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Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority,[3] a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also known as MTA New York City Transit. The New York City Subway trails only the metro systems of Tokyo, Moscow and Seoul in annual ridership and carries more passengers than all other rail mass transit systems in the United States combined.
Subway stations are located throughout the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. A demonstration for an underground transit system in New York City was first built by Alfred Ely Beach in 1869.
The first underground line of the subway opened on October 27, 1904, almost 35 years after the opening of the first elevated line in New York City, which became the IRT Ninth Avenue Line. By the time the first subway opened, the lines had been consolidated into two privately owned systems, Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT, later Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation, BMT) and Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT).
In 1940, the two private systems were bought by the city; some elevated lines closed immediately, and others closed soon after. The New York City Transit Authority was created in 1953 to take over subway, bus, and streetcar operations from the city, and was placed under control of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1968. In 1934, the BRT, IRT, and IND transit workers unionized into Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union. When the IRT subway debuted in 1904, typical tunnel construction was the cut-and cover method. About 40% of the "subway" actually runs on surface or elevated tracks including steel or cast iron elevated structures, concrete viaducts, embankments, open cuts and surface routes. Many rapid transit systems run relatively static routings, so that a train "line" is more or less synonymous with a train "route".
On older subway cars, such as the R32's, roll signs indicate its northern terminus first on top, and the trains southern terminus is displayed on the lower part of the roll sign.
Though all but two subway stations are served on a 24-hour basis, some of the designated routes do not run during the late night hours or use a different routing during those hours. The current official transit maps of the New York City Subway are based on a 1979 design by Michael Hertz Associates. Part of the reason for the current incarnation is that earlier diagrams of NYC Subway (the first being produced in 1958), while perhaps being more aesthetically pleasing, had the perception of being geographically inaccurate. There are several privately produced schematics which are available online or in published form, such as those by Hagstrom Map.
A typical subway station has waiting platforms ranging from 500 to 600 feet (150 to 180 m) long to accommodate large numbers of people.
At the top of most of the system's subway stations sits a lamppost or two bearing a colored spherical lamp.
Due to the large number of transit lines, one platform or set of platforms often serves more than one service (unlike other rapid transit systems, including the Paris Metro but like some lines on the London Underground). For most 3- or 4-track express stops, there will be two island platforms, one for the local and express in one direction, and another for the local and express in the other direction.
In a few cases, a 4-track station has an island platform for the center express tracks and two side platforms for the outside local tracks.
Many stations are decorated with intricate ceramic tile work, some of it dating back to 1904 when the subway first opened for business. The Crown Heights – Utica Avenue station is one of a group of stations that became accessible after station reconstruction. Since the majority of the system was built before 1990, the year the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) went into effect, New York City Subway stations were not designed to be handicapped-accessible.
Since 1987, MTA has sponsored the Music Under New York program in which street musicians enter a competitive contest to be assigned the preferred high traffic locations, example - 42nd Street station. At present, more than 100 soloists and groups participate in MUNY providing over 150 weekly performances at 25 locations throughout the transit system. Newspaper stands are occasionally found on some platforms, selling all manner of items including newspapers and food. Rapid transit and rail connections are available at designated stations to Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road, AirTrain JFK, Metro-North Railroad, New Jersey Transit and PATH. The Interborough Rapid Transit Subway, or IRT, was the first subway company in New York City. The construction of the IRT is well documented in this 1904 commemorative book honoring the opening of New York's first subway. The public's reaction to the new line; the coverage in the New York Times of the opening events tries to describe the subway's effects on the people of the city. New York City's Chamber of Commerce published this summary of the work of the Rapid Transit Commission in building the first subway. This 1918 book by James Blaine Walker details the politics behind the development of New York's elevated lines, its first subway, and the Dual Contracts. A collection of news items pertaining to the subway contracts and commencement of construction, from Engineering News and American Railway Journal, January-June 1900. The New York Times account of the groundbreaking festivities and the exuberance of the crowd that witnessed the event firsthand.
Three short articles from Scientific American in 1901 about the various construction efforts of the "rapid transit tunnel".
Another 1902 article from Century Magazine, this one by the associate editor of Engineering Record, details some difficult construction techniques.

