I’m taking a short, three week street photography class just for kicks, and also because it’s a good way to force myself out of the house during this dark, depressing, apocalyptic January.
So of course, the first class was during a bit of a snowstorm, which drove us into the nearest subway station for shelter.
Side view of one of the many mysterious locked call boxes on the platform for fire department and police use. Put in place before anyone could do something like make a cellphone call from several stories below ground (a feat that can be accomplished in every station in NYC as of…nine days ago).
Subway traffic signal. We are not exactly using cutting edge technology in our 100+ year-old system for moving millions of people around on a daily basis. I marvel daily at our ability to function.
This is a massive photography catchup, going back to october. I didn’t post a lot of photos in general that month, so i figured I would wait another month, and then things just got away from me. And as with anything, the longer one waits to catch up, the harder it gets to actually do the work. So now that February has ended, I’m biting the bullet today and getting everything through the end of the latest month up. pre-spring cleaning, shall we say. As always, this wouldn’t be a roundup of my instagram without coffee and cats. plus subway kvetching, pretty much the entirety of winter this year (of which there wasn’t much), and some more baking experiments.
Back to columbus circle, this time for the A/B/C/D train platform. These trains were part of the IND line, and were built later than the IRT 1 train previously discussed, and Columbus Circle is one of the major transfer points between different lines in the system. The platform itself, being part of the IND and newer, doesn’t have mosaics that are as interesting as the IRT platform, but they do have useful, large “59” tiles identifying the station.
In addition, this side of the station, at the mezzanine level, includes a large colorful mosaic by Sol LeWitt titled “Whirls and Twirls”.
This station also highlights one of the unique features of the New York City Subway system – the NYC Subway is (I believe) the only system in the world that runs multiple different train lines along the same tracks. you can see that in this station, which has 4 lines running along 2 tracks. The “color coding” that was instituted when the systems were all merged were to help identify where trains shared “core” tracks – So the B/D are orange, and run south of columbus circle along 6th avenue (and are joined by the F/M trains), and the A/C are blue and run along 8th avenue (where they are joined by the E train below 50th street from queens). But north of columbus circle, the A and D go on the express track, while the B and C run on the same local track for the length of central park west until they split again after 145th street. The color coding gives the impression that they are the “same” train, but if you actually look at a map, you can see that each individually numbered train often starts and terminates in a completely different place, and there are places where different “colors” essentially merge for sections of the map. In places like London and Paris, you may see a local and express train run together, a particular line that has two “branches” where it will split in two potential destinations near its end, but I think NY is the only (or was the first) system that is designed to run multiple lines on multiple tracks. This also makes the system surprisingly flexible (given its age and funding issues) and able to divert trains to different tracks during construction and emergencies.
The only caveat – you cannot run an BMT train car on an IRT track. the IRT trains were narrower than the BMT trains. The tracks are the same width, but the tunnels are not, so BMT trains are too wide to fit in an IRT tunnel.
Station opened: September 10, 1932
Original system: IND
Source/More info: Wikipedia
This platform/station is a combined transfer station with the Chambers Street A/C/E (IND) and forms a fairly large complex, but those platforms will be addressed separately. Directly upstairs from the 2/3 train platform itself is the first part of the “Oculus” mosaic, consisting of a giant tiled map of the world radiating out from an eye. The remainder of this installation will be addressed in the entry for the Chambers Street station.
The entire mezzanine runs approximately 7 blocks, and used to also contain a station specifically for the World Trade Center. The station, including the mezzanine with Oculus and the platforms, were damaged and flooded on 9/11. The artwork remained mostly intact and the station reopened 8 months after the attacks.
The Park Place platform itself only contains the standard IRT wall ribbon with the identifying single letter indicating the station. There is some obvious and extensive water damage going on at this platform, but it’s hard to say whether this is remnants of the flooding that occurred or just normal wear-and-tear of the last 14 years.
Station opened: August 1, 1918
Original system: IRT
Source/More info: Wikipedia; MTA Arts & Design