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137th Street–City College station

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 137 Street–City College
 "1" train
MTA NYC logo.svg New York City Subway station (rapid transit)
137th Street–City College IRT Broadway 1053.JPG
Southbound platform
Station statistics
AddressWest 137th Street & Broadway
New York, NY 10031
LocaleHamilton Heights
Coordinates40°49′16″N 73°57′14″W / 40.821°N 73.954°W / 40.821; -73.954
DivisionA (IRT)[1]
Line   IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line
Services   1 all times (all times)
TransitBus transport NYCT Bus: M4, M5
Platforms2 side platforms
Tracks3 (2 in regular service)
Other information
OpenedOctober 27, 1904 (117 years ago) (1904-10-27)[2]
Station code305[3]
Accessiblenot ADA-accessible; accessibility planned
20193,874,783[5]Decrease 9%
Rank126 out of 424[5]
Station succession
Next north145th Street: 1 all times
Next south125th Street: 1 all times
Track layout

Street map

Station service legend
Symbol Description
Stops all times Stops all times

137th Street–City College is a local station on the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line of the New York City Subway. Located at the intersection of 137th Street and Broadway in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan, it is served by the 1 train at all times. The station serves the nearby City College of New York and Riverbank State Park.

The 137th 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 137th Street started on May 14 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 late 20th century.

The 137th 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 platforms contain exits to Broadway's intersections with 137th and 138th Streets and are not connected to each other within fare control.


Construction and opening

Northbound platform in 1905
Northbound platform in 1905

Planning for a subway line in New York City dates to 1864.[6]: 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.[6]: 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.[7]: 3  A plan was formally adopted in 1897,[6]: 148  and all legal conflicts concerning the route alignment were resolved near the end of 1899.[6]: 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,[8] in which it would construct the subway and maintain a 50-year operating lease from the opening of the line.[6]: 165  In 1901, the firm of Heins & LaFarge was hired to design the underground stations.[7]: 4  Belmont incorporated the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) in April 1902 to operate the subway.[6]: 182 

The 137th Street station was constructed as part of the IRT's West Side Line (now the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line) from 133rd Street to a point 100 feet (30 m) north of 182nd Street. Work on this section was conducted by L. B. McCabe & Brother, who started building the tunnel segment on May 14, 1900.[8] 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.[9]: 93 [10]: 189–190  A third track was added directly north of 96th Street, immediately east of the originally planned two tracks.[11]: 14  The 137th 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.[2][6]: 186 

Service changes and station renovations

After the first subway line was completed in 1908,[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

To address overcrowding, in 1909, the New York Public Service Commission proposed lengthening platforms at stations along the original IRT subway.[15]: 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.[16]: 15  The northbound platform at the 137th Street station was extended 150 feet (46 m) to the south,[16]: 112  while the southbound platform was not lengthened.[16]: 106  On January 24, 1911, ten-car express trains began running on the West Side Line.[15]: 168 [17] Subsequently, the station could accommodate six-car local trains, but ten-car trains could not open some of their doors.[18]

Platforms at IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line stations between 103rd Street and 238th Street, including those at 137th Street, were lengthened to 514 feet (157 m) between 1946 and 1948, allowing full ten-car express trains to stop at these stations.[18] A contract for the platform extensions at 137th Street and eight other stations on the line was awarded to Spencer, White & Prentis Inc. in October 1946.[19] The platform extensions at these stations were opened in stages. On April 6, 1948, the platform extension at 137th Street opened.[18][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.[21] The route to 242nd Street became known as the 1.[22] In 1959, all 1 trains became local.[23]

In 1981, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority listed the station among the 69 most deteriorated stations in the subway system.[24] As a result, one of future U.S. president Barack Obama's first community organizing efforts after graduating from Columbia University was in conjunction with drawing attention to the poor condition of the station. In 1984 or 1985, Obama, who was working for the New York Public Interest Research Group, was among the leaders of May Day efforts to bring attention to the subway system, particularly the station serving CCNY. Obama traveled to stations to get people to sign letters addressed to local officials and the MTA. Obama was photographed holding a sign saying "May-Day! May-Day!! Sinking Subway System!"[25][26]

In April 1988,[27] the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) unveiled plans to speed up service on the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line through the implementation of a skip-stop service: the 9 train.[28] When skip-stop service started in 1989, it was only implemented north of 137th Street–City College on weekdays, and it was the northernmost local stop served by both the 1 and the 9.[29][30][31] Skip-stop service ended on May 27, 2005.[32][33]

On January 2, 2007, film student Cameron Hollopeter suffered a seizure in the station and fell off the platform onto the tracks. Wesley Autrey saved his life as a train was approaching.[34] Autrey was given numerous awards and prizes,[35][36] and his two daughters were given a scholarship.[37]

