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; 25 years ago (1989-10-29)[1]
Accessible Handicapped/disabled access
Passengers (2014) 4,479,963[2]Increase 0.4%
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 beige-white wall tiles, which replaced the orange 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.

The station's upper level is 140 feet (43 m) deep, making the station among the system's deepest. This depth is because it has to go under the IRT Lexington Avenue Line and other existing infrastructure.[3]

Station layout[edit]

G Street Level Exit/Entrance, MetroCard connection 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-bull-trans-Q.svg (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-bull-trans-F.svg toward Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue (57th Street)
B5 Northbound No regular service (present)
NYCS-bull-trans-Q.svg (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-bull-trans-F.svg 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 2015. Built to look like a typical one-track, one-side platform station on each level, a look behind the station walls would reveal the "side" platforms to be island platforms, also revealing an unused track on each level. 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 have been removed as of 2012, preparing the north side of each platform for future cross-platform interchange. The station is also being expanded.[4] There are blue walls separating most of the IND and BMT sides as of January 2015.[5]

East of this station on the IND side are turnouts for a connection to Phase 3 of the Second Avenue Subway, clearly visible from a moving train,[6] which would allow future service from Queens towards Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. 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, but is currently unused.

BMT side[edit]

Unused tracks on BMT side

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 2015.[3][7]

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.[8]

Entrances and exits[edit]

There are currently 3 entrances and exits, with 4 under construction.[9]

Exit location Exit Type Number of exits Status
Within building, NW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street Escalator and Staircase 1 Open
Next to 135 E 63rd Street
NW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street
Elevator Handicapped/disabled access 1 Open
SW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street Staircase 1 Open
Entrance 1
Within building at SE corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Escalators 1 Under construction
Entrance 2
NW corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Elevator Handicapped/disabled access 1 Under construction
Entrance 3
NE corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Staircase 1 Under construction
Entrance 4
SW corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Staircase 1 Under construction

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[9]
  • Ancillary 2: North side of 63rd Street between Third and Lexington Avenues[9]


The station was built using a combination of cut-and-cover construction and tunneling machines.[10][11]

IND side[edit]

New wall tiles on the Queens-bound platform in May 2015

Construction on the 63rd Street Line, including the Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street station, began on November 25, 1969.[12] 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][3][13]

When the IND side was finished in 1983, the BMT side was not planned to be put into service for many years.[3] 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.[3]

When the 63rd Street Connector to the IND Queens Boulevard Line opened in 2001,[12] 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]

Work on BMT side

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.[3]

In 2007, the Second Avenue Subway resumed construction.[19] The station is to be renovated and expanded significantly as a result of that construction.[9] 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. Some of the blue wall temporarily came down in December 2014, revealing that the BMT side has large white and grey panels on the track side that have been, as of February 2015, applied to the walls on the IND side as well. This differs vastly from the small beige tiles that were on the IND side of the tracks from 1989 to 2013.[5]

Renovation of the station was estimated to be finished by Summer 2015, but the completion date has been pushed back to September 2015.[27][28][29] As of April 2015, renovation of the station is 88% complete.[30]



  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". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2015-04-27. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Brennan, Joseph (2002). "Abandoned Stations: Lexington Ave (63 St) north side". Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  4. ^ "Subway Disruptions Continue – All in the Name of Progress". The Main Street Wire. November 23, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Cuozzo, Steve (December 7, 2014). "First look at a Second Avenue Subway station". Retrieved December 8, 2014. 
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ a b c d mta.info—February 2012 Newsletter
  10. ^ "Despite Protests, Judge Allows Work on 63d St. Subway Station". The New York Times. May 18, 1976. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ a b http://maloney.house.gov/issue/63rd-st-tunnel-connector
  13. ^ "Construction Achievement Project of the Year Award". ASCE Metropolitan Section. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  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
  28. ^ mta.info-April 2015 Newsletter
  29. ^ March 2015 report from Transit & Bus Committee
  30. ^ "New Photos Show Second Avenue Subway Stations Nearing Completion". Gothamist. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 

External links[edit]

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