METROBITS - Unearthing the world's subways' details since 2004


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New York

New York, USA

Date of opening27 Oct 1904
Network length380.2 km (236.30 mi)
Stations473 (426*)
Lines27        Line history
Stations per line17.52
Avg. station distance852 m (0.53 mi)
Avg. line length14.08 km (8.75 mi)
*with transfer stations counted once
Numerical data by J. Serradell, 7 Jan 2017
PATH not included (22.2 km, 13 stations). SIR not included
System typeMetro, known as Subway
Daily ridership (by J. Kennes)4.53 million (as of 2012)
Daily ridership per km (per mi)11,900 (7,410)
Fare (10 km/10 stops; by UBS)1.53 EUR (as of 2009); gates, smartcard
TrackRight, gauge: 1435 mm
Power supplyThird rail, 625 V, 650 V (PATH)
Air-conditioned trainsYes
Walk-through trains
Rubber-tyred trains
Driverless lines
Platform screen doors
World Metro Database

Official map
Source: html, © 2011

To-scale map

Disclaimer: Maps are copyrighted. The previews on this page are for informational purposes only. Please respect copyright and always refer to original maps.

Transit mapsSystem map imagesö - moving trains

Latest Openings

31 Dec 2016 – The Second Avenue Subway will connect the Q Line northwards from Lexington Avenue/63rd St station to 96th St with intermediate stations at 72nd St and 86th St. New line, 3 stations.

Metro Arts and Architecture

Examples of interesting station design:

Rating: 1 star (bronze)  New York City

Since the subway system was inaugurated in 1904 by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) it has some interesting station design, above ground as well as below.

Photo: Reproduction of a historic stairway entrance kiosk at Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall station. It now houses an elevator to the station concourse.
NYC's subway became a little neglected in the following decades and earned a reputation of crime and grime. But besides significantly improving all stations, trains, and the safety since the 1980's, MTA started to thoroughly refurbish 15 historic stations to their original appearance, e.g. 33rd Street. Ceramic wall decors and mosaic signs are present in most underground stations and come in a wide variety [Stookey, see Reference].

Photo: Ceramic station name mosaic at the refurbished 33rd Street station.
MTA's 'Arts for Transit' program, founded in 1985, hosts more than 150 modern works of site-specific public art in stations [], [], [], [ (PDF)].

Photo: Some of many humourous bronze sculptures, this is 'Life Underground' by Tom Otterness [] in 14th Street station installed in 2004.

Guided Tours

Tours of the metro system, guided by experts. For dates and reservation contact the tour operator or check their website.

Guided tours to places that tap into a wide range of interests: art, technology, urban history, or to the famous abandoned City Hall station (members only). Tour operator: New York Transit Museum.

Self-Guided Tour

Try the following tour, recommended by residents or metro enthusiasts:

From Times Sq, take the Q (Broadway Express) to Coney Island and watch for views of the skyline and Brooklyn Bridge as the train goes across the Manhattan Bridge. From Coney Island Stillwell Av take the F to Jay St with the highest elevated tracks. If you look to the harbor, you will get a view of the Statue of Liberty. At Jay St is the Transit Museum. From Hoyt Schermerhorn St take the G either to Metropolitan Av and change to the automated line L or ride the G to Court St and change to line 7, nicknamed "International Express".
At 40th St and 61st St is former "Little Ireland" with Irish Pubs and "Little Manila" along Woodside Ave. 74th St: "Little India". 82th St - Jackson Heights to 103rd St: South and Central America. Flushing Main Street: NYC's largest Chinatown and "Little Korea".
On the 6 train beyond the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall terminus it is said to be possible to stay on the train and ride the loop through the famous, ornate, abandoned City Hall station. After a few minutes you'll arrive at the opposite track of Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall again. The loop ride is said to be legal but City Hall is just dimly lit.
For other self-guided tours check

Metro Museum

transport museum New York Transit Museum. Development of the greater NY metropolitan region through exhibitions, tours, educational programs, and workshops dealing with the cultural, social, and technological history of public transportation. Since 1976. Location: Abandoned Court Street IND station from 1936.
Address: Corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn Heights. At Borough Hall (2 3 4 5), Jay St (A C F), Court St (R), Hoyt-Schermerhorn St (A C G) metro station.
Hours (check before visiting): Tue Fri 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sat and Sun Noon to 5 p.m., closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission: 5 USD. Features: museum store, educational programs, special events.
Reference: (official website).