In 2019, the MTA announced that the station would become ADA-accessible as part of the agency's 2020–2024 Capital Program.[38]

Station layout

G Street level Exit/entrance
Platform level
Side platform
Northbound local "1" train toward 242nd Street (145th Street)
"1" train alighting passengers only (select AM rush trips)
Peak-direction express No regular service
Southbound local "1" train toward South Ferry (125th Street)
Side platform
Mosaic by Heins & LaFarge
Mosaic by Heins & LaFarge
Cartouche with three faces
Cartouche with three faces

This station was part of the original subway, and has two side platforms and three tracks, the center one being an unused express track.[39] The platforms were originally 350 feet (110 m) long, as at other stations north of 96th Street,[7]: 4 [40]: 8  but as a result of the 1948 platform extension, became 520 feet (160 m) long.[18] The platform extensions are at the southern ends of the original platforms.[40]: 40 


As with other stations built as part of the original IRT, the station was constructed using a cut-and-cover method.[41]: 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.[40]: 9  Each platform consists of 3-inch-thick (7.6 cm) concrete slabs, beneath which are drainage basins. The original platforms contained circular, cast-iron Doric-style columns spaced every 15 feet (4.6 m), while the platform extensions contained I-beam columns. Additional columns between the tracks, spaced every 5 feet (1.5 m), support the jack-arched concrete station roofs.[7]: 4 [40]: 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.[40]: 9  The columns have been overlaid with heavy brick blocks.

The decorative scheme consists of silver and blue tile tablets (which may not have been original to the station design); white tile bands; a buff terracotta cornice; and green terracotta plaques.[40]: 40  The mosaic tiles at all original IRT stations were manufactured by the American Encaustic Tile Company, which subcontracted the installations at each station.[40]: 31  The decorative work was performed by tile contractor Manhattan Glass Tile Company and terracotta contractor Atlantic Terra Cotta Company.[40]: 40  The mosaics are in pink and black. The ceramic cartouche is also in pink and shows a three-faced figure. The three faces represent "Respice", "Adspice", and "Prospice", and are an emblem of the nearby City College.

Track layout

In the past, 137th Street was sometimes used as a terminal station. There are switches north of the station that allow northbound trains to enter the underground 137th Street Yard, then return to the other side of the station for the next trip south. The center express track that passes through the station is currently unused in revenue service.[39]

Just south of the station, the tracks emerge onto the Manhattan Valley Viaduct. The line is elevated at 125th Street, and then underground once again at 116th Street–Columbia University, allowing trains to maintain a relatively level grade while passing through highly uneven terrain.[39]


Street stair
Street stair

Both platforms have same-level fare control containing a bank of turnstiles, token booth, and staircases to the street. The northbound platform has two staircases to the southeastern corner of Broadway and 138th Street and the southbound platform has two exits, one to each western corner of Broadway and 137th Street. There are no crossovers or crossunders to allow transfers between directions.[42]

In popular culture

The station was often shown on the TV drama New Amsterdam, though the inside shots were taken at the Grand Central Shuttle station.[43]


