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

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Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street
New York City Subway rapid transit station
63 St Aug 2015.png
Lower level platform in August 2015, during construction of the Second Avenue Subway. A new column can be seen behind the construction wall.
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 (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) 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, 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; 26 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 New York City Subway station 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 train at all times. Downtown and Brooklyn-bound trains use the upper level, and Queens-bound trains use the lower level.

The station is currently being expanded as part of the construction of the Second Avenue Subway. Under the MTA's current plans, Q trains to and from the Second Avenue Line will also stop here starting in December 2016, using two tracks currently hidden behind blue construction walls. Because of the construction, the station's original red-orange wall tiles have been removed and replaced with beige-white tiles.


The station is part of the MTA's 1968 Program for Action.[3] Construction on the 63rd Street Line, including the Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street station, began on November 25, 1969.[4] About US$1,230,000,000[5] was spent to create three tunnels and a half-dozen holes as part of construction on the Second Avenue and 63rd Street Lines. The station was built using a combination of cut-and-cover construction and tunneling machines.[6][7] The IND side of 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; however, it did not open for passenger service until 1989, when the upper level of the bi-level 63rd Street Tunnel was completed for subway use.[1][8][9]

Original station design[edit]

Upper platform in 2010, prior to reconstruction for a connection to the Second Avenue Subway.

The station was built to look like a typical one-track, one-side platform station on each level, with only the IND side in use. The walls on each platform divided the platforms in half, as the "side" platforms are actually island platforms with a second unused track on each level. Just as the tracks on the IND side of the station connect the IND Sixth Avenue Line to Queens, the tracks on the closed-off BMT side of the station were planned to connect the BMT Broadway Line to the Second Avenue Subway. Switches on both levels connect the lines to the west of the stations.[10]

Construction on the Second Avenue Subway ceased in 1975 due to the city's severe fiscal crisis, and 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 were only applied to the IND side of the station.[11][12] [8] In the past, the tracks on the closed-off BMT side were used only to store trains outside of Rush Hour.[13]

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,[14] 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 the lower level 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, which is under construction as of 2015.[8][15]

Expansion for the Second Avenue Subway[edit]

Work on BMT side in 2012

In 2007, the Second Avenue Subway resumed construction.[16] The station is undergoing renovation to finish the BMT side, which will serve Second Avenue Line trains. The renovation includes installation of a platform new staircase, new wall tiles, new columns and column cladding, new platform paving, new entrances/exits, as well as new mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and communication systems. [17] [18] The MTA plans to inaugurate Phase 1 of Second Avenue Service in December 2016.[19][20][21] The contract for renovation of the station was awarded to Judlau Contracting in January 2011.[22][23]

On September 22, 2011, a Second Avenue Subway tunnel-boring machine completed its run to the Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street station's bellmouth.[24][25] Controlled blasting for the section of tunnel between Third Avenue/63rd Street and Second Avenue/65th Street was completed in March 2012.[26]

Original 1980s orange false wall

The orange false walls in the station were removed in 2012, as part of construction.[27] Temporary blue walls separating most of the IND and BMT sides were erected in Spring 2012.[28][29][30][31][32] Holes 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.[28]

When the contract was awarded, renovation was estimated to be finished by May 2014, but the completion date has been pushed back constantly, and as of August 2015, the completion date is Spring 2016. [33] As of April 2015, renovation of the station is 88% complete, and as of July 2015, 91% complete.[34][35][36][37]

To accommodate the increase patronage expected after the beginning of Second Avenue Subway service, the MTA is constructing 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 will 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] As part of Second Avenue Subway renovations, the artwork of Jean Shin will also be installed in the new station areas, decorating the station walls with a ceramic and glass photographic installation that will include archival photos from the New York Transit Museum.[39]

Service history[edit]

Unused tracks on BMT side

From the station's 1989 opening until the 2001 completion of the 63rd Street Connector to the IND Queens Boulevard Line, it was usually served by B and Q trains that continued as far east as 21st Street – Queensbridge. During this time, Q trains ran on the IND Sixth Avenue Line due to repairs on the Manhattan Bridge. Q trains served the station weekdays until 9:30 PM, while B trains typically served the station late evenings, and weekends. F train service to Queensbridge served the station during late nights until 1997. The JFK Express also served this station very briefly, as the line was discontinued in April 1990. In 1997, 63rd Street Shuttle service via the IND Sixth Avenue Line took over late night service, and a shuttle running to the Broadway Line replaced all service to the station for a brief period between 1998 and 1999.

