Lexington Avenue/59th Street (New York City Subway)

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Lexington Avenue/59th Street
NYCS-bull-trans-4.svg NYCS-bull-trans-5.svg NYCS-bull-trans-6.svg NYCS-bull-trans-6d.svg NYCS-bull-trans-N.svg NYCS-bull-trans-Q.svg NYCS-bull-trans-R.svg
New York City Subway rapid transit station complex
Lex Ave-59th Street Entrance.JPG
Street stair
Station statistics
Address East 59th Street & Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Borough Manhattan
Locale Midtown Manhattan, Upper East Side
Coordinates 40°45′45″N 73°58′04″W / 40.762471°N 73.9679°W / 40.762471; -73.9679Coordinates: 40°45′45″N 73°58′04″W / 40.762471°N 73.9679°W / 40.762471; -73.9679
Division A (IRT), B (BMT)
Line       BMT Broadway Line
      IRT Lexington Avenue Line
Services       4 all times (all times)
      5 all except late nights (all except late nights)
      6 all times (all times) <6>weekdays until 8:45 p.m., peak direction (weekdays until 8:45 p.m., peak direction)
      N all times (all times)
      Q weekdays (weekdays)
      R all except late nights (all except late nights)
System transfers With MetroCard only:
      F all times (all times) at Lexington Avenue–63rd Street (63rd Street Lines)
Transit connections Bus transport NYCT Bus: M101, M102, M103, Q32
Bus transport MTA Bus: QM2, QM3, QM20
Structure Underground
Levels 3
Other information
Opened July 1, 1948; 68 years ago (1948-07-01)[1]
Wireless service Wi-Fi[2]
Traffic
Passengers (2015) 21,407,792 (station complex)[3]Decrease 0.7%
Rank 9 out of 422

Lexington Avenue/59th Street is a New York City Subway station complex shared by the IRT Lexington Avenue Line and the BMT Broadway Line. It is located at Lexington Avenue between 59th and 60th Streets, on the border of Midtown and the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The station complex is the eighth busiest in the system, with 21,282,767 passengers in 2013.[3]

A free out-of-system MetroCard transfer is available to the IND 63rd Street Line (F train) by exiting the station and walking to the Lexington Avenue–63rd Street station. The complex is served by the:

  • 4, 6, and N trains at all times
  • 5 and R trains at all times except late nights
  • Q train during weekdays
  • <6> train during weekdays in peak direction

IRT Lexington Avenue Line platforms[edit]

59th Street
NYCS-bull-trans-4.svg NYCS-bull-trans-5.svg NYCS-bull-trans-6.svg NYCS-bull-trans-6d.svg
New York City Subway rapid transit station
59 Street IRT panoramic.jpg
An uptown 6 train of R142A cars enters on the local platform
Station statistics
Division A (IRT)
Line       IRT Lexington Avenue Line
Services       4 all times (all times)
      5 all except late nights (all except late nights)
      6 all times (all times) <6>weekdays until 8:45 p.m., peak direction (weekdays until 8:45 p.m., peak direction)
Levels 2
Platforms 4 side platforms (2 on each level)
Tracks 4 (2 on each level)
Other information
Opened July 17, 1918; 98 years ago (1918-07-17)[4] (upper level)
November 15, 1962; 53 years ago (1962-11-15) (lower level)
Station succession
Next north 68th Street–Hunter College (local): 4 late nights 6 all times <6>weekdays until 8:45 p.m., peak direction
86th Street (express): 4 all except late nights 5 all except late nights
Next south 51st Street (local): 4 late nights 6 all times <6>weekdays until 8:45 p.m., peak direction
Grand Central–42nd Street (express): 4 all except late nights 5 all except late nights
Station mosaic name tablet on the upper level
Mosaic frieze on the upper level platform's wall

59th Street on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line is an express station. It has two stacked levels, each of which has two tracks and two side platforms. The upper level is used by local trains, and the lower level is used by express trains. The levels are separated by the BMT Broadway Line's platform directly underneath the local platforms and a mezzanine between the BMT platform and the express level. Long escalators connect the local and express platforms directly.

The station originally served local trains only.[5] The express platforms were opened on November 15, 1962 to reduce transfer congestion at Grand Central–42nd Street, and to allow transfers between the express trains and BMT trains to Queens. Even before the express platforms were added, this station was the busiest on the line.[6] Construction for the express station began on August 10, 1959. Along with the new express platforms, a new mezzanine was built above it to connect it to the local station, and the Broadway Line station. Two high speed escalators were added to connect the local and express platforms. Two additional high speed escalators were built to connect the local platforms with the new mezzanine. The express station opened three months prior than originally planned. As part of the plan, the local platforms were extended to accommodate 10-car trains. In addition, new entrances and booths were added to the 59th Street ends of the northbound and southbound sides. The whole cost of the project was $6,500,000.[7]

The station used to have all green tile which has been covered up except for one "59th Street" sign near the south end of the northbound platform. There are whimsical stylized mosaics of coffee cups and slippers in varied colors at random spacing near the stairways to the Broadway and IRT local trains. This station is currently being renovated in conjunction with recent construction of the Bloomberg Tower at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. Although a new entrance was constructed within the building, it has remained closed due to fears of icicle formation on a railing that is part of the building's design, directly above the street entrance. A legal battle between the city and the building's management over who is responsible for modifying the design has caused the entrance to be temporarily closed between 2003 and 2006.

