adapting evolving map drawing and production technologies; adapting Transit’s map products to the agency website and providing modified products for third party publications; advising on or producing custom maps for major agency initiatives and proposals; advising and assisting on other product design, graphics technology procurements and related staff training for all graphics services in Marketing and Service Information.

This has to be some kottke.org reader’s dream job…go get it!

Redesigning the NYC subway map

posted by Aaron Cohen   Aug 04, 2010

In a long excerpt from O’Reilly’s recent book “Beautiful Visualization”, KickMap designer Eddie Jabbour talks about his process for redesigning the NYC Subway map.

While I felt that it was important to show certain shapes aboveground, I also felt that it was important to leave out certain pieces of belowground information. There are several places where the subway tunnels cross and overlap each other beneath the surface. This may be important information for city workers or utility companies trying to make repairs, but for the average commuter, showing these interactions just creates visual noise. I tried to reduce that noise by cleanly separating the lines on the map so they don’t overlap. Consider the different depictions of the 4 line and the 5 line in the Bronx; sure, the MTA’s paths may be accurate, but they’re also confusing, and riders don’t really need to see those particular details to understand where they’re going.

(Via @TheJames)

Making of the Moscow Metro map

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 17, 2010

A lovely visual look at redesigning the map for the Moscow Metro. (thx, matt)

New NYC subway map

posted by Jason Kottke   May 28, 2010

Next month, the MTA will release a new subway map. The NY Times has a look at the new map.

The new subway map makes Manhattan even bigger, reduces Staten Island and continues to buck the trend of the angular maps once used here and still preferred in many other major cities. Detailed information on bus connections that was added in 1998 has been considerably shortened.

Manhattan will be shown on the map as nearly twice as wide as in real life. Cut back on the chili-cheese fries, my friend!

Harry Beck’s US Interstate map

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 12, 2009

Map of the US Interstate system in the style of the London Tube map.

US Interstate Tube map

Go large for detail. (via coudal)

A three-year-old’s view of the NYC subway

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 22, 2009

Simple NYC subway map

This was my present to my nephew for his 3rd birthday. He loves, loves, loves the subway so my sister asked me if I could make a custom map with all the places that mean something to him on the poster.

Best viewed a bit large.

Update: There’s been a bit of confusion…this is not something that I made. I don’t even have a nephew.

Update: The subway map was made by Erin Jang.

Subway yearbook?

posted by Ainsley Drew   Sep 28, 2009

A recent Improv Everywhere endeavor had a photo booth set up in a New York subway car. They told riders that the MTA had hired them to take photographs of every person who used the subway, and that there would be a yearbook at the end of the year. The result was one interesting, if misinformed, class.

What if you got rid of the NYC subway?

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 10, 2009

You’d need the equivalent of a 228-lane Brooklyn Bridge to move all those people into Manhattan during Monday morning rush hour.

At best, it would take 167 inbound lanes, or 84 copies of the Queens Midtown Tunnel, to carry what the NYC Subway carries over 22 inbound tracks through 12 tunnels and 2 (partial) bridges. At worst, 200 new copies of 5th Avenue. Somewhere in the middle would be 67 West Side Highways or 76 Brooklyn Bridges. And this neglects the Long Island Railroad, Metro North, NJ Transit, and PATH systems entirely.

Kinda puts the subway in perspective, doesn’t it? And don’t miss the map at the bottom that shows the size of the parking lots needed for all those cars.

NY transit and traffic status on Twitter

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 27, 2009

Get traffic and transit updates for NY on Twitter…including NYC subway lines! There are separate accounts for the 123, ACE, JMZ, 456, BDFV, LS, 7, G, and NQRW. (via @bobulate)

Update: @NYCtrains also does NYC subway updates. (thx, pierre)

NYC subway prewalking aid

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 07, 2009

Exit Strategy NYC is an iPhone app that tells you where to get on the subway train so as to be in an optimal position when you get off.

Taking the 1 train uptown to 28th street? Get on right behind the middle conductor. Need to transfer to the L at Union Square from the N downtown? Ride in the 1st car. Detailed diagrams eliminate the guesswork and frustration from your ride, making your subway trip easier and faster.

See also prewalking. (via @dens)

Update: The Times writes 650+ words on an app that calculates prewalking coordinates but doesn’t use the word “prewalking”.

Update: Exit Strategy NYC has been updated to include every stop in the subway system and subway entry points.

MTA selling subway station naming rights

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 24, 2009

The MTA is trying to sell the naming rights to the Atlantic Ave subway stop in Brooklyn to Barclays, a London bank. If approved, other rights may be sold as well. Yes, let’s make the NYC subway even more confusing than it already is, although I’m sure the MTA will come up with some reason that cramming “Domino’s® Breadbowl Pasta™ Station” onto a map makes more sense than “23rd Street”.

