Lexington Avenue, between 105th and 106th Streets, Manhattan, 1913. Photograph by Pierre P. Pullis, Lundin Collection, Courtesy of the New York Transit Museum
A new photo exhibit at the New York Transit Museum provides a unique look at the construction of the city’s subway system, as well as its enduring impact. Opening Thursday, Streetscapes & Subways: Photographs by Pierre P. and Granville W. Pullis shows what it was like before and after the subway system was constructed, as well as the architectural and cultural changes occurring simultaneously above ground.
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The final run of the R42 trains on the A line near Hammels Wye in the Rockaways on February 12, 2020. Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit
The NYC subway rolls a little further into the 21st century today: The MTA is finally retiring its Nixon-era R-42 trains. The silver half-century-old R-42s, first rolled out in 1969 (the same year “Sesame Street” debuted), will make their last run today along the A line before being permanently retired, having already been mostly replaced by the R-160 fleet (h/t NYPost). The new R-179s cars will eventually replace them (h/t Gothamist). The R-42 cars were scheduled to disappear in December, but the R-179s were pulled from the system due to problems with their door-locking mechanisms.
The Times Square shuttle platform, Photo by Helvetica Fanatic on Wikimedia
At the platform of the Times Square-Grand Central shuttle, a train track is hidden in plain sight. At both ends of the two-station line, tracks are numbered 1, 3 and 4, with no Track 2 to be found. As the New York Times explained, Track 2 once ran in its appropriate spot, between Tracks 1 and 3, but was taken out of operation nearly 100 years ago. After an attempt to expand the original 1904 line turned to major confusion for commuters, transit officials covered Track 2 with wooden flooring to make it easier for New Yorkers to walk to the new tracks.
More this way
Photos: Patrick Cashin/Metropolitan Transportation Authority
On Tuesday crews from MTA Bridges and Tunnels began addressing a 55-year-old spelling mistake by replacing the first of 19 signs on agency property to feature the correct spelling of Verrazzano with two Z’s instead of just one. The bridge was named after Giovanni de Verrazzano—the first European explorer to sail into New York Harbor—but a longstanding dispute over the name’s proper spelling led to the bridge being inaugurated as the Verrazano-Narrows bridge in 1964. In 2018, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to add a second Z into the name.
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
Subway service in New York City runs 24 hours a day, but late-night commutes for outer-borough residents—who often have to make multiple connections—can get inconvenient quickly. To ease the burden on those commuters, the MTA is looking to make an unlikely partnership with ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft. The agency announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) on Tuesday from transportation companies that could shuttle riders to the subway during late-night hours. Whoever is selected will participate in the “Late-Shift” pilot program beginning later this year.
The Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) from the south end of the Brooklyn Promenade. Photo by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia
The 16-person panel that convened last April to assess reconstruction options for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway’s 1.5-mile triple cantilever stretch has released its report. Their recommendations call for repair work to begin immediately and outline “aggressive traffic reduction strategies” like eliminating one lane in each direction (six lanes would become four) and imposing weight limits on vehicles. The panel also rejected the controversial proposal to build a temporary highway at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade during the reconstruction and said the Promenade should remain open.
NYCT President Andy Byford spent New Year’s Eve 2019 going around the system thanking Transit employees and our partners in the NYPD. Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit via Flickr
Two years into his tenure as New York City Transit chief, Andy Byford resigned on Thursday, Politico first reported. The British native came to NYC in January 2018—in the aftermath of the transit system’s so-called “Summer of Hell”—after running the Toronto Transit Commission for five years. Byford inherited a state of emergency but hit the ground running as soon as he arrived. He’s been credited with boosting the subway’s on-time rate from only 58 percent to 80 percent, securing funding to upgrade signal systems, and putting an emphasis on accessibility. Praised by riders and transit advocates, Byford earned the nickname “Train Daddy” which exploded on Twitter following the news of his resignation. Ahead, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite social media reactions to the news.
Hear what New Yorkers have to say
The Bay Ridge Branch crossing Ralph Avenue in Canarsie, photo by Jim Henderson / Wiki Commons
Since the 1990s, the Regional Plan Association has been advocating for the restoration of passenger service to a rail line known as the Bay Ridge Branch that runs from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to Astoria, Queens and is now used as a freight line. The MTA has announced that it will begin a feasibility study to “evaluate the potential for subway, commuter rail, light rail or bus service” along the line, which the agency notes would create the potential for reverse commuting and connect to 19 subway lines and the LIRR. In October, the RPA’s Kate Slevin explained to NY1, “We don’t have unlimited resources here in New York City, as we know, so the fact that we already have tracks there, that are underutilized, really means a lot.”
Photo courtesy of the MTA on Flickr
Straphangers will soon be able to move freely between some subway cars. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Tuesday released photos of the city’s newest subway fleet which features an “open-gangway” design, or accordion-like walls located at the ends of cars. The R211 car design is meant to increase capacity by allowing for better movement and “customer flow.” Expected to be partially delivered later this year, the new subway cars are part of a nearly $4 billion contract awarded to Kawasaki Industries in 2018.
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Renderings courtesy of Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The MTA has unveiled a new plan to integrate all the planned work along the 42nd Street corridor—at the Grand Central, Bryant Park, and Times Square stations—into one project. In doing so, the agency expects the newly bundled 42nd Street Connection project will both cut costs and speed up the schedule. The plan encompasses several rehabilitation projects along one of the city’s busiest transportation corridors, including the redesign and rebuild of the 42nd Street shuttle.