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

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Lexington Avenue–63rd Street
"F" train"Q" train
New York City Subway rapid transit station
Lex-63rd May 2017 2.jpg
Upper platform
Station statistics
Address Lexington Avenue & East 63rd Street
New York, NY 10065
Borough Manhattan
Locale Upper East Side, Lenox Hill
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)​
      N selected rush-hour trips (selected rush-hour trips)
      Q all times (all times)
      R one a.m. rush hour trip in the northbound direction only (one a.m. rush hour trip in the northbound direction only)
System transfers With MetroCard only:
      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)
      R all except late nights (all except late nights)
      W weekdays only (weekdays only) at Lexington Avenue/59th Street
(Transfer stations are not accessible)
Transit connections Bus transport NYCT Bus: M101, M102, M103
Bus transport MTA Bus: BxM1
Structure Underground
Depth 100 feet (30 m)
Levels 2
Platforms 2 island platforms (1 on each level)
cross-platform interchange
Tracks 4 (2 on each level)
Other information
Opened October 29, 1989; 28 years ago (1989-10-29)[1]
Rebuilt January 13, 2011; 6 years ago (2011-01-13) to January 1, 2017; 11 months ago (2017-01-01) (for Second Avenue Subway)
Station code 223[2]
Accessible This station is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ADA-accessible
Wireless service Wi-Fi and cellular service is provided at this station[3]
Former/other names Lexington Avenue
Traffic
Passengers (2016) 5,033,950[4]Increase 6.7%
Rank 93 out of 422
Station succession
Next north 72nd Street (2nd Avenue): N selected rush-hour tripsQ all timesR one a.m. rush hour trip in the northbound direction only
Roosevelt Island (63rd Street): F all times
Next south 57th Street (6th Avenue): F all times
57th Street–Seventh Avenue (Broadway): N selected rush-hour tripsQ all timesR one a.m. rush hour trip in the northbound direction only


Next adjacent station compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 north 72nd Street (2nd Avenue): N selected rush-hour tripsQ all timesR one a.m. rush hour trip in the northbound direction only
Roosevelt Island (63rd Street): F all times
Next adjacent station compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 south 47th–50th Streets–Rockefeller Center (6th Avenue): F all times
Times Square–42nd Street (Broadway): N selected rush-hour tripsQ all timesR one a.m. rush hour trip in the northbound direction only

Lexington Avenue–63rd Street (formerly Lexington Avenue[5]) 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 1999. Originally, the station was intended to be a transfer point between passengers from the Sixth AvenueQueens service and from the BroadwaySecond 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.

History[edit]

Track layout
(IND 63rd St Line)
Future Phase 3
Two levels split
below this point
to 72 St (Second Av Subway)
Superimposed tracks section
(Left tracks above right ones)
to 57 St–7 Av (BMT 63rd St)
to 57 St–6 Av (IND 63rd St)
Lower level
Upper level

Construction[edit]

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.[6]:246[7]:417[8][9]

In 1940, the subway system was unified, with the IRT and the BMT coming under city control.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12]:5, 21

Construction on the 63rd Street Line, including the Lexington Avenue–63rd Street station, began on November 25, 1969.[13] The station was built using a combination of cut-and-cover construction and tunneling machines.[14][15] 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.[6]:225 Finishing touches were only applied to the IND side of the station.[16] The tracks on the closed-off BMT side were used only to store trains outside of rush hour.[17]

Original station opens[edit]

Upper platform in 2010, prior to reconstruction for a connection to the Second Avenue Subway
Eastern fare control

The IND side of the station, the southern side, was completed in 1984,[16] when it was named the Construction Achievement Project of the Year by the Metropolitan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers;[18] however, it did not open for passenger service until October 29, 1989,[19] due to delays in the construction of the multi-level 63rd Street Tunnel, caused by the financial crisis of the 1970s.[16][1] 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.[20]

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.[21] 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.[16] 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.[22]

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.[16][23]:93–94

Expansion for the Second Avenue Subway[edit]

In 2007, the Second Avenue Subway resumed construction.[24] 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.[25][26] The contract for renovation of the station was awarded to Judlau Contracting on January 13, 2011.[27][28]

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.[29][30] Controlled blasting for the section of tunnel between Third Avenue/63rd Street and Second Avenue/65th Street was completed in March 2012.[31]

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.[32] In spring 2012, temporary blue walls separating most of the IND and BMT sides were erected for the duration of construction.[33]: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.[34] This differs vastly from the small beige tiles that were on the IND side of the tracks from 1989 to 2013.[35] New platform signs for the Second Avenue Subway were erected in December 2016.[36]

Unused tracks on BMT side under construction in 2013

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, the completion date was Spring 2016,[37] though this was later pushed back to Summer 2016.[38] As of July 2015, the renovation was 90% complete,[39] and as of June 2016, 98% complete with only cosmetic finishes and power upgrades to be completed.[38]

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.[38][40] These entrances opened on December 30, 2016.[41] The MTA inaugurated Phase 1 of Second Avenue Subway service on January 1, 2017.[42][43]

Artwork[edit]

Elevated by Jean Shin as visible from the entrance at the southeastern corner Third Avenue and 63rd Street.

