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103rd Street station (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 103 Street
 "1" train
MTA NYC logo.svg New York City Subway station (rapid transit)
20210515 05 New York subway @ 103rd & Broadway.jpg
Southbound platform
Station statistics
AddressWest 103rd Street & Broadway
New York, NY 10025[1]
LocaleUpper West Side, Manhattan Valley
Coordinates40°47′58″N 73°58′05″W / 40.799419°N 73.968158°W / 40.799419; -73.968158
DivisionA (IRT)[2]
Line   IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line
Services   1 all times (all times)
TransitBus transport NYCT Bus: M104[3]
Platforms2 side platforms
Tracks3 (2 in regular service)
Other information
OpenedOctober 27, 1904; 116 years ago (1904-10-27)[4]
Station code309[5]
20193,766,055[6]Decrease 7.5%
Rank131 out of 424[6]
Station succession
Next northCathedral Parkway–110th Street: 1 all times
Next south96th Street: 1 all times
Track layout

Street map

Station service legend
Symbol Description
Stops all times Stops all times

103rd Street is a local station on the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line of the New York City Subway. Located at the intersection of 103rd Street and Broadway on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, within Manhattan Valley, it is served by the 1 train at all times.

The 103rd Street station was constructed for the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) as part of the city's first subway line, which was approved in 1900. Construction of the line segment that includes 103rd Street started on August 22 of the same year. The station opened on October 27, 1904, as one of the original 28 stations of the New York City Subway. The station's platforms were lengthened in 1948, and the station was renovated in the 2000s.

The 103rd Street station contains two side platforms and three tracks; the center track is not used in regular service. The station was built with tile and mosaic decorations. The mezzanine above the platforms contains exits to 103rd Street and Broadway.


Construction and opening

The northbound platform at 103rd Street on the IRT in 1905
The northbound platform at 103rd Street on the IRT in 1905

Planning for a subway line in New York City dates to 1864.[7]:21 However, development of what would become the city's first subway line did not start until 1894, when the New York State Legislature authorized the Rapid Transit Act.[7]:139–140 The subway plans were drawn up by a team of engineers led by William Barclay Parsons, chief engineer of the Rapid Transit Commission. It called for a subway line from New York City Hall in lower Manhattan to the Upper West Side, where two branches would lead north into the Bronx.[8]:3 A plan was formally adopted in 1897,[7]:148 and all legal conflicts concerning the route alignment were resolved near the end of 1899.[7]:161

The Rapid Transit Construction Company, organized by John B. McDonald and funded by August Belmont Jr., signed the initial Contract 1 with the Rapid Transit Commission in February 1900,[9] in which it would construct the subway and maintain a 50-year operating lease from the opening of the line.[7]:165 In 1901, the firm of Heins & LaFarge was hired to design the underground stations.[8]:4 Belmont incorporated the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) in April 1902 to operate the subway.[7]:182

The 103rd Street station was constructed as part of the IRT's West Side Line (now the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line) from 82nd Street to 104th Street, for which construction began on August 22, 1900.[9] The section of the West Side Line around this station was originally planned as a two-track line, but in early 1901, was changed to a three-track structure to allow trains to be stored in the center track.[10]:93[11]:189–190 A third track was added directly north of 96th Street, immediately east of the originally planned two tracks.[12]:14 The 103rd Street station opened on October 27, 1904, as one of the original 28 stations of the New York City Subway from City Hall to 145th Street on the West Side Branch.[4][7]:186

Service changes and station renovations

20th century

After the first subway line was completed in 1908,[13] the station was served by West Side local and express trains. Express trains began at South Ferry in Manhattan or Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, and ended at 242nd Street in the Bronx. Local trains ran from City Hall to 242nd Street during rush hours, continuing south from City Hall to South Ferry at other times.[14] In 1918, the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line opened south of Times Square–42nd Street, thereby dividing the original line into an "H"-shaped system. The original subway north of Times Square thus became part of the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line. Local trains were sent to South Ferry, while express trains used the new Clark Street Tunnel to Brooklyn.[15]

To address overcrowding, in 1909, the New York Public Service Commission proposed lengthening platforms at stations along the original IRT subway.[16]:168 As part of a modification to the IRT's construction contracts, made on January 18, 1910, the company was to lengthen station platforms to accommodate ten-car express and six-car local trains. In addition to $1.5 million (equivalent to $41.7 million in 2020) spent on platform lengthening, $500,000 (equivalent to $13,888,000 in 2020) was spent on building additional entrances and exits. It was anticipated that these improvements would increase capacity by 25 percent.[17]:15

