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1-Lost Subway Maps of New York - Untapped Cities-001

Going back into the archives, WNYC has a great interactive “Lost Subways” map that showcases the abandoned or never-completed subway stations of New York City, as well as never built lines. It’s a great tool to go along with our popular article on 7 of NYC’s abandoned subway stations. Here’s a quick rundown:

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NYC Subway Map Public Competition-1964-R Raleigh D'Adamo-Gary Lloyd-Reka Komoli-2Submission to the 1964 NYC subway map competition by Raleigh D’Adamo, original design, reconstructed by Reka Komoli

Ever wonder why the 1/2/3 lines are red, or the N/Q/R yellow? Curbed NY has an article that explains it all. We first have to begin in the era when the NYC subway system was really three different systems–the IRT, the BMT and and the IND. Sometimes you can still see the tiles in the underground that reference the old terminology. It seems like New Yorkers like to hang on to old things, as these colors stayed even a couple decades after the unification of the systems in 1940.

On the subway map even in the 1960s, with 34 at the time, it wasn’t the clearest maps. And so in 1964, there was a public competition for the redesign.

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straphangers-report-2014-nyc-subway-untappedcities-nick-reale-2

The idea of expanding New York City’s subway and rail systems would sound serendipitous to most New Yorkers. As of late, it seems as though we are constantly being blighted with train delays, signal malfunctions, fare hikes and overcrowded trains. The MTA reported that over 6 million riders rode the subway for a total of 29 consecutive days last year. At a time when daily ridership is increasing, New York City needs more rail options. Here are five potential and in-process rail lines proposed by some of New York City’s community activists, regional planning organizations and commuter rail organizations.

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Abandoned Bergen Street Lower Level-Subway Station-Brooklyn-NYC-002

In Brooklyn, an abandoned level below the Bergen Street station is a favorite spot for urban explorers, one of many New York City subway stations that have abandoned platforms. Renovations to the station, which serves the F and G trains, in the early 1990s damaged the lower platform, which had been used from time to time over the course of the station’s existence since 1933. Silver doors on the upper level conceal open staircases that go down to the lower level.

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NYC-Animated History Subway Map-GIF

Well here you have it: a GIF subway map of New York City that shows the subway lines in order of construction, created by Appealing Industries via Paste Magazine. You’ll notice that the first lines to appear are in Brooklyn, rather than the IRT line on Manhattan. The lines in Brooklyn were part of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (later the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation or BMT), created in 1896. They operated along existing surface railways and streetcar lines.

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Pennsylvaina Station-Airplane-1929-Amelia Earhart-Air Rail service-NYC-LAFrom the collection of Ron Ziel, photo by Bettina Winston from Trans World Airlines. Shared by Justin Rivers, The Eternal Space

We’ve been preparing for our upcoming tour, The Remnants of Penn Station, led by Tamara Agins of New York City Department of City Planning and Justin Rivers, of the play The Eternal SpaceIn addition to tracking down remnants of the original Pennsylvania Station, rarely shown photographs of the station and its demolition from personal collections will be shown, like the above. While many people are familiar with the Redstone rocket that was displayed in Grand Central Terminal, this is the first we’ve seen of the airplane in Penn Station. And the story gets even better…

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