Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street (63rd Street Lines)

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Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street
New York City Subway rapid transit station
Lex Ave - 63rd St platform.JPG
Queens-bound lower platform in 2013, during reconstruction for connection to the Second Avenue Subway.
Station statistics
Address Lexington Avenue & East 63rd Street
New York, NY 10065
Borough Manhattan
Locale Upper East Side
Coordinates 40°45′53″N 73°57′59″W / 40.764649°N 73.966398°W / 40.764649; -73.966398Coordinates: 40°45′53″N 73°57′59″W / 40.764649°N 73.966398°W / 40.764649; -73.966398
Division B (BMT/IND)
Line IND/BMT 63rd Street Lines
Services       F all times (all times)
System transfers With MetroCard only:
4 all times 5 all except late nights 6 all times <6>weekdays until 8:45 p.m., peak direction at 59th Street (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
N all times Q weekdays R all except late nights at Lexington Avenue / 59th Street (BMT Broadway Line)
(Transfer stations are not accessible)
Structure Underground
Levels 2
Platforms 2 island platforms (1 on each level, half of each in passenger service)
cross-platform interchange (future)
Tracks 4 (2 on each level; 1 in service on each level)
Other information
Opened October 29, 1989; 24 years ago (1989-10-29)[1]
Accessible Handicapped/disabled access
Passengers (2013) 4,462,467[2] Decrease 2.2%
Rank 109 out of 421
Station succession
Next north Roosevelt Island (63rd): F all times
72nd Street (2nd Ave): under construction
Next south 57th Street (6th Avenue): F all times
57th Street – Seventh Avenue (Broadway): no regular service

Next Handicapped/disabled access north Roosevelt Island (63rd): F all times
72nd Street (2nd Ave): under construction
Next Handicapped/disabled access south 47th–50th Streets – Rockefeller Center (6th Avenue): F all times
Times Square – 42nd Street (Broadway): no regular service

Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street is a two-level station shared by the IND and BMT 63rd Street Lines of the New York City Subway. Located at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street, it is served by the F train at all times. Downtown and Brooklyn-bound trains use the upper level, and Queens-bound trains use the lower level. The original wall tiles installed in this station were red-orange; currently, there are no wall tiles because of the construction for the Second Avenue Subway. There are a total of ten escalators, six staircases and two elevators. Two additional staircases between the platform levels are at the eastern end of platforms, past the elevator.

Station layout[edit]

G Street Level Exit/Entrance, MetroCardconnection to 4 5 6 <6> N Q R trains at Lexington Avenue / 59th Street
B1 Mezzanine Fare control, station agent, MetroCard vending machines
Handicapped/disabled access (Elevator on north side of 63rd Street west of Lexington Avenue)
B2 - Escalator/stairway landing
B3 - Escalator/stairway landing, transfer between platforms
B4 Southbound No regular service (present)
NYCS Q (under construction) toward Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue (57th Street – Seventh Avenue)
Island platform, not in service Handicapped/disabled access
Island platform, doors will open on the right Handicapped/disabled access
Southbound NYCS F toward Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue (57th Street)
B5 Northbound No regular service (present)
NYCS Q (under construction) toward 96th Street (72nd Street)
Island platform, not in service Handicapped/disabled access
Island platform, doors will open on the left Handicapped/disabled access
Northbound NYCS F toward Jamaica – 179th Street (Roosevelt Island)

From the street, there are two short escalators and a stair from the northwest corner, a staircase from the southwest corner, and a short elevator hidden around the corner from the escalators. From the fare control, there are two long escalators and a stair to an intermediate level, and then two shorter escalators and a pair of stairs to a lower mezzanine. Here, the bank splits and there are two separate tubes of two escalators and a stair each to each platform. The platform elevator has its own two turnstiles, and makes three stops (mezzanine, upper platform, lower platform).

IND side[edit]

The IND side of the station is the only side of the station in use as of 2014. It may look like a typical one-track, one-side platform station on each level, but on both levels behind the station walls would reveal much more to the station. The walls taken down would expand the "side" platform into an island platform, also revealing an unused track. This track will be used for the connection between the BMT 63rd Street Line and the under construction Second Avenue Subway. When the station was built, it was decided to build a wall to separate the two tracks, as the IND (southern) tracks have always been used, while the BMT (northern) tracks have never seen regular service, only to be used for non-rush hour train storage. As part of the ongoing Second Avenue Subway construction, the walls are being removed as of 2012, preparing the north side of each platform for future cross-platform interchange. The station is also being expanded.[3]

East of this station on the IND side, the turnouts for a connection to Phase 3 of the Second Avenue Subway are clearly visible.[4] Also to the east, the eastbound track of the IND line rises to the upper level of the tunnel, as both IND tracks are located on the upper level of 63rd Street Tunnel for the trip under the East River. The two tracks on the lower level of that tunnel are being connected to the Long Island Rail Road via the East Side Access project. The ESA project will bring trains from the LIRR Main line to Grand Central Terminal. The lower level has not yet been used.

