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The word derives from the Latin word graffito meaning a scribbling or etching on a flat surface.
There's an abundance of web sites that tackle the subject of what graffiti is and what it is not. The 50's ushered in a new form of graffiti appropriately coined "shithouse poetry" or latrinalia; writings of bathroom walls. Back-in-the-day or old school are contemporary terms used by graffiti writers when describing the golden era of "Nu Yawk Style Graffiti" (mid-70's through early-80's).
While I can only speak for myself, graffiti was a way of expressing one's existence: "Hey, look world. Using the subway lines as a moving canvas, graffiti writers not only expanded the realms of their identities but their own creativity levels as well. A 1968 map produced by the Irving Trust Company displayed the PATH Tubes, and stations represented with black dots, but did not include labels containing station names. Bringing it back, and improving how PATH is represented, will give 1.8 billion annual transit riders a more complete picture of rail rapid transit service in the urban core of New York and New Jersey. Historically, geographically, and commercially New York and the industrial district in the northern part of the state of New Jersey constitute a single community. THE selection of route for the Subway was governed largely by the amount which the city was authorized by the Rapid Transit Act to spend.
The routes proposed by the Rapid Transit Board in 1895, after municipal ownership had been approved by the voters at the fall election of 1894, contemplated the occupation of Broadway below 34th Street to the Battery, and extended only to 185th Street on the west side, and 146th Street on the east side of the city. It had been clear from the beginning that no routes could be laid out to which no abutting property owners would consent, and that the consent of the Court as an alternative would be necessary to any routes chosen. Subsequently, by the adoption of the Brooklyn Extension, the line was extended down Broadway to the southern extremity of Manhattan Island, thence under the East River to Brooklyn.
Beginning near the intersection of Broadway and Park Row, one of the routes of the railroad extends under Park Row, Center Street, New Elm Street, Elm Street, Lafayette Place, Fourth Avenue (beginning at Astor Place), Park Avenue, 42d Street, and Broadway to 125th Street, where it passes over Broadway by viaduct to 133d Street, thence under Broadway again to and under Eleventh Avenue to Fort George, where it comes to the surface again at Dyckman Street, and continues by viaduct over Naegle Avenue, Amsterdam Avenue, and Broadway to Bailey Avenue, at the Kingsbridge Station of the New York & Putnam Railroad, crossing the Harlem Ship Canal on a double-deck drawbridge.
Another route begins at Broadway near 103d Street and extends under 104th Street and the upper part of Central Park to and under Lenox Avenue to 142d Street, thence curving to the east to and under the Harlem River at about 145th Street, thence from the river to and under East 149th Street to a point near Third Avenue, thence by viaduct beginning at Brook Avenue over Westchester Avenue, the Southern Boulevard, and the Boston Road to Bronx Park. The route of the Brooklyn Extension connects near Broadway and Park Row with the Manhattan-Bronx Route and extends under Broadway, Bowling Green, State Street, Battery Park, Whitehall Street, and South Street, to and under the East River to Brooklyn at the foot of Joralemon Street, thence under Joralemon Street, Fulton Street, and Flatbush Avenue to Atlantic Avenue, connecting with the Brooklyn tunnel of the Long Island Rail Road at this point.
The routes in Manhattan and The Bronx may therefore be said to roughly resemble the letter Y with the base at the southern extremity of Manhattan, the fork at 103d Street and Broadway, the terminus of the westerly or Fort George Branch of the fork just beyond Spuyten Duyvil Creek, the terminus of the easterly or Bronx Park branch at Bronx Park. The stations beginning at the base of the Y and following the route up to the fork are located at the following points. One Hundred and Third Street and Broadway, 110th Street and Broadway (Cathedral Parkway), 116th Street and Broadway (Columbia University), Manhattan Street (near 128th Street) and Broadway, 137th Street and Broadway, 145th Street and Broadway, 157th Street and Broadway, the intersection of 168th Street, St. One Hundred and Tenth Street and Lenox Avenue, 116th Street and Lenox Avenue, 125th Street and Lenox Avenue, 135th Street and Lenox Avenue, 145th Street and Lenox Avenue (spur), Mott Avenue and 149th Street, the intersection of 149th Street, Melrose, and Third Avenues, Jackson and Westchester Avenues, Prospect and Westchester Avenues, Westchester Avenue near Southern Boulevard (Fox Street), Freeman Street and the Southern Boulevard, intersection of 174th Street, Southern Boulevard and Boston Road, 177th Street and Boston Road (near Bronx Park).
