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50th Street station (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 50 Street
 "1" train
MTA NYC logo.svg New York City Subway station (rapid transit)
IRT Broadway-Seventh 50th Street Northbound Platform.jpg
Northbound 1 train departing
Station statistics
AddressWest 50th Street & Broadway
New York, NY 10019
LocaleMidtown Manhattan
Coordinates40°45′40″N 73°59′02″W / 40.761°N 73.984°W / 40.761; -73.984
DivisionA (IRT)[1]
Line   IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line
Services   1 all times (all times)
   2 late nights (late nights)
TransitBus transport NYCT Bus: M7, M20, M50, M104
Bus transport MTA Bus: BxM2
Platforms2 side platforms
Other information
OpenedOctober 27, 1904; 116 years ago (1904-10-27)[2]
Station code316[3]
20198,134,360[5]Increase 0.6%
Rank41 out of 424[5]
Station succession
Next north59th Street–Columbus Circle: 1 all times2 late nights
Next southTimes Square–42nd Street: 1 all times2 late nights
Times Square (shuttle): no passenger service
Track layout

Street map

Station service legend
Symbol Description
Stops all times Stops all times
Stops late nights only Stops late nights only

50th Street is a local station on the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line of the New York City Subway. Located at the intersection of 50th Street and Broadway at the northwest corner of the Theater District, it is served by the 1 train at all times and by the 2 train during late nights.

The 50th 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 the 50th Street station started on September 19 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 have been lengthened since opening.

The 50th Street station contains two side platforms and four tracks; express trains use the inner two tracks to bypass the station. The station was built with tile and mosaic decorations. The platforms contain exits to 50th Street and Broadway and are not connected to each other within fare control.


New mosaic replacing the original name plaque
New mosaic replacing the original name plaque
Original Faience plaque
Original Faience plaque

Construction and opening

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 50th Street station was constructed as part of the IRT's West Side Line (now the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line) from 47th Street to 60th Street, for which work had begun on September 19, 1900. Work for that section had been awarded to Naughton & Company.[8] The 50th 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,[9] the station was served by local trains along both the West Side (now the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line to Van Cortlandt Park–242nd Street) and East Side (now the Lenox Avenue Line). West Side local trains had their southern terminus at City Hall during rush hours and South Ferry at other times, and had their northern terminus at 242nd Street. East Side local trains ran from City Hall to Lenox Avenue (145th Street).[10] 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, and all local trains were sent to South Ferry.[11]

View of station columns
View of station columns

To address overcrowding, in 1909, the New York Public Service Commission proposed lengthening platforms at stations along the original IRT subway.[12]: 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.[13]: 15  Platforms at local stations, such as the 50th Street station, were lengthened by between 20 to 30 feet (6.1 to 9.1 m). Both platforms were extended to the north and south.[13]: 110 

Old view of the station with its original ticket booth

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.[14] The Broadway route to 242nd Street became known as the 1 and the Lenox Avenue route as the 3.[15]

The original IRT stations north of Times Square could barely fit local trains of five or six cars depending on the configuration of the trains. Stations on the line from 50th Street to 96th Street, excluding the 91st Street station, had their platforms extended in the 1950s to accommodate ten-car trains as part of a $100 million rebuilding program (equivalent to $921.4 million in 2020) (equivalent to $921.4 million in 2020) . The platform extensions at the local stations were completed by early 1958.[16] Once the project was completed, all 1 trains became local and all 2 and 3 trains became express, and eight-car local trains began operation. Increased and lengthened service was implemented during peak hours on the 1 train on February 6, 1959.[17] Due to the lengthening of the platforms at 86th Street and 96th Street, the intermediate 91st Street station was closed on February 2, 1959, because it was too close to the other two stations.[18][16]

In 1981, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority listed the station among the 69 most deteriorated stations in the subway system.[19]

On September 4, 1987, Alex Cumba fell onto the tracks of the 50th Street station.[20] Bystanders Edwin Ortiz, Jeff Kuhn, and Melvin Shadd jumped onto the tracks and attempted to lift Cumba back onto the platform, which was difficult due to Cumba's weight. The three were able to remove Cumba seconds before the train arrived. A recreation of the story aired on Rescue 911 on September 17, 1991.[21][22]

In April 1988,[23] 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.[24] When skip-stop service started in 1989, it was only implemented north of 137th Street–City College on weekdays, and 50th Street was served by both the 1 and the 9.[25][26][27] Skip-stop service ended on May 27, 2005.[28][29]

