191st Street (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line)

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191st Street
New York City Subway rapid transit station
WTM3 The Fixers F-30.jpg
Station statistics
Address West 191st Street & Saint Nicholas Avenue
New York, NY 10040
Borough Manhattan
Locale Washington Heights
Coordinates 40°51′18″N 73°55′44″W / 40.855°N 73.929°W / 40.855; -73.929Coordinates: 40°51′18″N 73°55′44″W / 40.855°N 73.929°W / 40.855; -73.929
Division A (IRT)
Line IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line
Services       1 all times (all times)
Transit connections Bus transport NYCT Bus: M3, M101
Structure Underground
Depth 180 feet (55 m)
Platforms 2 side platforms
Tracks 2
Other information
Opened January 14, 1911 (105 years ago) (1911-01-14)[1]
Wireless service Wi-Fi[2]
Passengers (2015) 2,713,440[3]Increase 0.5%
Rank 186 out of 422
Station succession
Next north Dyckman Street: 1 all times
Next south 181st Street: 1 all times

191st Street is a station on the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line of the New York City Subway. Located at the intersection of St. Nicholas Avenue and 191st Street in Manhattan, it is served by the 1 train at all times.


The West Side Branch of the first subway was extended northward to a temporary terminus of 221st Street and Broadway on March 12, 1906 with the station at 191st Street not yet open.[4][5][6] The elevators and other work had not yet been completed, and 191st Street did not open to the public until January 14, 1911.[1][7]

In 1948, platforms on the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line from 103rd Street to 238th Street were lengthened to 514 feet to allow full ten-car express trains to platform. Previously the stations could only platform six car local trains. The platform extensions were opened in stages. On April 6, 1948, the stations from 103rd Street to Dyckman Street had their platform extensions opened, with the exception of the 125th Street, which had its opened on June 11, 1948.[8][9]

Station layout[edit]

G Street level Exit/Entrance
(Bank of elevators in northern exit. Note: Platforms and street level are not accessible)
M Mezzanine Fare control, station agent
Platform level
Side platform, doors open on the right
Northbound NYCS-bull-trans-1.svg toward Van Cortlandt Park–242nd Street (Dyckman Street)
Southbound NYCS-bull-trans-1.svg toward South Ferry (181st Street)
Side platform, doors open on the right

The 191st Street station has two tracks and two side platforms. There are also covered pedestrian footbridges connecting the two platforms, so people on the footbridges cannot see the tracks and platforms (and vice versa).[10]

At approximately 180 feet (55 m) below street level, it is the deepest station in the New York City Subway system. In 1954, Victor Hess used the station to conduct experiments on the nature of cosmic rays,[10][11] the discovery of which he won the 1936 Nobel Prize in Physics for;[12] Hess's experiments at the station involved measuring the radioactivity of the granite deposits above the station.[13] Despite this station's depth, the next station north, Dyckman Street, is just above ground level. This is because 191st Street is at nearly the highest point on the island of Manhattan and this station is deep in the Washington Heights Mine Tunnel, while Dyckman Street runs along a deep valley almost at sea level and its station is at the tunnel portal, despite the fact that both stations are at the same elevation above sea level.

There are two entrances/exits from this station via the same fare control. The main entrance/exit at 191st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue is at the summit of a hill and accessible only by a set of four elevators. The elevators to the platforms still utilize elevator operators, and the station is one of the only stations in the system to do so.[14] The other entrance/exit, at 190th Street and Broadway, is at a hillside and accessed via a three-block long passageway, which passes under Wadsworth Terrace and Avenue.[15]

In 1981, the MTA listed the 191st Street station among the 69 most deteriorated stations in the subway system.[16] The station was completely renovated in 2003–2004 by the New York City Transit Authority. All of the deteriorating tiles and mosaics were replaced with exact reproductions of the originals made by Serpentile, a company that does reproductions of original subway motifs. The tiles are all unglazed porcelain a half inch wide. Each of the 72 columns had to be plastered and prepared for four-sided mosaics that wrap around each one. There are 72 vertical panels, and over 3500 linear feet of mosaics. New York City Transit construction crews did all of the tile and installation work.