  1. ^ "Glossary". Second Avenue Subway Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) (PDF). 1. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. March 4, 2003. pp. 1–2. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 26, 2021. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Our Subway Open: 150,000 Try It; Mayor McClellan Runs the First Official Train". The New York Times. October 28, 1904. p. 1. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  3. ^ "Station Developers' Information". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  4. ^ "Facts and Figures: Annual Subway Ridership 2014–2019". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2020. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Facts and Figures: Annual Subway Ridership 2014–2019". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2020. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
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  7. ^ a b c d "Interborough Rapid Transit System, Underground Interior" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. October 23, 1979. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Report of the Board of Rapid Transit Railroad Commissioners for the City of New York For The Year Ending December 31, 1904 Accompanied By Reports of the Chief Engineer and of the Auditor. Board of Rapid Transit Railroad Commissioners. 1905. pp. 229–236.
  9. ^ Report of the Board of Rapid Transit Railroad Commissioners For And In The City of New York Up to December 31, 1901. Board of Rapid Transit Railroad Commissioners. 1902.
  10. ^ Report of the Public Service Commission For The First District of the State of New York For The Year Ending December 31, 1909. Albany: Public Service Commission. 1910.
  11. ^ "New York City's Subway Turns 100" (PDF). The Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. 47 (10). October 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 3, 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  12. ^ "Our First Subway Completed At Last — Opening of the Van Cortlandt Extension Finishes System Begun in 1900 — The Job Cost $60,000,000 — A Twenty-Mile Ride from Brooklyn to 242d Street for a Nickel Is Possible Now". The New York Times. August 2, 1908. p. 10. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  13. ^ Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac. Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 1916. p. 119.
  14. ^ "Open New Subway Lines to Traffic; Called a Triumph" (PDF). The New York Times. August 2, 1918. p. 1. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  15. ^ a b Hood, Clifton (1978). "The Impact of the IRT in New York City" (PDF). Historic American Engineering Record. pp. 146–207 (PDF pp. 147–208). Retrieved December 20, 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
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  17. ^ "Ten-car Trains in Subway to-day; New Service Begins on Lenox Av. Line and Will Be Extended to Broadway To-morrow". The New York Times. January 23, 1911. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  18. ^ a b c d Report for the three and one-half years ending June 30, 1949. New York City Board of Transportation. 1949. hdl:2027/mdp.39015023094926.
  19. ^ Crowell, Paul (October 11, 1946). "Improvement Costs Voted for Subway; Board of Estimate Appropriates $31,291,000 for New Cars and Station Lengthening" (PDF). The New York Times. p. 24. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  20. ^ "More Long Platforms – Five Subway Stations on IRT to Accommodate 10-Car Trains" (PDF). The New York Times. July 10, 1948. p. 8. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  21. ^ Brown, Nicole (May 17, 2019). "How did the MTA subway lines get their letter or number? NYCurious". amNewYork. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  22. ^ Friedlander, Alex; Lonto, Arthur; Raudenbush, Henry (April 1960). "A Summary of Services on the IRT Division, NYCTA" (PDF). New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. 3 (1): 2.
  23. ^ "Wagner Praises Modernized IRT — Mayor and Transit Authority Are Hailed as West Side Changes Take Effect". The New York Times. February 7, 1959. p. 21. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  24. ^ Gargan, Edward A. (June 11, 1981). "Agency Lists Its 69 Most Deteriorated Subway Stations". The New York Times. p. B5S. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on March 31, 2019. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  25. ^ Fink, Jason (November 9, 2008). "Obama stood out, even during brief 1985 NYPIRG job". Newsday.
  26. ^ Harpaz, Beth J. (November 22, 2009). "Obama's 'lost years' in Manhattan – Hawaii's Newspaper". The Honolulu Advertiser. Archived from the original on November 9, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  27. ^ Brozan, Nadine (June 4, 1989). "'Skip-Stop' Subway Plan Annoys No. 1 Riders". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  28. ^ Moore, Keith (June 10, 1988). "TA's skip-stop plan hit". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  29. ^ "#1 Riders: Your Service is Changing". New York Daily News. August 20, 1989. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  30. ^ "Announcing 1 and 9 Skip-Stop Service on the Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line" (PDF). New York City Transit Authority. August 1989. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 26, 2020. Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  31. ^ Lorch, Donatella (August 22, 1989). "New Service For Subways On West Side". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  32. ^ Chan, Sewell (May 25, 2005). "On Its Last Wheels, No. 9 Line Is Vanishing on Signs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  33. ^ "Noteworthy – 9 discontinued". May 7, 2005. Archived from the original on May 7, 2005. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  34. ^ Buckley, Cara (January 3, 2007). "Man Is Rescued by Stranger on Subway Tracks". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 14, 2016. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  35. ^ Loeser, Stu; Kelly, Matthew (January 4, 2007). "Mayor Bloomberg Presents Award to Subway Hero Wesley Autrey". Archived from the original on April 21, 2020. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  36. ^ Chung, Jen (January 5, 2007). "City Honors Awesome Subway Hero Wesley Autrey". Gothamist. Archived from the original on October 12, 2008. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  37. ^ Coultan, Mark (January 6, 2007). "NY toasts Subway Superman after death-defying rescue". The Age. Melbourne. Archived from the original on April 21, 2020. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  38. ^ "MTA Announces 20 Additional Subway Stations to Receive Accessibility Improvements Under Proposed 2020-2024 Capital Plan". Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Press release). New York City. December 19, 2019. Archived from the original on April 21, 2020. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  39. ^ a b c Dougherty, Peter (2006) [2002]. Tracks of the New York City Subway 2006 (3rd ed.). Dougherty. OCLC 49777633 – via Google Books.
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h Framberger, David J. (1978). "Architectural Designs for New York's First Subway" (PDF). Historic American Engineering Record. pp. 1-46 (PDF pp. 367-412). Retrieved December 20, 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  41. ^ Scott, Charles (1978). "Design and Construction of the IRT: Civil Engineering" (PDF). Historic American Engineering Record. pp. 208–282 (PDF pp. 209–283). Retrieved December 20, 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  42. ^ "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Harlem / Hamilton Heights" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  43. ^ Research Girl (March 11, 2008). "New Amsterdam". Television without Pity. Post #370. Archived from the original on May 26, 2011.

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 22 August 2021, at 02:36
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