One of the most amazing things about New York City is its subway system and its many secrets. In the past, Untapped Cities has covered how New Yorkers have creatively occupied these spaces to provide unexpected services such as getting a hair cut, or having keys made.
This week, we’re calling out the Bushwick Ave-Aberdeen Street stop off the L train. Usually, small businesses house their services within the subway station but at this stop, the subway entrance itself is housed between two used car dealerships–Zaki’s Auto Land and Dawan Motors LLC. The station was built in 1928, but the two car dealerships opened after literally surrounding the entrance.
Image 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.
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.
Image 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.
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.
Image 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.