During construction of a replacement for South Ferry station, the project hit a 15-meters-long section of a stone wall that archaeologists believe is a unique remnant of the original battery. It has probably been built in the late 17th century and protected the Colonial settlement at the southern tip of Manhattan. The find may delay subway construction and will possibly be displayed in a park or museum [18].

Abandoned Lines

New York City once had a major network of elevated lines. In Manhattan, there were four principal lines (three running the whole length of Manhattan Island, and a fourth branching off one of the others and then running on its own for most of the length of the island), which extended into neighbouring boroughs. The origins of the network dated back to 1868. Some sections were directly replaced by new subway lines, while others were abandoned without replacement. Three of these lines closed between 1940 and 1942, with the fourth surviving until 1955. Remnants of the network in other boroughs survived longer - the last line in Brooklyn closed in 1969, and a short branch in the Bronx remained until 1973. Although at times there was common ownership, through ticketing, and limited through running with the subway network, the elevated was effectively a separate system. While some sections of the current subway network are also on elevated alignments, these use more substantial structures that can support the weight of the steel-bodied rolling stock that is needed for running underground; the "true" elevated system used lighter structures, which could only support the wooden-bodied cars that were hence banned from running into the subway. I'd guess that, in terms of mileage, more metro alignment has been abandoned in New York City than in the rest of the world combined. A streetcar or tram tunnel has been partly or wholly abandoned.

Other Rail Transport in New York

PATH (suburban metro)

Metro City Hopping

New York is part of the New York cluster of metro/subway cities with the following urban rail connections:

  Jersey City    PATH (metro)    Newark      8 km
  New York    PATH (metro)    Jersey City      6 km
  Philadelphia    SEPTA + Northeast Corridor Line via Trenton (commuter metro)    Jersey City      126 km

Relationships with Other Metros

US Bombardier ART family
Members: Beijing (Airport Line), Detroit (people mover), Kuala Lumpur (Kelana Jaya Line), Miami (Metromover), New York (AirTrain JFK), Toronto (Scarborough RT), Vancouver (Expo Line, Millennium Line), Yongin (EverLine),
Characteristics: Similar 'automated rapid transit' trains. Vancouver and Kuala Lumpur use LIM technology.

Maglev or LIM Technology

LIM: Linear Induction Motor technology utilizes the repelling and attracting forces of electromagnets to move steel-on-wheel trains forward:
  • AirTrain JFK

24-Hour Services

Every night: 20 subway lines, SIR, PATH, LIRR.

Express Services

Many subway lines have both Express and Local service with three or four tracks: normally, the inner one or two are used for Express trains. Express stations are typically major transfer points or destinations. The BMT Jamaica Line (J, Z) uses skip-stop service on portions, in which two services operate over the line during rush hours, and minor stations are only served by one of the two. Details are indicated in the official MTA map. A map showing the numbers of tracks: Staten Island Railway has express service, with some trains running non-stop between New Dorp and the ferry in the mornings and between the ferry and Great Kills in evening rush (peak direction only). This is not achieved via extra tracks - it's built into the schedule. LIRR has several Express trains during rush hours.

Reaching the Beaches

Atlantic Ocean: Several elevated subway stations near Coney Island and Rockaway Beach.
Atlantic Ocean: Long Beach station on the Long Island Railroad is only 6 blocks from the beach. In New Jersey (suburban New York), the North Jersey Coast Line has many stops near Atlantic Ocean beaches.

Lines with a View

Line G at Smith/9th Streets offers a perfect view of the Manhattan Skyline (see picture). Line 7 provides a similar view at 33rd St-Rawson Queensboro Plaza. For a more detailed description of the sights see this MSNBC article.

Photo by
One can get a nice scenic view on the A train going to Far Rockaway.

Photo by

Metro Fonts

Typefaces designed exclusively for this metro:

Font NameDesignerYearSampleAvailabilityReference
Mosaic fonts (in several variations) 1G. C. Heins, C. G. La Farge, S. J., myfonts.comStookey, Lee: Subway Ceramics. 1992.