On September 30, 1910, the New York Public Service Commission approved a modification to Contract 1 to allow for the construction of additional entrances and exits at five stations, including 103rd Street and 110th Street on Broadway. Work was expected to be completed within a year of the date that permission was granted to do the work at these two stations.[18] The northbound platform at the 103rd Street station was extended 125 feet (38 m) to the north,[17]:111 while the southbound platform was not lengthened.[17]:106 On January 24, 1911, ten-car express trains began running on the West Side Line.[16]:168[19] Subsequently, the station could accommodate six-car local trains, but ten-car trains could not open some of their doors.[20]

In conjunction with the platform lengthening, a new entrance was constructed at the southeast corner of 104th Street and Broadway, and was completed in March 1912. The kiosk for this entrance had previously been in use at an entrance at the southeast corner of Broadway and 42nd Street, but was removed to allow for the widening of 42nd Street.[21] In 1920, an additional exit was constructed at 103rd Street in case of emergencies.[22] In 1930, the kiosk for the entrance at the southeastern corner of 104th Street and Broadway was removed.[23]

View of tiling installed on the platform extension part of the station
View of tiling installed on the platform extension part of the station

Platforms at IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line stations between 103rd Street and 238th Street were lengthened to 514 feet (157 m) between 1946 and 1948, allowing full ten-car express trains to stop at these stations.[20] A contract for the platform extensions at 103rd Street and eight other stations on the line was awarded to Spencer, White & Prentis Inc. in October 1946.[24] The platform extensions at these stations were opened in stages. On April 6, 1948, the platform extension at 103rd Street opened.[20] Simultaneously, the IRT routes were given numbered designations with the introduction of "R-type" rolling stock, which contained rollsigns with numbered designations for each service. The first such fleet, the R12, was put into service in 1948.[25] The route to 242nd Street became known as the 1.[26] In 1959, all 1 trains became local.[27]

On October 17, 1969, the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) adopted a contract for a project to remove the station's original entrance in the center mall of Broadway at 103rd Street with new entrances on the sidewalk so it could be put out for bidding. The project was intended to allow passengers to enter the station without having to cross Broadway.[28]

In 1979, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) designated space within the boundaries of the original stations at twelve IRT stations, excluding expansions made after 1904, as a city landmark.[8][29] 103rd Street was not landmarked, unlike the 110th Street and 116th Street stations on the line, not because of a dearth of historic architecture, but as part of an compromise between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the LPC.[30]

In April 1988,[31] the NYCTA unveiled plans to speed up service on the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line through the implementation of a skip-stop service: the 9 train.[32] When skip-stop service started in 1989, it was only implemented north of 137th Street–City College on weekdays, and 103rd Street was served by both the 1 and the 9.[33][34][35]

21st century

Northbound platform
Northbound platform
Narrower portion of the Southbound platform
Narrower portion of the Southbound platform

In June 2002, the MTA announced that ten subway stations citywide, including 103rd Street, 110th Street, 116th Street, 125th Street, and 231st Street on the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line, would receive renovations. As part of the project, fare control areas would be redesigned, flooring, and electrical and communication systems would be upgraded, and new lighting, public address systems and stairways would be installed. Historical elements at the four stations on the line in Manhattan would be replaced or restored, including their white wall tiles. At the ends of the station platforms at 103rd Street, 110th Street, and 116th Street, a small section of station wall, which would look identical to the existing station walls, would be added to provide space for scrubber rooms.[36][30] Work on the ten citywide renovation projects was estimated to cost almost $146 million, and was scheduled to start later that year, and be completed in April 2004, in time for the 100th anniversary of the station's opening, and the 250th anniversary of Columbia University.[37][38]

Columbia University agreed to contribute $1 million to the renovation of the 103rd Street station following its announcement in April that it would purchase a building adjacent to that station. As a condition of the funding allocation for the station renovation at 103rd Street, the university wanted work on the project to be expedited. Residents of Morningside Heights approved of the renovation plans, but were concerned that the expedited repairs would come at the cost of damaging the stations' historic elements. Block associations near the 103rd Street station contracted a firm to develop a plan to renovate the station quickly while maintaining its historic elements. The MTA was expected to decide whether preservation or speed would be prioritized in the station renovation projects by the end of the year.[36]

In December 2002, Manhattan Community Board 7 voted in favor of the plan to include artwork from the MTA's Arts for Transit program at the 103rd Street station, which was not landmarked. Community Board 7 voted against the plan to include new artwork at the landmarked 110th Street and 116th Street stations.[39] On February 4, 2003, Community Board 7 voted in favor of renovating the 103rd Street and 110th Street stations, but against the inclusion of any new artwork in the stations, going against the board's initial vote to support the installation of artwork at 103rd Street. The opposition to the addition of artwork at that stop stemmed from the belief among opponents of the plan for artwork that the station's historic features would be more vulnerable as the station was not landmarked.[30] From May 31 to July 12, 2003, the uptown platforms at the 116th Street and 103rd Street stations were closed at all times for their renovations.[40] Skip-stop service ended on May 27, 2005.[41][42]

