PUTTING IT TOGEHTER

So far I have been trying to study NYC's subway system one station at a time. Now that I have collected some twenty plus stations, I figure it's time I zoom out and look at how the stations relate to one another. When I put all the individual stations where they belong on the map, it looks like this:

Lower Half of Manhattan in Aerial View

Lower Half of Manhattan in Aerial View

It gets tricky when I try to connect the dots - the tracks are really a vast network that gets interwoven together with a lot of ups and downs. Tracks that are parallel in one station sometimes get stacked on top of each other in another. They also split and merge, from local to express, and from inner to outer tracks. Here is my first attempt at figuring out the Columbus Circle area:

First Attempt at Sketching Tracks between Stations

First Attempt at Sketching Tracks between Stations

Luckily nycsubway.org has a wealth of information to help me out. It has track maps that show which track is above which, like this:

Source: http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/caption.pl?/img/trackmap/detail-cityhall.png

Source: http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/caption.pl?/img/trackmap/detail-cityhall.png

Stations, Escalators, and High Fives

Like other stations on 53rd street, the 53rd Street - Lexington Avenue station is a really deep one. Look at the sketch and the numbers I wrote down, there are 5+ sections of stairs of 15 steps each that lead you to the E/M tracks - that's more than 3 stories in one run of escalator (and that only brings you to the mezzanine! You'll have to go up one more to reach ground). 

Giant Escalator in 53rd Street - Lexington Avenue Station

Giant Escalator in 53rd Street - Lexington Avenue Station

Sketch of Stair and  Escalator in 53rd Street - Lexington Avenue Station

Sketch of Stair and  Escalator in 53rd Street - Lexington Avenue Station

And then I suddenly thought to myself, that looks familiar - that's where the "imrpov everywhere" people did the "high five escalator"! 

This is another example of how understanding these circulation spaces in the stations can offer so many interesting opportunities.

And when you reach the top of it, there is a really beautiful, yellow mural on a curvy wall:

Mural at 53rd Street - Lexington Avenue Station

Mural at 53rd Street - Lexington Avenue Station

Mural at 53rd Street - Lexington Avenue Station

Mural at 53rd Street - Lexington Avenue Station

Sketch of Mezzanine Level at 53rd Street - Lexington Avenue Station

Sketch of Mezzanine Level at 53rd Street - Lexington Avenue Station