As January has passed I am recharged and ready to get out and start drawing again.
I started this project two and a half years ago and named it with "NYC" because that's all I set out to do, to draw the NYC subway stations. Little did I know the high rent, tiny apartments and a series of life events would eventually urged me to look for an alternative down the road - I now live in Hoboken New Jersey. I still work in the city though so I commute every day by taking the PATH train. Which brings me to my point - I am going to try to draw the PATH stations. Starting with Hoboken where I live, and also the 33rd Street station because I already drew the 34th Street subway station and I have been promising people I would complete it by adding the PATH portion one day. I think it would be helpful to illustrate how the PATH stations in Manhattan intertwine with the subway stations!
So even just looking at the name of the station you know this is another hard one... it spans 4 blocks right off the bat! Although, the reason this is a tricky one has more to do with the fact that it's a combination of a large complex that is the Rockefeller Center and the subway station itself. It's hard to draw the line between which is part of the station and which isn't, since there are a few spots underground where the station mezzanine connects directly to the buildings above ground, and some of them connect to concourses. I'll take more pictures next time!
By popular demand, I have started to document the Atlantic Avenue - Barclays Center station. This station is no joke! This is my second trip, and we will keep counting...
Last week was an exciting week for Project Subway! I released my new x-ray series and was thrilled to get some generally positive feedback. Thank you all for your love and support! Check out the coverage by CityLab and Gothamist if you haven't already :)
Since a few people have asked, I would like to share with you a little bit about my process. For the first part where I survey and sketch the stations, you can read about it here.
For the new series, I first download a 3D model of the city from cadmapper. Let me use the Union Square drawing as an example:
Then I find an angle that could work:
And I import the station model I made from before:
Then I go to Google Maps and get a general feel of the area, including trees, the configuration of the park, and the buildings:
Then I do some research on specific landmarks and transfer that detail into my drawing, for example, this clock thing (it's called the metronome) that always keeps people wondering:
Then I export the lines into illustrator and edit the line weights:
Then I layer texture, streets, platform colors, people, and street names:
And that was it! I repeated this process for all five images I made, took a few months!
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:
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:
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:
I am excited and proud to share that the new batch of four prints are finally here! This batch includes four stations from downtown: Delancey Street - Essex Street (F / M / J / Z), Chambers Street - Park Place - World Trade Center (A / C / E / 2 / 3), Chambers Street - Brooklyn Bridge - City Hall (J / Z / 4 / 5 / 6), and Bleecker Street - Broadway - Lafayette Street (B / D / F / M / 6). I have to say, once the stations are not on numbered streets and avenues, I found it way harder to wrap my head around things - but I did it!
This one interestingly does not have diagonal lines or curved lines, but it's really tricky! We'll see when the 3D is done!
Delancey Essex Station sketch
This is the 4th visit already, I have a feeling I will never get this station right..
This is basically three stations in one, and it's really really loooooong..
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).
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:
I started sketching the Broadway - Lafayette station - didn't realize even though the subway lines are straight, some mezzanine openings are curved!
Sketching in midtown on a relaxing night..
A little observation - the same configuration is repeated on 53rd street, which makes a nice, clean and linear station!
Back to the grind finally!
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:
And I love this colorful Alice in Wonderland themed mezzanine!
Having picked up some fishballs from the supermarket and sipping bubble tea, I found myself in the Canal Street station.
See this part is so tight they have to put a railing to prevent people from walking straight into the track..
And there is this part of the station I have never been to, with this wall with funny symbols:
This weekend I made it to the Fulton Street station. It was special to me because this is the station which inspired me to do this project in the very beginning. I no longer work in that area so it has been a while since I went down there... somehow it's even more complicated than I remember!
And needless to say I have to go back...