Lexington Avenue–63rd Street (63rd Street lines)
Lexington Avenue–63 Street
|New York City Subway rapid transit station|
Lexington Avenue & East 63rd Street|
New York, NY 10065
|Locale||Upper East Side, Lenox Hill|
|Line||IND/BMT 63rd Street Lines|
F (all times) |
N (limited weekday rush hour service only)
Q (all times)
R (one a.m. rush hour trip in the northbound direction only)
With MetroCard only:|
4 (all times)
5 (all times except late nights)
6 (all times) <6> (weekdays until 8:45 p.m., peak direction)
N (all times)
R (all except late nights)
W (weekdays only) at Lexington Avenue/59th Street
(Transfer stations are not accessible)
NYCT Bus: M101, M102, M103|
MTA Bus: BxM1
|Depth||100 feet (30 m)|
2 island platforms (1 on each level)|
|Tracks||4 (2 on each level)|
|Opened||October 29, 1989|
|Rebuilt||January 13, 2011to January 1, 2017 (for Second Avenue Subway)|
|Former/other names||Lexington Avenue|
|Passengers (2017)||6,389,408 26.9%|
|Rank||70 out of 425|
72nd Street (2nd Avenue): N Q R |
Roosevelt Island (63rd Street): F
57th Street (6th Avenue): temporarily closed for construction|
47th–50th Streets–Rockefeller Center (6th Avenue): F
57th Street–Seventh Avenue (Broadway): N Q
72nd Street (2nd Avenue): N Q R |
Roosevelt Island (63rd Street): F
47th–50th Streets–Rockefeller Center (6th Avenue): F |
Times Square–42nd Street (Broadway): N Q
Lexington Avenue–63rd Street (formerly Lexington Avenue) is a New York City Subway station in Lenox Hill, Manhattan, shared by the IND and BMT 63rd Street Lines. Located at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street, it is served by the F and Q trains at all times, by limited N trains during rush hours, and by one A.M. rush hour R train in the northbound direction only. The station has two platform levels; trains headed southbound to downtown and Brooklyn use the upper level, while trains headed northbound to uptown and Queens use the lower level. This is one of the deepest stations in the subway system, requiring several banks of long escalators.
Construction started at this station in 1969, and as a result of the New York City fiscal crisis in 1975, the station did not open until 1989. Originally, the station was intended to be a transfer point between passengers from the Sixth Avenue–Queens service and from the Broadway–Second Avenue service. This station was designed to allow for cross-platform transfers. However, in 1975, while the station was being built, construction was halted on the Second Avenue Subway. As a result, the side of the station intended for service to Second Avenue, the BMT side, was walled off with a temporary orange brick wall. Also, space intended for an exit at Third Avenue was left unused. While the Sixth Avenue side opened for service in 1989, the other side was only used for storing Broadway Line trains. The station appeared as if it had one side platform on each level.
However, in 2007, construction resumed on the Second Avenue Subway, and as part of the line's construction, the BMT side of the station would finally be used. The orange wall was removed and replaced by a temporary barrier. Beige-white wall tiles were installed on the station walls adjacent to the tracks. The never-opened entrance at Third Avenue was redesigned with multiple elevators, and the station's false ceiling was removed. Before Second Avenue Subway service began operating, the temporary walls were removed, revealing the BMT side of the station. On January 1, 2017, the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway opened, with Q trains, and limited rush hour N trains serving the BMT half of the station. Ridership has increased at the station since.
The current 63rd Street Line was the final version of proposals for a northern midtown tunnel from the IND Queens Boulevard Line to the Second and Sixth Avenue Lines, which date back to the IND Second System of the 1920s and 1930s. The Second System was a plan to expand the city owned and operated Independent Subway System (IND), which often ran in direct competition with the two privately owned subway companies in the city, Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) and Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT). As a result, the plan for the line only had it connect to two planned IND lines, the Second and Sixth Avenue Lines.:246:417
In 1940, the subway system was unified, with the IRT and the BMT coming under city control. Consequently, plans for the proposed line were modified. The current plans were drawn up in the 1960s under the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Program For Action. Under this plan, the line was to connect to the IND Sixth Avenue and BMT Broadway Lines. As such, the line connecting to the IND Sixth Avenue Line is the IND 63rd Street Line, while the line connecting the BMT Broadway Line is the BMT 63rd Street Line.:5, 21
Construction on the 63rd Street Line, including the Lexington Avenue–63rd Street station, began on November 25, 1969. The station was built using a combination of cut-and-cover construction and tunneling machines. However, after the construction of the Second Avenue Subway ceased in 1975 due to the city's severe fiscal crisis, the BMT 63rd Street Line side, the northern tracks, basically led to a non-existent subway line, so 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 63rd Street Line side, the southern side.:225 Finishing touches were only applied to the IND side of the station. The tracks on the closed-off BMT side were used only to store trains outside of rush hour.