BMT side[edit]

East of this station on the BMT side, the planned track connections to the Second Avenue Subway curve slightly north. After the tracks end, the roadbed goes on for a few hundred feet before merging into the tunnels of Phase 1 of the IND Second Avenue Line, which is under construction as of 2012.[5][6]

As part of Second Avenue Subway renovations, artist Jean Shin would install artwork in the station that would decorate the station walls with a ceramic and glass photographic installation that will include archival photos from the New York Transit Museum.[7]

Entrances and exits[edit]

There are currently 3 entrances and exits:

  • Stair on the SW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street[8]
  • Escalator bank and stair within building on the NW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street[8]
  • Handicapped/disabled access Elevator on the north side of 63rd Street west of Lexington Avenue, within the same building[8]

Four entrances and exits are under construction:

  • Entrance 1: Escalators on the SE corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street[8]
  • Handicapped/disabled access Entrance 2: Elevator on the SW corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street[8]
  • Entrance 3: Stair on the east side of Third Avenue between 63rd Street and 64th Street[8]
  • Entrance 4: Stair on the SW corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street[8]

Ancillary buildings[edit]

As with the three Second Avenue Subway stations under construction, this station will have two ancillary buildings:

  • Ancillary 1: 124 East 63rd Street[8]
  • Ancillary 2: North side of 63rd Street between Third and Lexington Avenues[8]


Unused tracks on BMT side
Work on BMT side

The station was built using a combination of cut-and-cover construction and tunneling machines.[9][10]

IND side[edit]

Construction on the 63rd Street Line, including the Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street station, began on November 25, 1969.[11] Although the station was completed in 1983, when it was named the Construction Achievement Project of the Year by the Metropolitan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, it did not open for passenger service until 1989 when the 63rd Street Tunnel was partially completed.[1][5][12]

When the IND side was finished in 1983, the BMT side was not planned to be put into service for many years.[13] The BMT side was abandoned and walled off with a "temporary" orange brick wall, and a false ceiling was placed on the upper level's IND side. Finishing touches for the station were only applied to the IND side of the station.[13]

When the 63rd Street Connector to the IND Queens Boulevard Line opened in 2001,[11] a free MetroCard out-of-system transfer to the Lexington Avenue / 59th Street station was added. This was to provide a transfer to the IRT Lexington Avenue Line for F train customers as such a connection had been provided at the Lexington Avenue – 53rd Street station along the previous routing of the F train.[14]

BMT side[edit]

Both sides of the station were part of the MTA's 1968 Program for Action.[15] About US$1,230,000,000[16] was spent to create three tunnels and a half-dozen holes as part of construction on the Second Avenue and 63rd Street Lines. Construction would cease on the Second Avenue Subway in 1975 due to the city's severe fiscal crisis,[17][18] so the BMT side was closed off to the public.[13]

In 2007, the Second Avenue Subway resumed construction.[19] The station is to be renovated and expanded significantly as a result of that construction.[8] It is believed that the BMT side would be put into service as early as December 2016.[20][21][22]

On September 22, 2011, a Second Avenue Subway tunnel-boring machine completed its run to the Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street station's bellmouth.[23][24] Controlled blasting for the section of tunnel between Third Avenue/63rd Street and Second Avenue/65th Street was completed in March 2012.[25]

The orange false walls in the station were removed in May 2013.[26] Mesh fences within the blue walls on both levels allow passengers to see the BMT tracks from the IND side.

Renovation of the station will be completed by June 13, 2015.[27]



  1. ^ a b Lorch, Donatella (October 29, 1989). "The 'Subway to Nowhere' Now Goes Somewhere". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  2. ^ "Facts and Figures: Annual Subway Ridership". New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  3. ^ "Subway Disruptions Continue – All in the Name of Progress". The Main Street Wire. November 23, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2014. 
  4. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGx0HlxYFKw The provision for the future 2nd Avenue Subway can be seen toward the left, at the 5:18 mark into the video.
  5. ^ a b Brennan, Joseph (2002). "Abandoned Stations: Lexington Ave (63 St) north side". Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  6. ^ Solis, Julia (2005). New York Underground: The Anatomy of a City. New York: Routledge. p. 93. ISBN 0-415-95013-9. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  7. ^ Ben Yakas (2014-01-22). "Here's What The Second Avenue Subway Will Look Like When It's Filled With Art". Gothamist. Retrieved 2014-05-05. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j mta.info—February 2012 Newsletter
  9. ^ "Despite Protests, Judge Allows Work on 63d St. Subway Station". The New York Times. May 18, 1976. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  10. ^ Burks, Edward C. (September 24, 1976). "Coming: Light at End Of the 63d St. Tunnel". The New York Times. p. 29. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  11. ^ a b http://maloney.house.gov/issue/63rd-st-tunnel-connector
  12. ^ "Construction Achievement Project of the Year Award". ASCE Metropolitan Section. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  13. ^ a b c Abandoned Stations—Lexington Ave (63 St) north side
  14. ^ Out-of-system transfer detail, MTA.info
  15. ^ "1968 NYCTA Expansion Plans (Picture)". Second Avenue Sagas. Retrieved December 2013. 
  16. ^ nycsubway.org—The New York Transit Authority in the 1970s
  17. ^ "The Line That Time Forgot – Second Avenue Subway". Nymag.com. April 5, 2004. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  18. ^ FAQ: Completed Portions of the 2nd Avenue Subway. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  19. ^ "Second Avenue subway groundbreaking: Is 4th time the charm?". The Journal News. April 12, 2007. Retrieved April 18, 2007. 
  20. ^ MTA releases Second Avenue subway images, says project on track NY Daily News, November 5, 2013
  21. ^ MTA.info—Second Avenue Subway Quarterly Report Q4 2013
  22. ^ The Launch Box—Fewer Than 1,000 Days to Go!
  23. ^ Greg B. Smith (June 2, 2013). "Second Avenue subway plagued with dangerous conditions and safety violations". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  24. ^ "Second Avenue Subway has a breakthrough moment; several billion more are all the M.T.A. wants". Capital NY. September 23, 2011. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  25. ^ mta.info—March 2012 Newsletter
  26. ^ Subway Disruptions Continue – All in the Name of Progress. November 23, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  27. ^ mta.info—May 2014 Newsletter

External links[edit]

Media related to Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street (New York City Subway) at Wikimedia Commons