On the other hand, a casual study of the NYC subway map reveals the following brand names already in use:

Rockefeller Center
Columbia University
JFK Airport
Museum of Natural History
Lincoln Center
Hunter College
Yankee Stadium
Aqueduct Racetrack
Times Square
Herald Square
NY Aquarium
World Trade Center
Brooklyn Museum
Mets

But, without exception, station names are derived from nearby landmarks: streets, airports, schools, stadiums, squares, parks, etc.

Triptrop

posted by Jason Kottke   May 14, 2009

I really like the subway travel time heatmaps on Triptrop NYC.

Triptrop

Put in an address and you get a map of how far away everything is using the subway. 15 minutes, forty minutes, two hours — all set up with nice little colors. That’s pretty easy, I think. Triptrop can help you find a convenient place to live. It’s also a nice way to tell your friend to stop inviting you to the purple part of the Bronx, or to prove that the G isn’t actually that bad.

(via fake is the new real)

NYC subway ridership trends mapped

posted by Jason Kottke   May 08, 2009

Mike Frumin took the NYC subway ridership data from all the way back to 1905 (!!) and graphed it on a map, with a sparkline of the ridership data for each stop. Frumin explains the project a little more here.

The result, after much whacking, is, I think, compelling, but you’ll have to see for yourself. The general idea it that the history of subway ridership tells a story about the history of a neighborhood that is much richer than the overall trend. An example, below, shows the wild comeback of inner Williamsburg, and how the growth decays at each successive stop away from Manhattan on the L train.

Update: Here’s another representation of the same data. In this one, the ridership numbers are represented by the thickness of the subway line.

Suck my Manhattan!

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 20, 2009

If you don’t like this re-imagined NYC subway map, I’ll kick you in the Brooklyn. Somewhat NSFW. (via illustration art)

Who rides the M8 bus?

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 02, 2009

Miranda Purves and Jason Logan recently surveyed a bunch of riders of bus and subway lines that the MTA is attempting to eliminate because of a budget crisis. Don’t miss the associated PDF. Related: London tube seat hierarchy and morning subway demographics.

Subway art gallery opening

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 18, 2009

Improv Everywhere turned the 23rd Street C/E subway platform into an art gallery opening, complete with a cellist, sparkling drinks, signs explaining the “art”, and a coat check. An explanatory sign placed near a drain read:

Drain (1975)
MTA and unknown artists
Mixed Media on Metal and Concrete

Describing the irresistibility of natural urges, and situated thematically near the restroom, this drainage grate offers deliverance. Consequently, here lies an indeliable yellow nitrogen stain, as evidence of the passings of hundreds, if not thousands of strained commuters. Each straphanger, surreptitiously seeking relief, has helped create this totally organic, revolutionary art piece.

Harry Beck Paris Metro map

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 12, 2009

Harry Beck, designer of the iconic London Tube map, once took a crack at a map for the Paris Metro, but his effort was rejected for being too geometric.

So why did the Paris Metro (now operated by the RATP) reject Beck’s clear simplification of their beloved system? One reason is visible at each station entrance; Parisians use the maps here as a free public service to help them find their way round the city - the ubiquitous geographic wall map is more than just a Metro plan.

Pervert trains (chikan densha)

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 10, 2009

At the Shibuya Pink Girl’s Club in Tokyo, men pay upwards of $130 to grope the girl of their choice on a simulated subway train.

The connoisseur picks out from the menu the girl of his choice, dressed either as a schoolgirl or office receptionist. This girl then beckons him through the window of a mock-up train carriage, which not only broadcasts station announcements, but even shakes and rattles.

Real-life incidents of subway train groping are on the decline, in part because more women are reporting them and the subway offering women-only cars during peak times.

Heart-shaped NYC subway map

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 19, 2008

A beautiful heart-shaped map of the NYC subway system is among the several such maps done by a pair of Korean graphic designers calling themselves Zero Per Zero.

Heart NYC Subway Map

A portable map version is available for sale, but the shipping cost from Korea to the US is a bit steep.

1905 subway ride

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 11, 2008

Here’s a video from 1905 of a NYC subway car going from 14th Street to 42nd Street. It’s funny to see all the men in suits and hats running for the train…it takes some of the formality out what seems from photographs to be a more dignified time. Also, anyone know what line/train this is?

Update: The inbox consensus seems clustered around the opinion that this train is running on the contemporary 4/5/6 line. Here’s a 1904 map which shows the then-IRT line in question (in red). At 42nd St, the line runs crosstown to Times Square and then up the 1/2/3. (thx jason et al.)