Lexington Avenue–63rd Street (formerly Lexington Avenue[5]) is a New York City Subway station in Lenox Hill, Manhattan, shared by the IND and BMT 63rd Street Lines. Located at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street, it is served by the:

  • F and Q trains at all times
  • M trains during weekends and weekday evenings
  • limited N trains during rush hours
  • <F> trains during rush hours in the peak direction
  • one A.M. rush hour R train in the northbound direction only
 Lexington Avenue–63 Street
 "F" train"F" express train​​"Q" train
MTA NYC logo.svg New York City Subway station (rapid transit)
Lex-63rd May 2017 2.jpg
Upper platform
Station statistics
AddressLexington Avenue & East 63rd Street
New York, NY 10065
BoroughManhattan
LocaleUpper East Side, Lenox Hill
Coordinates40°45′53″N 73°57′59″W / 40.764649°N 73.966398°W / 40.764649; -73.966398Coordinates: 40°45′53″N 73°57′59″W / 40.764649°N 73.966398°W / 40.764649; -73.966398
DivisionB (BMT/IND)
LineIND/BMT 63rd Street Lines
Services      F all times (all times) <F> two rush hour trains, peak direction (two rush hour trains, peak direction)
      M weekends and evenings (weekends and evenings)​
      N limited weekday rush hour service only (limited weekday rush hour service only)
      Q all times (all times)
      R one a.m. rush hour trip in the northbound direction only (one a.m. rush hour trip in the northbound direction only)
System transfersWith MetroCard only:
      4 all times (all times)
      5 all times except late nights (all times except late nights)
      6 all times (all times) <6> weekdays until 8:45 p.m., peak direction (weekdays until 8:45 p.m., peak direction)​
      N all times (all times)
      R all except late nights (all except late nights)
      W weekdays only (weekdays only) at Lexington Avenue/59th Street
(Transfer stations are not accessible)
Transit connectionsBus transport NYCT Bus: M101, M102, M103
Bus transport MTA Bus: BxM1
StructureUnderground
Depth100 feet (30 m)
Levels2
Platforms2 island platforms (1 on each level)
cross-platform interchange
Tracks4 (2 on each level)
Other information
OpenedOctober 29, 1989; 29 years ago (1989-10-29)[1]
RebuiltJanuary 13, 2011; 8 years ago (2011-01-13) to January 1, 2017; 2 years ago (2017-01-01) (for Second Avenue Subway)
Station code223[2]
AccessibleThis station is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ADA-accessible
Wireless serviceWi-Fi and cellular service is provided at this station[3]
Former/other namesLexington Avenue
Traffic
Passengers (2018)6,506,078[4]Increase 1.8%
Rank63 out of 424
Station succession
Next east72nd Street (2nd Avenue): M weekends and evenings N limited rush hour service onlyQ all timesR one weekday a.m. rush hour trip in the northbound direction only
Roosevelt Island (63rd Street): F all times <F> two rush hour trains, peak direction
Next west57th Street (6th Avenue): F all times <F> two rush hour trains, peak directionM weekends and evenings
57th Street–Seventh Avenue (Broadway): N limited weekday rush hour service onlyQ all times


Next adjacent station compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 east72nd Street (2nd Avenue): M weekends and evenings N limited rush hour service onlyQ all timesR one weekday a.m. rush hour trip in the northbound direction only
Roosevelt Island (63rd Street): F all times <F> two rush hour trains, peak direction
Next adjacent station compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 west47th–50th Streets–Rockefeller Center (6th Avenue): F all times <F> two rush hour trains, peak directionM weekends and evenings
Times Square–42nd Street (Broadway): N limited weekday rush hour service onlyQ all times

The station has two platform levels; trains headed southbound to downtown and Brooklyn use the upper level, while trains headed northbound to uptown and Queens use the lower level. This is one of the deepest stations in the subway system, requiring several banks of long escalators or elevators.