The 900-foot-long (270 m) passageway between the station's Broadway entrance and the station itself is not maintained by the MTA, despite being marked as a subway entrance. It is actually a property of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and is officially called "Tunnel Street." The tunnel is also used as a connector between western and eastern Washington Heights;[15] passengers using the other entrance, at 191st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, need to take an elevator to access the station due to that intersection's height, and the elevators at that entrance are considered a convenient way to traverse the neighborhood without walking up a hill.[14]

In the early 1990s, as the city's crime rates reached an all-time high, the station was considered very dangerous, with 11 crimes having taken place there in the year 1990, many of which were suspected to happen in the tunnel. The tunnel was dimly lit, covered with graffiti, and strewn with garbage at the time.[15] In September 2014, improvements started on the tunnel, which area residents had complained about. The tunnel, which had graffiti and illegal bicycle riding, was slated to get several murals and some new LED lighting.[17]

The passageway has been painted with murals since the late 2000s, in an effort to beautify the tunnel. In 2008, a mural was painted on the passageway leading up from Broadway to the station, as part of the Groundswell Community Mural Project. The mural was called "New York is a Rollercoaster".[18] It was later vandalized, and in May 2015, it was painted over.[19] Since then, the passageway's artwork has consisted of five murals. As part of a tunnel beautification program, the New York City Department of Transportation chose four artists and one team of artists, out of an applicant pool of 150. Each were chosen to paint a 200 feet (61 m) section of the tunnel. From the Broadway entrance to the station fare control, the artworks are Queen Andrea's "Prismatic Power Phrases"; Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn's "Caterpillar Time Travel"; Cekis's "It's Like A Jungle/Aveces Es Como Una Jungle"; Nick Kuszy]'s "Warp Zone"; and Cope2's "Art is Life". For $15,000 each, the artists worked for over a week on their art.[20][19]


  1. ^ a b New York Times, untitled, January 22, 1911, page X11
  2. ^ "NYC Subway Wireless – Active Stations". Transit Wireless Wifi. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  3. ^ "Facts and Figures: Annual Subway Ridership". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ New York Times, Farthest North in Town by the Interborough, January 14, 1907, page 18
  5. ^ District, New York (State) Public Service Commission First (1913-01-01). Report of the Public Service Commission for the First District of the State of New York. J.B. Lyon Company. 
  6. ^ New York Times, New Subway Station Open, April 15, 1906, page 1
  7. ^ District, New York (State) Public Service Commission 1st (1912-01-01). Report of the Public Service Commission for the First District of the State of New York. J.B. Lyon Company, printers. 
  8. ^ Report for the three and one-half years ending June 30, 1949. New York City Board of Transportation. 1949. 
  9. ^ "MORE LONG PLATFORMS; Five Subway Stations on IRT to Accommodate 10-Car Trains". The New York Times. 1948-07-10. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  10. ^ a b Pirmann, David; Darlington, Peggy. "IRT West Side Line: 191st Street". www.nycsubway.org. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  11. ^ "Cosmic Rays at 191st St". New York Daily News. June 2, 1996. Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. 
  12. ^ Breisky, Bill (2012-08-07). "When Victor Hess Discovered Cosmic Rays in a Hydrogen Balloon". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  13. ^ "This Month in Physics History". www.aps.org. American Physical Society. April 2010. Retrieved 2016-07-31. 
  14. ^ a b Grynbaum, Michael M. (April 28, 2011). "The Subway's Elevator Operators, a Reassuring Amenity of Another Era". New York Times. Retrieved 2016-07-28. 
  15. ^ a b c Kurtz, Josh (1991-08-12). "Washington Heights Journal; A Subway Passageway Just for the Courageous". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  16. ^ Gargan, Edward A. (June 11, 1981). "AGENCY LISTS ITS 69 MOST DETERIORATED SUBWAY STATIONS". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 August 2016. 
  17. ^ Lindsay Armstrong (2 September 2015). "Dark, Dirty 191st Street 1 Train Tunnel to Get Safety Improvements". DNA Info. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  18. ^ Belle Benfield. "New York is a Rollercoaster". Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  19. ^ a b Lindsay Armstrong (6 May 2015). "Top Street Artists Picked to Paint 191st Street 1 Train Tunnel". DNA Info. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  20. ^ "Vivid Street Art Breathes Life Into 191st Street Subway Tunnel". Gothamist. 18 May 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 

External links[edit]