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R211-MTA-Open Gangway-Subway Car-Rendering-NYC-4Via MTA Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting, January 2016. Renderings are from 2013.

There’s been a lot of excitement in the transit world about New York City’s open gangway subway cars, though the MTA is only purchasing 10 prototypes, at a cost of $52 million, according to its Capital Plan. The aim, as can be expected, is to increase capacity of the entire subway train allowing passengers to ride in the gangway between cars, like the articulated buses already on the road. As international travelers and transit buffs know, open gangway cars are already in active use in many transit systems around the world like certain lines in Paris, Toronto and London. And as Ben Kabak of Second Avenue Sagas reports, not only does it increase capacity by 8-10% per car, its also a safer design. How many times have you seen people open the doors between cars? It would also limit isolation of cars.

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A few years ago, we were given the chance to roam and photograph the TWA Flight Center with nobody in it (except our guide from the Port Authority and a security guard), in a push from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to convert the former terminal into a hotel. We’ve been excited to be part of that conversation, and the plans for the 505-room hotel by MCR Developments (the team behind the High Line Hotel) are now in public review stage. Great Big Story (h/t Curbed NY) also recently visited the TWA Flight Center to get a video of the interior.

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World Wide Subway Map-Art Code-Data-NYC-4

Inspired by architect Constant Nieuwenhuys‘ 1959 “New Babylon” collage that imagined a globe of interconnected, borderless cities, New York City-based collective ArtCodeData has created one about transit – combining all 214 subway systems into a single map. The root of the idea is conceptual, as ArtCodeData writes in a successful Kickstarter campaign, “The inner life of cities is made of their subways. What would happened if all the lines in the world would be reunited in a single system. Since the tube is the veins and circulatory system of the ‘animal-city’ if we gather all those possibilities, we could achieve a total circulatory entity?”

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In 2015, we hosted over 10 sold-out experiences of the original Untapped Cities-developed tour, The Remnants of Penn Station in partnership with The Eternal Space, a play about an untold story of the destruction of New York City’s famous transportation hub. Led by Justin Rivers, playwright of The Eternal Space, the tour covers the past, present and future plans for Penn Station, accompanying a hunt for the numerous remaining pieces of the grand McKim, Mead & White station that are hidden in plain sight. Our 2016 tour comes with new remnant discoveries and a special reproduction ticket for each guest of the first commuter ride into Penn Station on September 2nd, 1910, months before the public opening.

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Nostalgia Trains Untapped Cities AFineLyne

For many, the New York Transit Museum‘s Holiday Nostalgia Rides may be just the ticket that makes the holidays the most wonderful time of year. The fleet of vintage New York City subway cars from the 1930s has been running every Sunday in December, with the last opportunity this year on December 27th. The New York Transit Museum has eight of the IND line R1/9 cars, dubbed the “Shoppers Special,” running along the 6th Avenue line during this years annual Nostalgia Ride, as well as a newly renovated 1928 BMT D-Type Triplex car that is stationed as a pop-up shop at the Second Avenue station.

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blowing-bowler-untappedcities-MTA-Chris-Sickels-nyc-subwayScreenshot from “The Blowing Bowler” (2015)

A new stop-motion animated short film by Chris Sickels will depict the development and history of the New York City’s subway car design at Fulton Center, presented by MTA Arts & Design. The short, The Blowing Bowler, follows a man as he chases after his wind-tossed bowler hat in a subway. While pursuing the hat, “a progression of subway cars rolls by representing designs from the Beach Pneumatic Transit Company (1870s), Interborough Rapid Transit Company (1910s), a second generation R-10 car (1940s), a R-15 car (1950s), a car from the 1970s State of the Art Car Program (SOAC), and a more recent R-188 subway car (2013).” 

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