Construction started at this station in 1969, but as a result of the New York City fiscal crisis in 1975, the station did not open until 1989. Originally, the station was intended to be a transfer point for Sixth Avenue/Queens Boulevard and Broadway/Second Avenue services. As such, the station was designed to allow for cross-platform interchanges on both levels. However, construction of the Second Avenue Subway was halted in 1975 during the station's construction. As a result, the north side of the station, intended for service to Second Avenue, was hidden with a temporary orange brick wall, and space intended for an exit at Third Avenue was left unused. While the south side of the station opened for service in 1989, the north side was only used for storing trains.

In 2007, construction resumed on the Second Avenue Subway, and the north side of the station was renovated so it could be used. The orange wall on the platform was removed, while beige-white wall tiles were installed on the station walls adjacent to the tracks. The unopened entrance at Third Avenue was fitted with multiple elevators, and the station's false ceiling was removed. The first phase of the Second Avenue Subway opened on January 1, 2017, and ridership has increased at the station since then.

HistoryEdit

Track layout
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(IND 63rd St Line)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Future Phase 3
 
 
 
 
 
 
Two levels split
below this point
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
to 72 St (Second Av Subway)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Superimposed tracks section
 
 
 
 
 
(Left tracks above right ones)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
to 57 St–7 Av (BMT 63rd St)
 
 
 
 
 
 
to 57 St–6 Av (IND 63rd St)
 
Lower level
 
Upper level

ConstructionEdit

The current 63rd Street lines were the final version of proposals for a northern midtown tunnel from the IND Queens Boulevard Line to the Second and Sixth Avenue Lines, which date back to the IND Second System of the 1920s and 1930s. The Second System was a plan to expand the city-owned and -operated Independent Subway System (IND), which often ran in direct competition with the two privately owned subway companies in the city, Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) and Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT). As a result, the plan for the line only had it connect to two planned IND lines, the Second and Sixth Avenue Lines.[6]:246[7]:417[8][9]

In 1940, the subway system was unified, with the IRT and the BMT coming under city control.[10] Consequently, plans for the proposed line were modified. The current plans were drawn up in the 1960s under the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Program For Action. Under this plan, the line was to connect to the IND Sixth Avenue and BMT Broadway Lines. The IND line was to be built on the upper portion of the bi-level 63rd Street Tunnel, which would run under the East River.[11] As such, the tracks connecting to the IND Sixth Avenue Line comprise the IND 63rd Street Line, on the south side of the station, while the tracks connecting to the BMT Broadway Line comprise the BMT 63rd Street Line, on the north side of the station.[12]:5, 21

Construction on the 63rd Street Line, including the Lexington Avenue–63rd Street station, began on November 25, 1969.[13] The station was built using a combination of cut-and-cover construction and tunneling machines.[14][15] However, after the construction of the Second Avenue Subway ceased in 1975 due to the city's severe fiscal crisis, the BMT 63rd Street Line side, the northern tracks, basically led to a non-existent subway line, so the BMT side was abandoned and walled off with a temporary orange brick wall, and a false ceiling was placed on the upper level's IND 63rd Street Line side, the southern side.[6]:225 Finishing touches were only applied to the IND side of the station.[16] The tracks on the closed-off BMT side were used only to store trains outside of rush hour.[17]

Original station opensEdit

 
Upper platform in 2008, before reconstruction for a connection to the Second Avenue Subway
 
Eastern fare control

The IND side of the station, the southern side, was completed in 1984,[16] when it was named the Construction Achievement Project of the Year by the Metropolitan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers;[18] however, it did not open for passenger service until October 29, 1989,[19] due to delays in the construction of the multi-level 63rd Street Tunnel, caused by the financial crisis of the 1970s.[16][1] Upon the station's opening, it operated as a typical one-track, one-side platform station on each level, with only the IND side in use, while the BMT side of each level was hidden beyond an orange tiled false wall. Switches on both levels connected the lines to the west of the station.[20]

