2. Subway Signs Used to be Black on White


The original manual intended signs to be black on white, but were later switched to white on black in order to combat the citywide explosion of graffiti in 1973. The conversion was spearheaded by R. Raleigh D’Adamo, head of the office of inspection and review at the MTA from 1970 to 1975. The intention was to improve legibility, thus information on signs was generally left unchanged. Nevertheless, a thin white line at the same width now becomes the ghost of the black stripe, and is used as a graphic representation not only seen on signs, but on posters and other MTA publications.