Original station opens
The IND side of the station, the southern side, was completed in 1984, when it was named the Construction Achievement Project of the Year by the Metropolitan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers; however, it did not open for passenger service until October 29, 1989, due to delays in the construction of the multi-level 63rd Street Tunnel, caused by the financial crisis of the 1970s. Upon the station's opening, it operated as a typical one-track, one-side platform station on each level, with only the IND side in use, while the BMT side of each level was hidden beyond an orange tiled false wall. Switches on both levels connected the lines to the west of the station.
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, 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 (LIRR) via the East Side Access project. The project will bring trains from the LIRR's Main Line to Grand Central Terminal, but, as of December 2016, the lower level is currently unused.
East of this station on the BMT side, the planned track connections to the Second Avenue Subway curved slightly north. After the tracks ended, the roadbed went on for a few hundred feet before ending. With the Second Avenue Subway connection, these tunnels now merge into the tunnels of Phase 1 of the IND Second Avenue Line.:93–94
Expansion for the Second Avenue Subway
In 2007, the Second Avenue Subway resumed construction. As part of the project, the station was to undergo renovation to finish the BMT side, which would serve Second Avenue Line trains. The renovation included installation of new platform staircases, new wall tiles, new columns and column cladding, new platform pavings, new entrances/exits, new low-vibration track, and new mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and communication systems. The contract for renovation of the station was awarded to Judlau Contracting on January 13, 2011.
On September 22, 2011, a Second Avenue Subway tunnel-boring machine completed its run to the Lexington Avenue–63rd Street station's bellmouth from 92nd Street and Second Avenue. Controlled blasting for the section of tunnel between Third Avenue/63rd Street and Second Avenue/65th Street was completed in March 2012.
The orange false walls at platform level were removed in 2012 as part of construction, but the orange tiles at the Lexington Avenue mezzanine, as well as on the corridors to platform level, were kept for the time being. In spring 2012, temporary blue walls separating most of the IND and BMT sides were erected for the duration of construction.:14–15 Both sides have large white and grey panels on the track side, as well as "temporary" tiles that say "Lex 63" at regular intervals. This differs vastly from the small beige tiles that were on the IND side of the tracks from 1989 to 2013. New platform signs for the Second Avenue Subway were erected in December 2016.
When the contract was awarded, renovation was estimated to be finished by May 2014, but the completion date had been pushed back constantly, and as of August 2015[update], the completion date was Spring 2016, though this was later pushed back to Summer 2016. As of July 2015[update], the renovation was 90% complete, and as of June 2016[update], 98% complete with only cosmetic finishes and power upgrades to be completed.
To accommodate the increased patronage expected after the beginning of Second Avenue Subway service, the MTA built four new entrances at the intersection of Third Avenue and 63rd Street, leading to a new mezzanine at the eastern end of the station. Passengers travel between the new mezzanine and the platforms using four high-speed elevators, similar to the layout of several other stations deep underground. These elevators are the most space-efficient means of transporting people. These entrances opened on December 30, 2016. The MTA inaugurated Phase 1 of Second Avenue Subway service on January 1, 2017.
When this station was opened in 1989, it had no artwork. As part of Second Avenue Subway renovations, the artwork of Jean Shin, called Elevated, was commissioned by MTA Arts & Design to be installed in the new station areas.
Shin used archival photographs of the 2nd and 3rd Avenue Elevated train (El) to create compositions in ceramic tile, glass mosaic, and laminated glass. The imagery is manipulated and re-configured with each level having a different design. On the south east-corner entrance at Third Avenue, there are ceramic tiles depicting construction beams and the cranes that dismantled the El in the 1940s. At the mezzanine, a mosaic reveals the sky where the train had previously been present. The platform level features semi-transparent and reflective glass depicting vintage scenes of the neighborhood.
This station opened on October 29, 1989 along with the entire IND 63rd Street Line. The Q train served the station on weekdays and the B train stopped there on the weekends and late nights; both services used the Sixth Avenue Line. For the first couple of months after the station opened, the JFK Express to Kennedy Airport also served the station until it was discontinued in 1990. The 63rd Street Tunnel had gained notoriety as the "tunnel to nowhere" both during its planning and after its opening due to its lack of connections in Queens, being only 1500 feet short of the Queens Plaza station. Lexington Avenue–63rd Street was the third-to-last stop before 21st Street–Queensbridge, the line's northern terminus; the 21st Street station was not connected to any other subway station or line in Queens.
