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If You Smell Something Smell Something Else-MTA Guerrilla Campaign-School of Visual Arts SVA-Angela Kim-NYC Subway-002

We all know how bad the New York City subway system can smell sometimes. In the worst of times, we pull up our scarves or shirts over our noses and try not to breathe. But there might be a real explanation for what straphangers are experiencing. Angela Kim, a graphic design student at the School of Visual Arts has installed a guerrilla “Scratch and Sniff” project entitled “If You Smell Something, Smell Something Else,” a play on the ever-present MTA warning “If you see something, say something.”

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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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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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SubwayLayup-4thAve-Brooklyn-NewYork-UntappedCities-JosephAnastasio

Late at night and on weekends, the MTA stores a significant number of subway trains underground. Some of these trains are parked in dedicated underground subway yards, while others are stored on express tracks and tracks that were originally built as part of subway routes that were never completed. As a follow-up to our previous article on where New York City’s wheels and hooves go at night, here are seven below-ground overnight homes for the city’s subway cars.

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stations-untappedcities-nyc-broadway-lafayette-snowday.11 AM

New York subway stations, active and abandoned, are endlessly fascinating. They produce a unique cultural enclave that define New York as a whole. At Untapped Cities, we’ve tried to dissect various aspects of the subway to understand “what it all means.” We’ve asked questions like, “why are the bathrooms in the subway locked?” or “how did the subway lines get their colors?” But, perhaps, the key to unlocking “the truth” behind what makes subway stations such an enigmatic part of New York’s identity isn’t by looking at them through a micro lens, but through a macro lens, as the recent filmmakers from Snowday recently did in their video Stations: A Quick Scan Through NYC

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DeepestSubway-StPetersburg-UntappedCities-NikkiLohr-002

In New York City, most subway stations are only a few stories below ground (although some of course do go down further, as we’ve shown). In St. Petersburg’s subway, getting from the street to the trains can take up to five minutes. Or at least it does at Admiralteyskaya station, the deepest subway station in Russia and among the five deepest metro stations in the world.

With the typical platform lying 187 feet below ground, St. Petersburg boasts the deepest subway system in the world. Admiralteyskaya is 282 feet deep. For some perspective, this is about a fifth of the height of the Empire State Building. And it is almost a hundred feet lower than New York City’s deepest subway station.

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