1 Mosaic fonts are still in place but the main signage fonts have become Akzidenz Grotesk from the mid-1960s and Helvetica from about 1980, both used in the iconic white on black background. Shaw, Paul: The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the New York City Subway, 2008.

Circle Lines

Terminal loop - Line 6 - 1 station - going through the glamourous abandoned City Hall station without passengers, unidirectional.
Terminal loop - Lines 1 and 9 - 1 station - at South Ferry station, unidirectional.

Departure Procedure and Sounds

"Stand clear of the closing doors, please [ding-dong, ding-dong]" in newer trains by a pre-recorded voice (mp3 from In older trains, drivers often swallow a couple of syllables and only mumble something like "Clear closing doors!", or there's no announcement at all.

Northbound 6 train departing from 33rd Street station.

Duration: 0:25 

More videos...


  New York photo gallery.

Metro Movies

Films with scenes set on this metro:

1905: New York Subway, short.
1924: Manhandled
1928: The Crowd
1928: Speedy
1932: Thirteen Women
1933: King Kong
1941: The Devil and Miss Jones
1943: The Seventh Victim
1944: The Phantom Lady
1945: The Lost Weekend
1946: The Dark Corner
1946: Young Widow
1948: The Naked City
1949: On the Town
1950: The Killer That Stalked New York
1950: Where the Sidewalk Ends
1953: Pickup on South Street
1956: The Wrong Man
1967: The Incident
1971: Bananas
1971: The French Connection
1974: The First Death Wish, has an important scene set on the subway.
1974: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
1976: Next Stop, Greenwich Village
1978: Superman
1979: The Warriors
1980: Dressed to Kill
1980: Fame
1980: Gloria
1980: Maniac
1981: Nighthawks
1983: Ferestadeh, Iranian film about an Iranian assassin dispatched to kill a former official from the deposed Shah's government, with a dramatic meeting in the NYC subway. Not sure if this was filmed in New York or not.
1985: After Hours
1986: Crocodile Dundee
1988: Coming to America
1990: Ghost
1990: Jacob's Ladder
1990: King of New York
1991: Hangin with the Homeboys
1993: Carlito's Way
1995: Die Hard: With a Vengeance
1995: Money Train
1997: Mimic
1997: Subwaystories: Tales from the Underground
1998: The Last Days of Disco
1999: End of Days, brief scene
2002: Marathon, a very obscure film by Iranian-American director Amir Naderi, which features a young woman continuously traveling on the subway doing a 24-hour crossword puzzle marathon
2007: The Visitor
2009: Knowing
2009: The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
2010: Black Swan
2011: Shame
2016: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, featuring City Hall station.

Handpicked Resources Redesign project of 2004 by Kick Design for New York's subway map
nycsubway.orgThe New York Subway: Its Construction and Equipment. IRT 1904.
lowermanhattan.infoWhat Lies Beneath: The Architecture of the Subway. Article of 2002.
transitmuseumeducation.orgOnline Gallery Talks. New York Transit Museum. New York's subway and the metros of the world New York's and some other subways Photos of subway stations
forgotten-ny.comForgotten NY Subways. Official website MTA Official website PATH
thestandardsmanual.comNew York City Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual. Unimark International New York 1970. New York typography and wayfinding
Blumenthal, SaulNew York City Transit Scenes: Past and Present.
Garn, AndrewSubway Style: 100 Years of Architecture & Design in the New York City Subway. Stewart, Tabori & Chang 2004.
Garn, Andrew et al.Online Gallery Talk: Subway Style.
Grabar, HenryUncovering the First, Fascinating Rulebook for Subway Sign Design. About the Standards Manual
Kennedy, RandySubwayland. Adventures in the World Beneath New York. St. Martin's Griffin 2004. Witty stories
Shaw, PaulHelvetica and the New York City Subway System. MIT Press 2011.
Stookey, LeeSubway Ceramics: A History and Iconography. 1992.

Generic Links for New York Subway

Wikipedia entry at entry at
Railway Gazette search at
Discussion at
System photos at Google Images
City information at

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