Station layout

Mosaic name tablet
Cartouche by Grueby
G Street level Exit/entrance
M Mezzanine Fare control, station agent, MetroCard machines
Platform level
Side platform
Northbound local "1" train toward 242nd Street (Cathedral Parkway–110th Street)
Peak-direction express No regular service
Southbound local "1" train toward South Ferry (96th Street)
Side platform

This station was part of the original subway, and has two side platforms and three tracks, the center one being an unused express track.[43] The platforms were originally 350 feet (110 m) long, as at other stations north of 96th Street,[8]:4[44]:8 but as a result of the 1948 platform extension, became 526 feet (160 m) long.[20][45] The platform extensions are at the southern ends of the original platforms.[44]:39 The southbound platform is 9.25 feet (2.82 m) wide, while the northbound platform is 9.67 feet (2.95 m) wide. There is a mezzanine above the platforms, which contains the fare control area, as well as two stairs to each side of Broadway, and two stairs to both platforms. The station platforms are located on a curve.[45]

The southbound local track is known as BB1 and the northbound one is BB4; the BB designation is used for chaining purposes along the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line from 96th Street to 242nd Street and not in everyday speech. Although it cannot be accessed at 103rd Street, the center track is designated as M.[43] South of the station, there are switches that connect the express track to either local track, with trains then being able to cross over to the rising express tracks from the IRT Lenox Avenue Line, which curve from 104th Street in the east.[43] An emergency exit from the Lenox Avenue Line is located in the middle of the northbound platform.[citation needed]


As with other stations built as part of the original IRT, the station was constructed using a cut-and-cover method.[46]:237 The tunnel is covered by a "U"-shaped trough that contains utility pipes and wires. The bottom of this trough contains a foundation of concrete no less than 4 inches (100 mm) thick.[44]:9 Each platform consists of 3-inch-thick (7.6 cm) concrete slabs, beneath which are drainage basins. The original platforms contain circular, cast-iron Doric-style columns spaced every 15 feet (4.6 m), while the platform extensions contain I-beam columns. Additional columns between the tracks, spaced every 5 feet (1.5 m), support the jack-arched concrete station roofs.[8]:4[44]:9 There is a 1-inch (25 mm) gap between the trough wall and the platform walls, which are made of 4-inch (100 mm)-thick brick covered over by a tiled finish.[44]:9

The decorative scheme consists of green tile tablets; green, pink, and red tile bands; a yellow faience cornice; and blue faience plaques.[44]:39 The mosaic tiles at all original IRT stations were manufactured by the American Encaustic Tile Company, which subcontracted the installations at each station.[44]:31 The decorative work was performed by tile contractor Alfred Boote Company and faience contractor Grueby Faience Company.[44]:39


Northwestern corner stairs
Northwestern corner stairs

The station has four entrance/exit stairs that serve both platforms. Two are on the northwest corner of Broadway and 103rd Street and two are on the northeastern corner of the same intersection. A fifth, exit-only stair leads from the northbound platform to the southeastern corner of Broadway and 104th Street.[47]

There was a control house in the median of Broadway, just north of 103rd Street, which was designed by Heins & LaFarge and dated to the station's opening in 1904.[48] It was built as one of several station houses on the original IRT; similar station houses were built at Atlantic Avenue, Bowling Green, Mott Avenue, 72nd Street, and 116th Street.[49]:46[50]:2

The station house, which was identical to one at 116th Street, occupied an area of 50 by 20 feet (15.2 by 6.1 m). The one-story station house contained exterior walls made of buff brick, with a foundation made of granite blocks. A limestone string course ran atop the exterior wall. At the corners of the station house were limestone quoins, which supported a copper-and-terracotta gable roof facing west and east. The ridge of the station house's roof was a skylight made of glass and metal. The doorways were centrally located on the north and south walls of the control house, topped by terracotta finials and a rounded gable. There were terracotta crosses on each rounded gable with the number "103" embossed onto them. Above the doorway was a pediment and an arched window made of glass and wrought iron.[44]:12 It was closed and eventually demolished in 1969.[28]

In popular culture

The 103rd Street station was one of the settings in the William S. Burroughs book Junkie and was briefly featured in the film Black Swan.[51]


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Further reading

  • Stookey, Lee (1994). Subway ceramics : a history and iconography of mosaic and bas relief signs and plaques in the New York City subway system. Brattleboro, Vt: L. Stookey. ISBN 978-0-9635486-1-0. OCLC 31901471.

External links

This page was last edited on 29 July 2021, at 18:19
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