Station layout

Entrance to uptown platform
Entrance to uptown platform
G Street level Exit/entrance
Platform level
Side platform
Northbound local "1" train toward 242nd Street (59th Street–Columbus Circle)
"2" train toward 241st Street late nights (59th Street–Columbus Circle)
Northbound express "2" train"3" train do not stop here
Southbound express "2" train"3" train do not stop here →
Southbound local "1" train toward South Ferry (Times Square–42nd Street)
"2" train toward Flatbush Avenue late nights (Times Square–42nd Street)
Side platform

Like other local stations, 50th Street has four tracks and two side platforms. The two express tracks are used by the 2 train during daytime hours and the 3 train at all times.[30] The platforms were originally 200 feet (61 m) long, as at other local stations on the original IRT,[7]: 4 [31]: 8  but as a result of the 1958–1959 platform extension, became 520 feet (160 m) long.[16]


As with other stations built as part of the original IRT, 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, placed atop the transverse arches, support the jack-arched concrete station roofs.[7]: 4 [31]: 8 

The decorative scheme consists of green faience station-name tablets, blue tile bands, a green cornice, and blue plaques.[31]: 36  The mosaic tiles at all original IRT stations were manufactured by the American Encaustic Tile Company, which subcontracted the installations at each station.[31]: 31  The decorative work was performed by tile contractor Manhattan Glass Tile Company and faience contractor Grueby Faience Company.[31]: 36  The ceilings of the original platforms and fare control areas contain plaster molding.[31]: 10  Most of the original tile plaques at this station were removed during remodeling, replaced by much simpler blue, green, and red mosaics with printed letters. One of the original tile plaques has been preserved by the New York Transit Museum.

The station contains the artwork Liliana Porter's Alice, The Way Out, a series of mosaics installed in 1994 depicting characters from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. [32]

Entrance to the southbound platform
Entrance to the southbound platform


Each platform has same-level fare control at the center and there are no crossovers or crossunders to allow free transfer between directions. Each fare control area has a token booth, turnstile bank, and newsstand. The northbound has four staircases to the streets: two to the northeast corner of 50th Street and Broadway, one to the southeast corner, and one inside a building on the south side of 50th Street midblock between Broadway and Seventh Avenue.[33]

The southbound platform has an exit to an underground shopping arcade on the south side of 50th Street west of Broadway, and another to the southern sunken courtyard of Paramount Plaza on the northwest corner of 50th Street and Broadway.[33]


  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.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Walker, James Blaine (1918). Fifty Years of Rapid Transit — 1864 to 1917. New York, N.Y.: Law Printing. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  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. ^ "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.
  10. ^ Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac. Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 1916. p. 119.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ 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. ‹See TfM›Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  13. ^ a b Report of the Public Service Commission for the First District of the State of New York For The Year Ending December 31, 1910. Public Service Commission. 1911.
  14. ^ Brown, Nicole (May 17, 2019). "How did the MTA subway lines get their letter or number? NYCurious". amNewYork. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  15. ^ 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): 2–3.
  16. ^ a b c "High-Speed Broadway Local Service Began in 1959". The Bulletin. New York Division, Electric Railroaders' Association. 52 (2). February 2009. Retrieved August 26, 2016 – via Issuu.
  17. ^ "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. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  18. ^ Aciman, Andre (January 8, 1999). "My Manhattan — Next Stop: Subway's Past". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  19. ^ Gargan, Edward A. (June 11, 1981). "Agency Lists Its 69 Most Deteriorated Subway Stations". The New York Times. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  20. ^ "3 Rescue Unconscious Man From Subway Tracks". The New York Times. September 6, 1987.
  21. ^ Rescue 911 Episode Guide - Rescue 911 Season Episodes -
  22. ^ "3 Men Rescue Unconscious Man From Subway Tracks". The New York Times. September 6, 1987. Retrieved June 30, 2010.
  23. ^ Brozan, Nadine (June 4, 1989). "'Skip-Stop' Subway Plan Annoys No. 1 Riders". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  24. ^ Moore, Keith (June 10, 1988). "TA's skip-stop plan hit". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  25. ^ "#1 Riders: Your Service is Changing". New York Daily News. August 20, 1989. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  26. ^ "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.
  27. ^ Lorch, Donatella (August 22, 1989). "New Service For Subways On West Side". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ "Noteworthy – 9 discontinued". May 7, 2005. Archived from the original on May 7, 2005. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  30. ^ Dougherty, Peter (2006) [2002]. Tracks of the New York City Subway 2006 (3rd ed.). Dougherty. OCLC 49777633 – via Google Books.
  31. ^ a b c d e f 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. ‹See TfM›Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  32. ^ "Arts for Transit and Urban Design". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  33. ^ a b "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Midtown West" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2015.

External links

This page was last edited on 28 August 2021, at 20:28
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