Joralemon Street near Court (Brooklyn Borough Hall), intersection of Fulton, Bridge, and Hoyt Streets, Flatbush Avenue near Nevins Street, Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue (Brooklyn terminal of the Long Island Rail Road). There is a storage yard under Broadway between 137th Street and 145th Street on the Fort George Branch, another on the surface at the end of the Lenox Avenue spur, Lenox Avenue and 148th Street, and a third on an elevated structure at the Boston Road and 178th Street.
The total length of the Brooklyn Extension is 3.1 miles, with about 8 miles of single track.
The total curvature is equal in length to 23 per cent of the straight line, and the least radius of the curvature is 147 feet. Photograph on page 26 shows an interesting feature at a local station, where, in order to obtain the quick acceleration in grade for local trains, and at the same time maintain a level grade for the express service, the tracks are constructed at a different level. On the Brooklyn Extension, the maximum grade is 3.1 per cent, descending from the ends to the center of the East River tunnel. The track is of the usual standard construction with broken stone ballast, timber cross ties, and 100-pound rails of the American Society of Civil Engineers' section. The contract for the building of the road contains the following somewhat unusual provision: "The railway and its equipment as contemplated by the contract constitute a great public work. It may be said with exact truthfulness that the builders have spared no effort or expense to live up to the spirit of this provision, and that all parts of the road and equipment display dignified and consistent artistic effects of the highest order. Of the forty-eight stations, thirty-three are underground, eleven are on the viaduct portions of the road, and three are partly on the surface and partly underground, and one is partly on the surface and partly on the viaduct.
The underground stations are at the street intersections, and, except in a few instances, occupy space under the cross streets. At all local stations (except at 110th and Lenox Avenue), the platforms are on the outside of the tracks.


At express stations there are two island platforms between the express and local tracks, one for uptown and one for downtown traffic. The island platforms at Brooklyn Bridge, 14th Street, and 42d Street and Madison Avenue are reached by mezzanine footways from the local platforms, it having been impossible to place entrances in the streets immediately over the platforms. At 72d Street, at 103d Street, and at 116th Street and Broadway, the station platforms are below the surface, but the ticket booths and toilet rooms are on the surface; this arrangement being possible also because of the park area available in the streets.
The entrances to the underground stations are enclosed by kiosks of cast iron and wire glass (photograph on page 33), and vary in number from two to eight at a station.
At twenty of the underground stations it has been possible to use vault lights to such an extent that very little artificial light is needed. Two types of ceiling are used, one flat, which covers the steel and concrete of the roof, and the other arched between the roof beams and girders, the lower flanges of which are exposed. The ceilings are separated into panels by wide ornamental mouldings, and the panels are decorated with narrower mouldings and rosettes.
An example of the care used to obtain artistic effects can be seen at the City Hall station.
Editors Note: Additional photos from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection have been added to this document where appropriate. The Streetwise NYC Subway map  is one of the greatest maps you can own for navigating around Manhattan. The reverse side of the NYC subway map has a color coded bus map featuring major Manhattan bus routes.
Here, in chronological order, a roundup of historical, replicas and future iterations of the New York City subway map. A look back in an attempt to shed some light on how I arrived at this realization and I invite you along for the ride.
In ancient Rome, critical commentaries were written on public walls so others may become aware of their protests. Psychologists, criminologists, and college professors have lectured, written reports, and done surveys but first-hand knowledge is something they missed out on. GI's across Europe were finding the repetitive markings of a mysterious individual who wrote Kilroy was here wherever he had been. The main object of the road was to carry to and from their homes in the upper portions of Manhattan Island the great army of workers who spend the business day in the offices, shops, and warehouses of the lower portions, and it was therefore obvious that the general direction of the routes must be north and south, and that the line must extend as nearly as possible from one end of the island to the other. As has been told in the introductory chapter, this plan was rejected by the Supreme Court because of the probable cost of going under Broadway. To conform as nearly as possible to the views of the Court, the Commission proposed, in 1897, the so-called "Elm Street route," the plan finally adopted, which reached from the territory near the General Post-office, the City Hall, and Brooklyn Bridge Terminal to Kingsbridge and the station of the New York & Putnam Railroad on the upper west side, and to Bronx Park on the upper east side of the city, touching the Grand Central Depot at 42d Street. Nicholas Avenue and Broadway, 181st Street and Eleventh Avenue, Dyckman Street and Naegle Avenue (beyond Fort George), 207th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, 215th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Muscoota Street and Broadway, Bailey Avenue, at Kingsbridge near the New York & Putnam Railroad station. On the Fort George branch (including 103d Street station) there are three tracks to 154th Street and then two tracks to Dyckman Street, then three tracks again to the terminus at Bailey Avenue. There is a repair shop and inspection shed on the surface adjoining the Lenox Avenue spur at the Harlem River and 148-150th Streets, and an inspection shed in the storage yard at Boston Road and 178th Street.