East of this station on the IND side are turnouts for a connection to Phase 3 of the Second Avenue Subway, clearly visible from a moving train, which would allow future service from Queens towards Midtown and Downtown Manhattan.[21] Also to the east, the eastbound track of the IND line rises to the upper level of the tunnel, as both IND tracks are located on the upper level of 63rd Street Tunnel for the trip under the East River. The two tracks on the lower level of that tunnel are being connected to the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) via the East Side Access project.[16] The project will bring trains from the LIRR's Main Line to Grand Central Terminal, but, as of December 2016, the lower level is currently unused.[22]

East of this station on the BMT side, the planned track connections to the Second Avenue Subway curved slightly north. After the tracks ended, the roadbed went on for a few hundred feet before ending. With the Second Avenue Subway connection, these tunnels now merge into the tunnels of Phase 1 of the IND Second Avenue Line.[16][23]:93–94

Expansion for the Second Avenue SubwayEdit

In 2007, the Second Avenue Subway resumed construction.[24] As part of the project, the station was to undergo renovation to finish the BMT side, which would serve Second Avenue Line trains. The renovation included installation of new platform staircases, new wall tiles, new columns and column cladding, new platform pavings, new entrances/exits, new low-vibration track, and new mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and communication systems.[25][26] The contract for renovation of the station was awarded to Judlau Contracting on January 13, 2011.[27][28]

On September 22, 2011, a Second Avenue Subway tunnel-boring machine completed its run to the Lexington Avenue–63rd Street station's bellmouth from 92nd Street and Second Avenue.[29][30] Controlled blasting for the section of tunnel between Third Avenue/63rd Street and Second Avenue/65th Street was completed in March 2012.[31]

The orange false walls at platform level were removed in 2012 as part of construction, but the orange tiles at the Lexington Avenue mezzanine, as well as on the corridors to platform level, were kept for the time being.[32] In spring 2012, temporary blue walls separating most of the IND and BMT sides were erected for the duration of construction.[33]:14–15 Both sides had large white and grey panels on the track side, as well as "temporary" tiles that said "Lex 63" at regular intervals.[34] This differed vastly from the small beige tiles that were on the IND side of the tracks from 1989 to 2013.[35] New platform signs for the Second Avenue Subway were erected in December 2016.[36]

 
Unused tracks on BMT side under construction in 2013

When the contract was awarded, renovation was estimated to be finished by May 2014, but the completion date had been pushed back constantly, and as of August 2015, the completion date was Spring 2016,[37] though this was later pushed back to Summer 2016.[38] As of July 2015, the renovation was 90% complete,[39] and as of June 2016, 98% complete with only cosmetic finishes and power upgrades to be completed.[38]

To accommodate the increased patronage expected after the beginning of Second Avenue Subway service, the MTA built four new entrances at the intersection of Third Avenue and 63rd Street, leading to a new mezzanine at the eastern end of the station. Passengers travel between the new mezzanine and the platforms using four high-speed elevators, similar to the layout of several other stations deep underground. These elevators are the most space-efficient means of transporting people.[38][40] These entrances opened on December 30, 2016.[41] The MTA inaugurated Phase 1 of Second Avenue Subway service on January 1, 2017.[42][43]

ArtworkEdit

 
Elevated by Jean Shin as visible from the entrance at the southeastern corner Third Avenue and 63rd Street.

When this station was opened in 1989, it had no artwork. As part of Second Avenue Subway renovations, the artwork of Jean Shin, called Elevated, was commissioned by MTA Arts & Design to be installed in the new station areas.[44][45]

Shin used archival photographs of the 2nd and 3rd Avenue Elevated train (El) to create compositions in ceramic tile, glass mosaic, and laminated glass.[45] The imagery is manipulated and re-configured with each level having a different design. On the south east-corner entrance at Third Avenue, there are ceramic tiles depicting construction beams and the cranes that dismantled the El in the 1940s. At the mezzanine, a mosaic reveals the sky where the train had previously been present. The platform level features semi-transparent and reflective glass depicting vintage scenes of the neighborhood.[46]

Service historyEdit

 
Station sign describing the out-of-system transfer to Lexington Avenue–59th Street station.