There is a direct exit to Bloomingdale's from the uptown local platform's fare control (this exit was used in the 2008 film Cloverfield). The underpass near the south end of the station was originally the northbound platform for the extension of the BMT Broadway Line to Queens. That line had been planned as two separate, one-track tunnels, one each under 59th and 60th Streets. Later on, it was decided to alter this layout in favor of a single two-track tunnel under 60th Street. The semi-completed platform under 59th Street was then converted to an underpass between the north and southbound platforms of the Lexington Avenue Line local tracks.

On the upper level, north of the station, there is a storage/lay up track between the two tracks. It ends at a bumper block at its north end. It merges with the two local tracks on its southern end.

Image gallery[edit]

BMT Broadway Line platform[edit]

Lexington Avenue/59th Street
NYCS-bull-trans-N.svg NYCS-bull-trans-Q.svg NYCS-bull-trans-R.svg
New York City Subway rapid transit station
NYC Lexington Ave and 59th station.jpg
Platform view
Station statistics
Division B (BMT)
Line       BMT Broadway Line
Services       N all times (all times)
      Q weekdays (weekdays)
      R all except late nights (all except late nights)
Platforms 1 island platform
Tracks 2
Other information
Opened September 1, 1919; 96 years ago (1919-09-01)[8]
Accessibility Same-platform wheelchair transfer available
Station succession
Next north Queensboro Plaza (Astoria): N all times Q weekdays
Queens Plaza (Queens Boulevard): R all except late nights
Next south Fifth Avenue–59th Street: N all times Q weekdays R all except late nights

Lexington Avenue/59th Street on the BMT Broadway Line has two tracks and one island platform, and two mezzanines. The Lexington Avenue mezzanine has two staircases to each of the IRT local platforms, an escalator to the downtown platform, and three staircases down to the center level. The Third Avenue side was constructed in the late 1960s, with the same red tile that was used during renovation of Bowling Green in 1978. It has up and down escalators and an adjoining staircase, and is open part-time only, with four street staircases on Third Avenue. The new entrance is a result of the platform extension along the same side during the 1960s.

The distinctive "Lex" mosaics were preserved during the renovation, by installing pre-arranged blocks along the station wall that cup the Lexington Avenue Line above it. The wall tiles have the red "Lex" evenly spaced out, similar to the IND style, with blue background, green borders, and white lettering. In 2002, the station received a major overhaul. It has received a state of repairs as well as upgraded the station for ADA compliance and restoring the original late 1910s tiling. The MTA repaired the staircases, re-tiling for the walls, new tiling on the floors, upgrading the station's lights and the public address system, installing ADA yellow safety threads along the platform edge, new signs, and new trackbeds in both directions. The station could not be made ADA-compliant to install elevators on the platform, because the platform columns on the Lexington Avenue side make the platform too narrow for a wheelchair to navigate.

Despite its name, the station is not located on Lexington Avenue and 59th Street. It is actually located on Lexington and 60th Street. Originally, the Broadway subway was to run to Queens over the Queensboro Bridge. Because the side streets are so narrow, the Queens-bound track was to run under 59th Street and the return track under 60th Street.[9] There are exits however to Lexington Avenue and 59th Streets via the local IRT platforms.

The Broadway subway plan was changed in 1915 to route both tracks into 60th Street and to cross the East River by a tunnel just north of the Queensboro Bridge. The 59th Street crossing was obviously now useless, and at 60th Street, the subway would have to be at a lower grade, on its way to the 60th Street Tunnel. The 59th Street crossing was worked into a pedestrian underpass for the IRT 59th Street station, which turned into a way to get between the downtown platform and the direct subway entrance to Bloomingdale's on the uptown platform. That section is still in use, and the floor level is that of the never-completed BMT station. The 60th Street crossing was mostly destroyed when the existing station was built at a lower grade. A door in the southern wall across from the platform opens into a remaining unused space,[10] and suggests the platform level of the original grade, which is the same as the 59th Street underpass.