This article from Century Magazine describes the state of subway construction in the fall of 1902. This paper presented to the Municipal Engineers of New York City by the IRT's deputy chief engineer George S.
Technical instructions to Interborough motormen about the operations of the air brakes, electrical equipment, and train operations. Reports from the New York Times, Scientific American, and Electric Railway Journal describing the construction, outfitting, and capabilities of the subway's power plant.
A summary of the politics and design of the new subway, from October, 1904 issue of The Independent magazine. An article from the September, 1904, Review which outlines the effects of rapid transit on New York City's housing patterns. A brief overview of the motorman instruction car and safety training efforts for employees of the new subway, from August 1904, Scientific American. Article from Harper's Weekly about the artistic decoration of the subway stations; illustrated with engravings. The IRT subway had not even opened yet when this set of new route proposals was floated to the Rapid Transit Commission in February, 1904. Ray Stannard Baker's overview of the political machinations that lead up to the construction of the subway, from McClure's Magazine, March 1905.
A short feature from the April, 1911 Interborough Bulletin detailing operations with new ten-car trains.
A 1914 article in the Interborough Bulletin offers a retrospective of the first ten years of subway operation.
Two Electric Railway Journal reports on a campaign by the IRT to solicit suggestions and complaints from passengers. Installation of turnstiles on the Lexington Avenue line reduces crowding at the fare gates. Rapid Transit Board diagrams of the stations of the IRT subway from the Battery to 96th Street. Officially licensed by the MTA, this poster by Alex Daly and Hamish Smyth features all 468 station signs of the New York City Subway.
Early-bird prices extended for rest of registration period for the Brand Nieuwe Conference in Amsterdam on June 20 a€“ 21. Brand New, is a division of UnderConsideration, displaying opinions, and focusing solely, on corporate and brand identity work. UnderConsideration is a graphic design firm generating its own projects, initiatives, and content while taking on limited client work. All services pass through Manhattan, except for the Franklin Avenue Shuttle in Brooklyn, the Rockaway Park Shuttle in Queens, and the Brooklyn–Queens Crosstown Local connecting Brooklyn and Queens only. These lines have three or four tracks: normally, the outer two are used for local trains, and the inner one or two are used for express trains. The heavy 1888 snowstorm helped illustrate the benefits of an underground transportation system. The city was closely involved: all lines built for the IRT and most other lines built or improved for the BRT after 1913 were built by the city and leased to the companies. Integration was slow, but several connections were built between the IND and BMT, and they now operate as one division called the B Division. All of these construction methods are completely grade-separated from road and pedestrian crossings, and most crossings of two subway tracks are grade-separated with flying junctions. In New York, routings change often as new connections are opened or service patterns change.
Each route has its own color designation, representing the Manhattan trunk line of the particular service, and is labeled as local or express. In addition to these regularly scheduled changes, because there is no nightly system shutdown for maintenance, tracks and stations must be maintained while the system is operating. Raleigh D'Adamo, a lawyer who entered a contest sponsored by the Transit Authority in 1964. The maps are relatively (though not entirely) geographically accurate, with the major exception of Staten Island, the size of which has been greatly reduced. Passengers enter a subway station through stairs towards station booths and vending machines to buy their fare, which is currently stored in a MetroCard. Before the introduction of the MetroCard in 1994, these lights indicated the station's availability. A passenger needs to look at the signs hung at the platform entrance steps and over each track to see which trains stop there and when, and at the arriving train to see which train it is. On a 2-track line, a station may have one center platform used for trains in both directions, or 2 side platforms, one for a train in each direction. In a 3-track configuration, the center track can be used toward the center of the city in the morning and away from the center in the evening, though not every 3-track line has that express service. This occurs only at three stations near major railway stations where the next station along the line is also an express station with the more common platform configuration. Since then, elevators have been built in newly constructed stations to comply with the ADA.
Each year applications are reviewed and approximately 70 eligible performers are selected and contacted to participate in live auditions, held for one day. In addition, performance is prohibited during public service announcements, and may be no louder than 85 dBA at 5 feet away or 70 dBa at 2 feet from a token booth.

