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Standards-manual-nyc-MTA-untappedImage via Pentagram

Ever wonder about the NYC’s subway signage? Most New Yorkers who use the subway daily have probably never heard of the design firm Unimark. In 1970, designers Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda of Unimark created a language not only for how people would read subway signs, but also the way people would use the NYC subway for the next 44 years. The published document was a 13″ x 13″ Standards Manual held together in a 3-ring binder. And now, Pentagram is hoping to bring it back via a Kickstarter campaign that goes until October 8th. It’s been so popular that they have raised more than 5x the $108,000 goal so far.

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From your user submitted images, we can tell you love the subway just as much as we do! Here are this week’s picks for the best of the subway pics in our #UntappedCities photo pool. Hashtag #UntappedCities on Instagram and Twitter if you would like to have one of your photos entered in the running for our weekly“Best Of” column. Also, you can keep an eye on what contributors and readers are checking out by browsing the live feed.

Entrance to the Subway by mrsteveh

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top-urban-deisgn-and-planning-projects-in-the-us-now-that-you-should-care-about-nyc-chicago-dc-minneapolis-las-vegas-untappedcities-nick-reale-7Image Source: Regional Plan Association’s Second Regional Plan

With public consciousness of cities at an all-time high, planning and design projects have been commanding the imaginations of urbanities in ways unforeseen. On the positive end, more governing bodies and planning agencies are placing higher value on public awareness, information dissemination, and “ground-up” development. There’s certainly a long way to go, even in cities like New York City, but below are 10 of some of the more innovative and impactful projects going on across the United States right now. Though some have captured the imagination and support of masses while others hang in limbo, all will affect the lives of many in their wake.

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Tar-Mastic-NYC Subway-Waterproofing-Sealing-Melting-Drip-Columbus Circle-Subway Station-NYC

Every time we go through Columbus Circle subway station, we wonder about those big patches of black tar-like substance that just keep growing on the subway platforms. Last year, when there wasn’t quite as much, and we thought in passing it might be just a really popular place to throw gum. But this time, the more we poked around the more we saw that the stuff was just all over the place. And, some of it was fresh! Looking up, we could see it dripping from the beams.

Digging into it, lo and behold, Slate dug into this bizarre issue back in May. Turns out it is indeed tar or rather, mastic, as Branko Kleva, assistant chief of the Division of Stations explains. The MTA uses mastic to seal up and waterproof subway infrastructure but when it gets hot, the stuff starts dripping down. Incidentally, tar was also used to black out the beautiful skylights of the now-decommissioned City Hall Subway Station during WWII. 

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Abandoned Platform-Level-Times Square-Port Authority-A-C-E-Aqueduct Racetrack Line-LIRR-8Image by Peter Dougherty via NYCSubway.org

We’ve mentioned the abandoned level below Times Square before in our piece about abandoned subway levels and platforms in New York City. But this is the first time we’re featuring some images of what it looked like when it was operating and after some years of abandonment.

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The Warriors-NYC-Untapped Cities-BAM-Retro Metro-BrooklynThe Warriors (Film Still via The Symmetric)

Stepping into a train car in New York City can do more than just get you to your destination, it can serve as a way for you to see how the identity of the city is transforming before your very eyes. We all know that NYC has been the inspiration for many great works of cinema and through these snapshots in time, we are able to see how the city has evolved. From street cars to graffiti canvases, the NYC subway has a long history, one that has been captured on film for many decades.

From September 26th to October 5th, you can personally see how the NYC subway system has evolved by checking out the newest film series by BAM titled Retro Metro. 16 films, each showcasing a different era of the NYC subway will be shown. The line up includes cult films from the 70’s like The Warriors and the The Taking of Pelham 123. As well as films like Style Wars, Wild Style and Beat Street; tributes to the graffiti and street art culture that began in the 80s.  (more…)