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. On December 16, 2001, the 63rd Street Connector officially opened, and the F train was rerouted to serve this station at all times, assuming its current service pattern. [4] 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.[40]

The MTA's plans for Second Avenue Subway service will extend the Q train, now running via the BMT Broadway Line, along the BMT 63rd Street Line to serve this station, beyond which it will turn north and run along the Second Avenue Line to 96th Street.[41]

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)
B6 Track 1 LIRR East Side Access (under construction)
Track 2 LIRR East Side Access (under construction) →
Elevator at upper platform

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).

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. The parts of the station currently open to passengers use a total of ten escalators, six staircases and two elevators from the street down to platform level. Two additional staircases between the platform levels are at the eastern end of platforms, past the elevator. A third staircase between the platform levels is currently under construction.[8]

An eastern mezzanine at Third Avenue, along with stairwells to the platforms, was partially completed in the 1980s but never opened. It was to be demolished as part of the new Second Avenue Subway construction.[42] 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).[43]

Entrances and exits[edit]

1980s-era outdoor station entrance at Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street
1980s-era in-building station entrance at Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street

There are currently 3 entrances and exits leading to Lexington Avenue, along with 4 new entrances to Third Avenue under construction.[17] The elevator between the street level and mezzanine was replaced in August 2015.[44][45]

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[17]
  • Ancillary 2: North side of 63rd Street between Third and Lexington Avenues[17]


  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. ^ "1968 NYCTA Expansion Plans (Picture)". Second Avenue Sagas. Retrieved December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "63rd St Tunnel Connector". Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. 
  5. ^ nycsubway.org—The New York Transit Authority in the 1970s
  6. ^ "Despite Protests, Judge Allows Work on 63d St. Subway Station". The New York Times. May 18, 1976. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ a b c d Brennan, Joseph (2002). "Abandoned Stations: Lexington Ave (63 St) north side". Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  9. ^ "Construction Achievement Project of the Year Award". ASCE Metropolitan Section. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  10. ^ "www.nycsubway.org: New York City Subway Track Maps". www.nycsubway.org. 2015-10-09. Retrieved 2015-10-09. 
  11. ^ "The Line That Time Forgot – Second Avenue Subway". Nymag.com. April 5, 2004. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  12. ^ FAQ: Completed Portions of the 2nd Avenue Subway. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
  13. ^ http://ltvsquad.com/2008/09/22/fing-mirror-image/
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ "Second Avenue subway groundbreaking: Is 4th time the charm?". The Journal News. April 12, 2007. Retrieved April 18, 2007. 
  17. ^ a b c d mta.info—February 2012 Newsletter
  18. ^ mta.info—June 2015 Newsletter
  19. ^ MTA releases Second Avenue subway images, says project on track NY Daily News, November 5, 2013
  20. ^ MTA.info—Second Avenue Subway Quarterly Report Q4 2013
  21. ^ The Launch Box—Fewer Than 1,000 Days to Go!
  22. ^ http://thelaunchbox.blogspot.com/2000/01/contract-packaging.html
  23. ^ mta.info-Quarter 1 2011 Report
  24. ^ Greg B. Smith (June 2, 2013). "Second Avenue subway plagued with dangerous conditions and safety violations". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  25. ^ "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. 
  26. ^ mta.info—March 2012 Newsletter
  27. ^ Subway Disruptions Continue – All in the Name of Progress. November 23, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  28. ^ a b Cuozzo, Steve (December 7, 2014). "First look at a Second Avenue Subway station". Retrieved December 8, 2014. 
  29. ^ http://web.mta.info/capital/sas_pdf/SAS%20Lex-63rd%20Station%20Area%20CAC%20Meeting%20No.4_2012May29%20v3.pdf
  30. ^ http://web.mta.info/capital/sas_alt.html
  31. ^ http://thelaunchbox.blogspot.com/2014/04/fewer-than-1000-days-to-go.html
  32. ^ "090924_C1C2AC5ACombined_CB8_final+-+p.3.jpg (image)". bp.blogspot.com. 
  33. ^ mta.info-August 2015 Newsletter
  34. ^ "New Photos Show Second Avenue Subway Stations Nearing Completion". Gothamist. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  35. ^ March 2015 report from Transit & Bus Committee
  36. ^ mta.info-April 2015 Newsletter
  37. ^ http://web.mta.info/capital/sas_pdf/CB8%20SAS%20Task%20Force%20meeting%202015July14_Final_sm.pdf#page=5
  38. ^ Media:63rd St Reconstruction.png
  39. ^ 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. 
  40. ^ "mta.info – Facts and Figures". mta.info. 
  41. ^ "mta.info – Capital Programs Second Avenue Subway". mta.info. 
  42. ^ http://i.imgur.com/nCmRZqq.png
  43. ^ mta.info—June 2015 Newsletter
  44. ^ http://www.mta.info/replace-11-hydraulic-elevatorst
  45. ^ http://web.mta.info/accessibility/stations.htm#Lex63St

External links[edit]