Station layout[edit]

G Street Level Exits/Entrances, connection to F train at Lexington Avenue–63rd Street
B1 Third Avenue Mezzanine Exits/Entrances to Broadway Line platforms
East Mezzanine Exits/Entrances to northbound platforms
Side platform, doors will open on the right
Northbound local NYCS-bull-trans-6.svg NYCS-bull-trans-6d.svg toward Parkchester PM rush hours, Pelham Bay Park all times (NYCS-bull-trans-4.svg toward Woodlawn late nights) (68th Street–Hunter College)
Southbound local NYCS-bull-trans-6.svg NYCS-bull-trans-6d.svg toward Brooklyn Bridge–City Hall (NYCS-bull-trans-4.svg toward New Lots Avenue late nights) (51st Street)
Side platform, doors will open on the right
West Mezzanine Exits/Entrances to southbound platforms
B2 Crossunder Crossunder between local platforms
Southbound NYCS-bull-trans-N.svg toward Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue via Sea Beach (Fifth Avenue–59th Street)
NYCS-bull-trans-Q.svg toward Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue via Brighton (weekdays) (Fifth Avenue–59th Street)
NYCS-bull-trans-R.svg toward Bay Ridge–95th Street (Fifth Avenue–59th Street)
Island platform, doors will open on the left
Northbound NYCS-bull-trans-N.svg (NYCS-bull-trans-Q.svg weekdays) toward Astoria–Ditmars Boulevard (Queensboro Plaza)
NYCS-bull-trans-R.svg toward Forest Hills–71st Avenue (Queens Plaza)
B3 Mezzanine Transfer between platforms
B4 Side platform, doors will open on the right
Northbound express NYCS-bull-trans-4.svg toward Woodlawn (86th Street)
NYCS-bull-trans-5.svg toward Nereid Avenue PM rush hours, Eastchester–Dyre Avenue all times (86th Street)
Southbound express NYCS-bull-trans-4.svg toward Crown Heights–Utica Avenue (Grand Central–42nd Street)
NYCS-bull-trans-5.svg toward Flatbush Avenue weekdays, Bowling Green weekends (Grand Central–42nd Street)
Side platform, doors will open on the right

The center level is the nerve center of this vital complex, and is located at the 60th Street/Lexington Avenue end. Installed in conjunction with the 1962 opening of the lower level IRT express platforms, it makes a seamless and easy transfer between all lines from the three different areas mentioned above. There are three staircases up to the BMT platform, two down to each of the lower level IRT express platforms, and one staircase and escalator up to the IRT local platforms on the upper level.

Artwork[edit]

The mezzanine between the IRT express platforms and the BMT platform has a large-scale mosaic mural entitled Blooming (1996), by Elizabeth Murray. It covers all four walls of the mezzanine area. It takes its name from the nearby Bloomingdale's department store.[11] The mosaic features larger versions of the coffee cups and slippers found on the platform walls, with the text: "In dreams begin responsibilities" and "Conduct your blooming in the noise and whip of the whirlwind". The text floats from the coffee cups and are excerpted from poetry by Delmore Schwartz and Gwendolyn Brooks.

Entrances and exits[edit]

The complex has a total of 11 staircase entrances.[12]

Exit location Exit type Number of exits Platforms primarily served
NW corner of Lexington Avenue and 59th Street Staircase 1 Lexington Avenue Line (southbound)
SE corner of Lexington Avenue and 59th Street
(direct entry/exit to Bloomingdale's)
Staircase 1 Lexington Avenue Line (northbound)
SW corner of Lexington Avenue and 59th Street Staircase 1 Lexington Avenue Line (southbound)
NE corner of Lexington Avenue and 60th Street Staircase 1 Broadway Line
Lexington Avenue Line (northbound)
NW corner of Lexington Avenue and 60th Street Staircase 1 Broadway Line
Lexington Avenue Line (southbound)
SE corner of Lexington Avenue and 60th Street Staircase 1 Broadway Line
Lexington Avenue Line (northbound)
SW corner of Lexington Avenue and 60th Street Staircase 1 Broadway Line
Lexington Avenue Line (southbound)
NE corner of Third Avenue and 60th Street Staircase 1 Broadway Line
NW corner of Third Avenue and 60th Street Staircase 1 Broadway Line
SE corner of Third Avenue and 60th Street Staircase 1 Broadway Line
SW corner of Third Avenue and 60th Street Staircase 1 Broadway Line

References[edit]

  1. ^ New York Times, Transfer Points Under Higher Fare, June 30, 1948, page 19
  2. ^ "NYC Subway Wireless – Active Stations". Transit Wireless Wifi. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  3. ^ a b "Facts and Figures: Annual Subway Ridership". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2014-04-06. 
  4. ^ New York Times, Lexington Av. Line to be Opened Today, July 17, 1918, page 13
  5. ^ "East Side Subway to Get Express Stop at 59th St.", New York Times; April 8, 1959; page 1
  6. ^
    • "IRT Will Open Express Station at Lexington and 59th Thursday", New York Times; November 9, 1962; page 37
    • "IRT Express Stop Opens at 59th St.", New York Times; November 16, 1962; page 22
  7. ^ "New 59th Street Express Station brochure". www.thejoekorner.com. New York City Transit Authority. November 15, 1962. Retrieved 2016-01-25. 
  8. ^ New York Times, Subway to Open Two New Stations, August 31, 1919, page 25
  9. ^ Lexington Ave (BMT) unfinished platforms
  10. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QphrZ06AXJE[dead link]
  11. ^ http://web.mta.info/mta/aft/permanentart/permart.html?agency=nyct&line=R&artist=1&station=5
  12. ^ "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Midtown East/Grand Central" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York). 2015. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 

External links[edit]