When this station was opened in 1989, it had no artwork. As part of Second Avenue Subway renovations, the artwork of Jean Shin was commissioned by MTA Arts & Design to be installed in the new station areas.[44][45]

Shin used archival photographs of the 2nd and 3rd Avenue Elevated train (El) to create compositions in ceramic tile, glass mosaic, and laminated glass.[45] 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.[46]

Service history[edit]

Station sign describing the out-of-system transfer to Lexington Avenue–59th Street station.

This station opened on October 29, 1989 along with the entire IND 63rd Street Line.[1][47] The Q train served the station on weekdays and the B train stopped there on the weekends; both services used the Sixth Avenue Line.[1] 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.[48] 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.[9][1] 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.[9][1]

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.[49][50] 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.[13][51]:5[52]:2[53] 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.[54]

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.[55][56] This new service pattern was put into effect on January 1, 2017.[57]

Station layout[edit]

G Street Level Exit/Entrance, MetroCard connection to "4" train"5" train"6" train "6" express train"N" train"R" train"W" train trains at Lexington Avenue / 59th Street
6M Lexington Avenue Mezzanine Fare control, station agent, MetroCard vending machines, elevator to platforms (within separate fare control)
Handicapped/disabled access (Elevator on north side of 63rd Street west of Lexington Avenue)
Third Avenue Mezzanine Fare control, station agent, MetroCard vending machines, elevators to platforms
Handicapped/disabled access (Elevator at NW corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street)
5M - Escalator/stairway landing
4M - Escalator/stairway landing, transfer between platforms
UP Southbound "Q" train toward Stillwell Avenue via Brighton ("N" train rush hours via Sea Beach) (57th Street–Seventh Avenue)
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right Handicapped/disabled access
Southbound "F" train toward Stillwell Avenue via Culver (57th Street)
LP Northbound "Q" train ("N" train "R" train rush hours) toward 96th Street (72nd Street)
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right Handicapped/disabled access
Northbound "F" train toward Jamaica–179th Street (Roosevelt Island)
Lower level Track 1 LIRR East Side Access (under construction)
Track 2 LIRR East Side Access (under construction) →
Elevator to Lexington Avenue on the upper platform, before (top) and after (bottom) renovation

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.[41] 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.[16] 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.[25]

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.[17] This area was renovated as part of the Second Avenue Subway construction, and the shaftway was demolished.[58] 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).[26] As of April 2016, 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.[59] On each platform level, both waiting areas have a piece of the Jean Shin artwork "Elevated."[45] The Third Avenue entrance and mezzanine opened on December 30, 2016.[41]

Exits[edit]

1989 outdoor station entrance at Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street
2016 outdoor station entrance at Third Avenue and 63rd Street

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[60] that were built as part of the Second Avenue Subway.[25][41] The elevator between the street level and mezzanine was replaced in August 2015.[61]:6[62]

Exit location Exit Type Number of exits
Within building, NW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street Escalator and Staircase 1 staircase
2 escalators (1 up, 1 down)
Next to 135 E 63rd Street
NW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street
Elevator Handicapped/disabled access 1
SW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street Staircase 1
Entrance 1
Within building at SE corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Escalators 2 escalators (1 up, 1 down)
Entrance 2
NW corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Elevator Handicapped/disabled access 1
Entrance 3
NE corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Staircase 1
Entrance 4
SW corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Staircase 1

Ancillary buildings[edit]

This station has two ancillary buildings:

  • Ancillary 1: 124 East 63rd Street[25]
  • Ancillary 2: North side of 63rd Street between Third and Lexington Avenues[25]

Ridership[edit]

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.[4] This amounted to an average of 16,988 passengers per weekday.[63] After the Second Avenue Subway opened, there was a combined average of 28,150 boardings and transfers every weekday.[64]

References[edit]

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    • 1998 Subway Map, New York City Transit Authority, 1998, Lexington Avenue 
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]