NEW: X-RAY CLUSTER SERIES!!

Hello world!! It's been a while!

I am so excited to announce that our new drawing series is finally here - X-Ray Station Clusters!

This time around, instead of one station per drawing with colored platforms, we have multiple stations per drawing and colored tracks that connect them all. See how complicated and crazy this intertwining network is! We focused on two main areas - Downtown Brooklyn and Downtown Manhattan, both with stations very close to each other, hence, the clusters.

How to get to the Oculus without setting foot above ground

How to get to the Oculus without setting foot above ground

A lot going on under Borough Hall in Brooklyn!

A lot going on under Borough Hall in Brooklyn!

 

Check them out, and also check out this feature on Wired!

We are super thrilled to be featured on Wired!!

We are super thrilled to be featured on Wired!!

LEARNING FROM SEOUL

Just came back from Asia! This time I stopped by Seoul - nice city! It was a short trip but I managed to ride their metro a few times and notice some interesting things about the way signage is done.

This sign gives you the distance to the nearest exit in meters:

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This one gives you the previous station and the next station (as opposed to the terminal station of that line):

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And this one is a 2D map with 3D buildings - a hybrid. I am not sure how I feel about it, but I am intrigued!

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WORK IN PROGRESS - LEXINGTON AVENUE - 59TH STREET

Coming back uptown, I tackled Lexington Avenue - 59th Street next. I mapped out the entrances in the first visit: 

This is the kind of thing that kills all architects with pet peeves: 

Lexington Avenue - 59th Street Snapshot

Lexington Avenue - 59th Street Snapshot

And I love this colorful Alice in Wonderland themed mezzanine!

Lexington Avenue - 59th Street Snapshot 2

Lexington Avenue - 59th Street Snapshot 2

COLUMBUS CIRCLE STATION EXPLAINED- THE PARK, THE MALL, AND THE "TURNSTYLE"

New York City is a beautiful and exciting city, especially when you have time and it’s nice outside, it’s delightful just to walk around and look around. But then there are also bad days, when you are in a hurry and it’s cold and rainy… on those days, if you had to take the subway, you would either want to be underground for as long as you can, or to have the most efficient way around the station, right?

There are signages in the subway stations, but they don’t give you an overall picture of what the stations look like. In light of that, I have taken the initiative to illustrate some of the more complex stations, as well as the landmarks and popular destination points around them. Let’s look at the 59th Street Columbus Circle station: 

59th Street Columbus Circle Station layout map
Disclaimer: Drawing is not to scale and only shows the approximate and relative location of things

TRACKS

The 1 train runs on the upper level, along the diagonal Broadway, and the A / C and B / D trains run on the lower level, straight along 8th Ave / Central Park West. On both levels, the east tracks go uptown and the west tracks go downtown.  

EXITS

  • Starbucks and upper west side: northern end of the downtown track
  • The mall / Time Warner Center: southern end of the downtown track (there is an escalator)
  • Central Park: midpoint of the uptown track, opposite to the semi-circular array of turnstiles
  • Globe-shaped sculpture: midpoint of the uptown track, out of the semi-circular array of turnstiles
  • Museum of Art and Design: south end of uptown track, opposite to escalators to mall
  • 57th Streets exits: What used to be a tunnel is now under construction. When it opens there will be an underground transit-marketplace under 8th avenue, between 57th and 58th Street, and will look like this:

TRANSFERS

To transfer between uptown and downtown trains, the shortest path is the walkway between the tracks on the lower level. I marked it with a red dotted line in the graphic. It has a wavy guardrail and it looks like this:


So this is the first of a series of blog posts I plan to do for the five stations I have picked. More to come! 


THE PROCESS

When I started this project, I naively thought I could just go walk around in the stations, take some pictures, and sketch the stations out casually like this:

But in reality, it was way harder than I thought. In order to work out where things are relative to each other, I had to developed a process to visualize the stations step by step. First, I document the entrances (from streets to turnstiles) on the neighborhood maps:

Then I make 2D drawings in the computer:

And then I go back and sketch some more, verifying my guesses and adding things I missed:

Then I model it in 3D:

And I render it:

And all of these steps kinda go back and forth and back and forth until I get the overall picture. The final graphic will be a combination of all of these. Almost there!

GETTING STARTED

I am an architect, so I am no stranger to surveying spaces from scratch. Still, it would be great to have something to base my drawings off of. To begin my quest, I went into the stations to look for the maps that tell you where the exits are. They look like this:

And so I thought alright, I’ll just have to go to each station to take a picture of the map. And then I thought, is there a chance these maps are online? So I went home and did a quick search and bam! Here they are:

Find all neighborhood maps like this one at  http://web.mta.info/maps/neighborhood_maps.htm

Find all neighborhood maps like this one at http://web.mta.info/maps/neighborhood_maps.htm

They are called “neighborhood maps” under “maps” in mta.info

They are neither editable nor printable, but a quick print-screen will do. With them, I am ready to go out and take some actions!