The greatest grade is 3 per cent, and occurs on either side of the tunnel under the Harlem River.
These are noticeable in the power house and the electrical sub-stations and particularly in the passenger stations. The station plans are necessarily varied to suit the conditions of the different locations, the most important factor in planning them having been the amount of available space. In addition, there are the usual local platforms at Brooklyn Bridge, 14th Street (photograph on page 34) and 96th Street.
At 96th Street there is an underground passage connecting the local and island platforms, and at 72d Street, there are entrances to the island platforms directly from the street because there is a park area in the middle of the street.
At Manhattan Street, the platforms are on the viaduct, but the ticket booths and toilet rooms are on the surface. Such artificial light as is required is supplied by incandescent lamps sunk in the ceilings. Both types have an air space between ceiling and roof, which, together with the air space between the inner side walls, permits air to circulate and minimizes condensation on the surface of the ceiling and walls. With the purchase of this map for a $1.95 you will be equipped to travel the length and breadth of Manhattan with the confidence of a native New Yorker. Straphanger is the nickname for a standing subway or bus passenger who grips a hanging strap (nowadays an overhead triangular bar) for support.


Until the 1940s, the subway was run by three competing companies: Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT), Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT), and the Independent Subway (IND). It was also intimated by the Court, in rejecting the routes, that the road should extend further north. There is a spur at Westchester and Third Avenues connecting by viaduct the Manhattan Elevated Division of Interborough Rapid Transit Company with the viaduct of the subway at or near St. On the Bronx Park branch there are two tracks to Brook Avenue, and from that point to Bronx Park there are three tracks. At each station there is a down grade of 2.1 per cent, to assist in the acceleration of the cars when they start. It might readily have been supposed that the limited space and comparative uniformity of the underground stations would afford but little opportunity for architectural and decorative effects.
The platforms are from 200 to 350 feet in length, and about 16 feet in width, narrowing at the ends, while the center space is larger or smaller, according to local conditions. At the remaining express stations, 42d Street and Madison Avenue and 72d Street, there are no local platforms outside of the tracks, local and through traffic using the island platforms. Local passengers can transfer from express trains and express passengers from local trains without payment of additional fare by stepping across the island platforms. At 168th Street, and 181st Street, and at Mott Avenue, where the platforms are from 90 to 100 feet below the surface, elevators are provided.
Provision has been made for using the track circuit for lighting in emergency if the regular lighting circuit should temporarily fail. Above this is glass tile or glazed tile, and above the tile is a faience or terra-cotta cornice. Each toilet room has a free closet or closets, and a pay closet which is furnished with a basin, mirror, soap dish, and towel rack.
At the more important stations, separate sets of entrances are provided for incoming and outgoing passengers, the stairs at the back of the station being used for entrances and those nearer the track being used for exits. In order to secure consistency in treatment of the roof the station is continued by a larger arch of special design. Some stations in the Bronx like Yankee Stadium and in Brooklyn like Brooklyn Borough Hall are also listed. For me, it was a skewed road that took me through several walks of life; hobby to hobby, major to major, job to job.
On the Lenox Avenue spur to 148th Street there are two tracks, on the City Hall loop one track, on the Battery Park loop two tracks.
In order to make time on roads running trains at frequent intervals, it is necessary to bring the trains to their full speed very soon after starting. As a rule the body of the station extends back about 50 feet from the edge of the platform. At many of the stations, entrances have been arranged from the adjacent buildings, in addition to the entrances originally planned from the street. At 168th Street, and at 181st Street, and at Mott Avenue, where the road is far beneath the surface, it has been possible to build massive arches over the stations with spans of 50 feet. All of Manhattan's underground stations and subway lines are drawn to fit on a 8 by 4“ laminated card, scored to fold into a credit card size pocket map for easy discreet use. There is no other product made in the world that is as useful, stylish and inexpensive as the Streetwise NYC Subway Bus map.
The electrical equipment of the Rapid Transit Railroad will enable this to be done in a better manner than is possible with steam locomotives, while these short acceleration grades at each station, on both up and down tracks, will be of material assistance in making the starts smooth.
The frogs and switches are of the best design and quality to be had, and a special design has been used on all curves.
A different decorative treatment is used at each station, including a distinctive color scheme.
At the Battery loop, at Westchester Avenue, at 96th Street, and at City Hall loop, where it has been necessary for the regular passenger tracks to cross, grade crossings have been avoided; one track or set of tracks passing under the other at the intersecting points. At some stations the number of the intersecting street or initial letter of the street name is shown in conspicuous plaques, at other stations the number or letter is in the panel. The rooms are ventilated through the hollow columns of the kiosks, and each is provided with an electric fan.



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