Subway Style: 100 Years of Architecture and Design in the New York City Subway

Overview

October 2004 marks the 100th anniversary of the largest underground transit network in the world. Love it or hate it, if you're a New Yorker, you can't live without it: 3.5 million people ride the rails every day. The subway is as much a symbol of New York City as Central Park and the Statue of Liberty. Commemorating its centennial, this official publication presents an illustrated history of the architecture and design of the entire complex, from the interiors of the trains and the mosaic signage at the stations...
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Overview

October 2004 marks the 100th anniversary of the largest underground transit network in the world. Love it or hate it, if you're a New Yorker, you can't live without it: 3.5 million people ride the rails every day. The subway is as much a symbol of New York City as Central Park and the Statue of Liberty. Commemorating its centennial, this official publication presents an illustrated history of the architecture and design of the entire complex, from the interiors of the trains and the mosaic signage at the stations to the evolution of the token and the intricacy of the intertwined, rainbow-colored lines on the free, foldout map.

Produced with the New York City Transit Museum, Subway Style documents the aesthetic experience of the system through more than 250 exclusive pictures. The book includes newly commissioned color photographs of historic and contemporary station ornamentation as well as imagery from the Museum's archives. The images span the full century, from the system's inception in the early 1900s up to and including architectural renderings for the still-to-be-built Second Avenue line.

Author Bio: The NEW YORK TRANSIT MUSEUM is one of only a handful of museums in the world dedicated to urban public transportation. The Museum's collections of objects, documents, photographs, films, and historic rolling stock illustrate the story of mass transit's critical role in the region's economic and residential development since the beginning of the 20th century. The Transit Museum's main facility is located in a decommissioned 1936 subway station in Brooklyn Heights, an ideal setting for the Museum's 20 vintage subway and elevated cars, and wide-ranging educational programs for children and adults. A gallery annex in Grand Central Terminal presents changing exhibits relevant to the millions of commuters who use mass transit every day.

Photographer Andrew Garn has exhibited his work in galleries around New York City and across the country. His photographs are also held in numerous museum and private collections.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The New York subway system, the largest underground transit network in the world, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2004. To the 3.5 million people who ride the rails every day, the New York subway isn't just history; it's part of their daily environment. This gorgeous coffee-table book, produced by the New York City Transit Museum, commemorates the centennial, presenting an illustrated history of the architecture and design of the entire transit complex, from train interiors and mosaic signage to stations, past and present.
Publishers Weekly
This fascinating, smartly executed volume should intrigue and entertain anyone with affection for New York City's "amazingly complex, largely uncelebrated environment," in the words of critic Giovannini. Given a legacy of three separate systems built during different decades and untidily unified in 1940, the 100-year-old subway's multitudinous elements today uneasily harmonize in "systematic uniqueness." Thematic chapters cover ceramic designs, fare collections, signage, advertising and more. Squire Vickers, an architect who served as chief architect of the system from 1906 to 1942, wanted to celebrate the subway's industrial character, yet at the same time used colored tiles to add cheer. A marvelous chapter traces the evolution of subway maps, including the 1972 example of minimalism that turned subway lines into 45- and 90-degree angles. Another surveys subway cars through the years, including rattan upholstery and the beginning of hard fiberglass polyester seats. There's much delight in the old: metal grillwork from the 1930s, the three-dimensional ceramic at Brooklyn's Borough Hall station. There are also stirring signs of the new: freshly commissioned tile mosaics in Chinatown; a restored 1904 station house at 72nd Street and its respectful but better-fed newly built cousin across Verdi Square; funky cast-bronze sculptures at 14th Street. The subway's grittier side is treated somewhat glancingly; a picture from 1970 shows the clutter that led to the ban on vending machines; the new turnstile's design is described as a deterrent to fare-beaters. But this book reminds us that the achievement of the subway, even today, is to function under pressure, above ground and below, with unexpected elements of artistry and grace. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584793496
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Pages: 252
  • Sales rank: 806,253
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 10.87 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Stations and structures : the city beautiful : its beginnings underground
Station ceramic designs : aiding the traveler in the rapid identification of his whereabouts 44
Metalwork and lighting : the careful consideration of every nut, bolt, and screw 72
Station furnishings : the city's public drawing rooms 102
Fare collection : in 1904, a ride on the subway cost a nickel 118
Signage and graphics : a way out of the labyrinth 136
Route and system maps : does this train stop at 82nd Street? 156
Advertising : 23 minutes with your customer 178
Rolling stock : car design : step inside and watch the closing doors 206
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 22, 2009

    history and photos to celebrate subway's centennial

    The official book of the Museum of New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), 'Subway Style' brings together hundreds of objects relating to all aspects of the subway system since its creation more than 100 years ago--from ironwork gates to promotional posters, subway cars to platform benches, tokens to decorative tiles. From the system's beginnings, in the designs for such diverse objects playing a part in the appearance and workings of the subways, the objects were intended to reflect the Art Deco, Machine Age, and other popular styles of the modern age. Annotations with the hundreds of color photographs cite not only aesthetic points about the objects, but also historical facts. This makes for greater appreciation of the various signs, car designs (including overhead straps), etc., familiar to the millions of daily riders, but also introduction to subway memorabilia no longer a part of the system, including maps to follow its growth. As Joseph Giovannini remarks in his 'Introduction,' more than New York City's towering skyscrapers, its subway system has the greater claim to representing the city because it is older and has a larger and more lasting part in unifying the city and in the lives of its inhabitants.

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    Posted December 2, 2010

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