New York City Subway Map Sees Historic, Permanent Changes

Ross Levin

The New York City subway map received a big update in May. The famous facade saw bigger, more permanent changes than it had in years. Several new stops were added to the subway map, and a previously retired line returned. The changes represent several billion dollars of new infrastructure beneath the nation's largest city.

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The Q line, represented in yellow on the subway map, will be expanded by several stops. Currently running through Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn, several stops will be added on the East Side of Manhattan. While the length of the subway line will not be greatly increased, it is expected that 200,000 passengers will use the new New York City subway stops each day.

The MTA has announced an opening date of December 2016 for the new stops and reopened train. The New York City government has been working on them for years, and the newly released subway map makes the reorganization one step closer to completed. The New York City subway map is iconic, and any alteration is a clear sign that a real-life change to the subway is making progress.

Not everyone sees the new subway stops as a flawless solution to New York's transit problems. Some New Yorkers are upset that the subway expansion isn't happening on schedule, but others are saying it's a miracle the subway project is happening at all. Residents of Harlem and their elected officials have protested the location of the last stop on the expansion. It sits at 96th street, in the wealthy Upper East Side. Plans for several more subway stops going north into the historically African-American and Latino neighborhoods of Harlem and East Harlem have been delayed by several years.

However, the new Q line stops represent only the first phase in a major project that has been proposed and delayed since 1919. If and when the ambitious subway rerouting is completed, the New York City subway could see some even greater changes to its map than a few new subway stops. In addition to the current rerouting, the city's subway system could get its first entirely new train line in well over 70 years, running from Harlem all the way down to the Financial District, a total of 8.5 miles.

For now, many residents are taking the release of the new map as an encouraging sign. While construction continues underneath Manhattan, the update to the cartographic symbol of the New York City subway brings the whole system one step further into the future.

[Photo by Adam E. Moreira/Wikimedia Commons]