Most establishments built in the past have since been closed to the public and have been converted to storage spaces or for employee use only. The MTA has also installed retail spaces within paid areas in selected stations, including the station concourses of the Times Square complex and the Sixth Avenue concourse at 42nd Street – Bryant Park. Even with elevated train lines springing up around the city, the need for an underground rapid transit railroad was obvious as a solution to street congestion and to assist development in outlying areas. It includes construction diagrams, photographs, and a full accounting of the infrastructure of the IRT subway. Includes 38 construction photos, illustrations, and maps, as well as the opening day timetable, facts & figures, and more. It also includes an overview of the state of rapid transit in other major cities (22 chapters, 68 illustrations).
McDonald reports on the status of the subway construction, from a 1902 issue of Munsey's Magazine. The proposals include lines on Lexington and 8th Avenue, and an "H" system similar to that later implemented by the Dual Contracts. The oldest structure still in use today opened in 1885 as part of the Lexington Avenue Line, and is now part of the BMT Jamaica Line in Brooklyn. Since the IRT tunnel segments are too small and stations are too narrow to accommodate B Division cars, and contain curves too sharp for B Division cars, the IRT remains its own division, A Division. The "line" describes the physical railroad track or series of tracks that a train "route" uses on its way from one terminal to another.
A separate color is exclusively assigned to the Crosstown Line route, since it operates entirely outside Manhattan; the shuttles are all assigned dark gray. In order to accommodate such work, services are sometimes re-routed during the overnight hours or on weekends. D'Adamo proposed replacing a map that used only three colors (representing the three operating entities of the subway network) with a map that used a different color for each line. This causes them to appear, in the eyes of some observers, as unnecessarily cluttered and unwieldy compared to the more traditional type of plan used for most urban rail and metro maps; a schematic, or diagram. A green lamp meant that the station was open and running 24 hours a day, a yellow lamp meant that it was open only during the day, while a red lamp meant that it was an exit only.
For a 3-track or 4-track line, local stops will have side platforms and the middle one or two tracks will not stop at the station. The purpose of splitting the platforms is to prevent through riders from adding to the station's crowding by transferring from local to express or from express to local. This is a First Amendment right, and is part of the MTA policies: The New York City Transit (NYCT) is a subdivision of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) that operates the city's subways and buses.
On October 27, 1904, the first IRT subway line opened, and the city would never be the same. The BMT Jamaica Line uses skip-stop service on portions, whereby two services operate over the line during rush hours and certain stations are only served by one of the two. The oldest right-of-way, that of the BMT West End Line, was in use in 1863 as a steam railroad called the Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island Rail Road. On December 20, 2005, transit workers again went on strike over disputes with MTA regarding salary, pensions, retirement age, and health insurance costs. They are also designations for trains, as exemplified in the Billy Strayhorn song Take the "A" Train.) This terminology is also used to a loose extent in the Taipei Rapid Transit System. D'Adamo's contest entry shared first place with two others and led the Transit Authority to adopt a multi-colored scheme. The map is recognized, however, with helping tourists navigate the city, as major city streets are shown alongside the subway stations serving them. Some subway lines in the outer boroughs and northern Manhattan have elevated tracks with stations to which passengers climb up via stairs, escalator, or elevator. In addition, commissioned art displayed in stations and "art cards", some displaying poetry, are in many of the trains themselves in unused advertisement fixture slots. The 125th Street in Manhattan restroom was closed due to repeated destruction of facilities. The Staten Island Railway, which opened in 1860, currently utilizes R44 subway cars, but it has no links to the rest of the system and is not usually considered part of the subway proper.
For these reasons, the New York Subway is perhaps the most complex metro system in the world.
Restrooms also exist in Brooklyn at 36th Street, Atlantic Avenue – Pacific Street, Church Avenue, DeKalb Avenue, Kings Highway, Sheepshead Bay, and Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue.
Almost everywhere expresses run, they run on the inner one (of 3) or two (of 4) tracks, and locals run on the outer two tracks. There is one notable 6-track station, DeKalb Avenue, where trains to or from the Manhattan Bridge either stop at the outer tracks of one of the island platforms ("local tracks"), or pass through the station on the middle tracks ("super express tracks"). Trains to or from the Montague Street Tunnel stop across the platform from the respective outer track ("express tracks").

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