On July 22, 2001, concurrent with the closure of the IND Sixth Avenue Line tracks of the Manhattan Bridge, B and Q train service to this station ceased and was replaced with a full-time shuttle. At this time, the northern tracks of the bridge were closed to allow for bridge repairs to take place. The southern BMT Broadway Line tracks were reopened allowing for half of the tracks on the bridge to remain open. On December 16, 2001, the 63rd Street Connector, which was built to connect the IND 63rd Street Line and the IND Queens Boulevard Line officially opened, and the F train was rerouted to serve this station at all times, which it still does to this day.:5:2 When this happened, 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.
The MTA's plans for Second Avenue Subway service extended the Q train (and selected rush-hour N train short turn trips), running via the BMT Broadway Line, along the BMT 63rd Street Line to serve this station, beyond which the trains turn north and run along the Second Avenue Line to 96th Street. This new service pattern was put into effect on January 1, 2017.
|G||Street level||Exit/entrance, MetroCard connection to at Lexington Avenue–59th Street|
|6M||Lexington Avenue Mezzanine||Fare control, station agent, MetroCard machines, elevator to platforms (within separate fare control)|
|Third Avenue Mezzanine||Fare control, station agent, MetroCard machines, elevators to platforms|
|4M||-||Escalator/stairway landing, transfer between platforms|
|Southbound||← toward Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue via Brighton ( limited rush via Sea Beach) (57th Street–Seventh Avenue)|
|Island platform, doors will open on the left, right|
|Southbound||← toward Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue via Culver (47th–50th Streets–Rockefeller Center)|
(Temporarily closed for construction: 57th Street)
|Northbound||( limited rush) toward 96th Street (72nd Street) →|
|Island platform, doors will open on the left, right|
|Northbound||toward Jamaica–179th Street (Roosevelt Island) →|
From the Lexington Avenue entrance, 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).
The station's upper and lower levels are about 140 feet (43 m) and 155 feet (47 m) deep respectively, 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, in addition to the IND tunnels having to go under the East River a short distance to the east. At the original (1989) mezzanine at Lexington Avenue, there are a total of eight escalators, four staircases and two elevators from the fare mezzanine to platform level. There is an in-building entrance with two escalators and a staircase, and another, stand-alone entrance with a staircase, from the street to the Lexington Avenue fare mezzanine. Two additional staircases between the platform levels are at the eastern end of platforms, past the elevator. A third staircase between the platform levels has been constructed.
An eastern mezzanine at Third Avenue, along with stairwells to the platforms, was partially completed in the 1980s but not opened along with the rest of the station. A shaftway, identical to the one on the Lexington Avenue side, contained a single stairway, as well as beams that may have been intended to support escalators. The stairway led up to an upper mezzanine whose street entrance was sealed off. This area was renovated as part of the Second Avenue Subway construction, and the shaftway was demolished. The new entrances under construction for the Second Avenue Subway will add two new staircases, two new escalators, and five new elevators (one elevator from street level to mezzanine, and four elevators from the mezzanine to the platforms). As of April 2016[update], the new entrances, escalators, and elevators had been completed. The bank of four elevators leads from the Third Avenue mezzanine to both platform levels at the eastern ends of both platforms, replacing the originally planned escalators, as they use the space more effectively. On each platform level, both waiting areas have a piece of the Jean Shin artwork "Elevated." The Third Avenue entrance and mezzanine opened on December 30, 2016.
There are 3 exits leading to Lexington Avenue that were built as part of the original 1989 station, along with 4 exits to Third Avenue that were built as part of the Second Avenue Subway. The elevator between the street level and mezzanine was replaced in August 2015.:6
This station has two ancillary buildings:
- Ancillary 1: 124 East 63rd Street
- Ancillary 2: North side of 63rd Street between Third and Lexington Avenues
In 2016, before the Second Avenue Subway opened, the station had 5,033,950 boardings, making it the 93rd most used station in the 422-station system. This amounted to an average of 16,988 passengers per weekday. After the Second Avenue Subway opened, there was a combined average of 28,150 boardings and transfers every weekday.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street (New York City Subway).|
- nycsubway.org – Second Avenue Line: Lexington Avenue–63rd Street
- The Subway Nut – Lexington Avenue-63 Street
Google Maps: Street View:
- Lexington Avenue entrance from Google Maps Street View
- 63rd Street western elevator from Google Maps Street View
- Third Avenue entrance from Google Maps Street View
- 63rd Street eastern elevator from Google Maps Street View
- Upper platform under construction from Google Maps Street View
- Upper platform already open from Google Maps Street View
- Third Avenue mezzanine from Google Maps Street View
- Intermediate level from Google Maps Street View