This station opened on October 29, 1989 along with the entire IND 63rd Street Line.[1][47] The Q train served the station on weekdays and the B train stopped there on the weekends and late nights; both services used the Sixth Avenue Line.[1] For the first couple of months after the station opened, the JFK Express to Kennedy Airport also served the station until it was discontinued in 1990.[48] The 63rd Street Tunnel had gained notoriety as the "tunnel to nowhere" both during its planning and after its opening due to its lack of connections in Queens, being only 1,500 feet (460 m) short of the Queens Plaza station. Lexington Avenue–63rd Street was the third-to-last stop before 21st Street–Queensbridge, the line's northern terminus; the 21st Street station was not connected to any other subway station or line in Queens.[9][1]

On July 22, 2001, concurrent with the closure of the IND Sixth Avenue Line tracks of the Manhattan Bridge, B and Q train service to this station ceased and was replaced with a full-time shuttle. At this time, the northern tracks of the bridge were closed to allow for bridge repairs to take place. The southern BMT Broadway Line tracks were reopened allowing for half of the tracks on the bridge to remain open.[49][50] On December 16, 2001, the 63rd Street Connector, which was built to connect the IND 63rd Street Line and the IND Queens Boulevard Line officially opened, and the F train was rerouted to serve this station at all times, which it still does to this day.[13][51]:5[52]:2[53] When this happened, a free MetroCard out-of-system transfer to the Lexington Avenue–59th Street station was added. This was to provide a transfer to the IRT Lexington Avenue Line for F train customers as such a connection had been provided at the Lexington Avenue–53rd Street station along the previous routing of the F train.[54]

The MTA's plans for Second Avenue Subway service extended the Q train (and selected rush-hour N train short turn trips), running via the BMT Broadway Line, along the BMT 63rd Street Line to serve this station, beyond which the trains turn north and run along the Second Avenue Line to 96th Street.[55][56] This new service pattern was put into effect on January 1, 2017.[57]

Station layoutEdit

G Street level Exit/entrance, MetroCard connection to         at Lexington Avenue–59th Street
6M Lexington Avenue Mezzanine Fare control, station agent, MetroCard machines, elevator to platforms (within separate fare control)
  Elevator on north side of 63rd Street west of Lexington Avenue
Third Avenue Mezzanine Fare control, station agent, MetroCard machines, elevators to platforms
  Elevator at NW corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
5M - Escalator/stairway landing
4M - Escalator/stairway landing, transfer between platforms
UP
Upper Platform
Southbound   toward Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue via Brighton (  limited rush via Sea Beach) (57th Street–Seventh Avenue)
  toward Middle Village–Metropolitan Avenue weekends and evenings (57th Street–Sixth Avenue)
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right  
Southbound     toward Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue via Culver (57th Street–Sixth Avenue)
LP
Lower Platform
Northbound   (    limited rush,   weekends and evenings) toward 96th Street (72nd Street)
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right  
Northbound     toward Jamaica–179th Street (Roosevelt Island)
Elevator to Lexington Avenue on the upper platform, before renovation (top) and after renovation (bottom)

From the Lexington Avenue entrance, there are two short escalators and a stair from the northwest corner, a staircase from the southwest corner, and a short elevator hidden around the corner from the escalators.[41] From the fare control, there are two long escalators and a stair to an intermediate level, and then two shorter escalators and a pair of stairs to a lower mezzanine. Here, the bank splits and there are two separate tubes of two escalators and a stair each to each platform. The platform elevator has its own two turnstiles, and makes three stops (mezzanine, upper platform, lower platform).

The station's upper and lower levels are about 140 feet (43 m) and 155 feet (47 m) deep respectively, making the station among the system's deepest. This depth is because it has to go under the IRT Lexington Avenue Line and other existing infrastructure, in addition to the IND tunnels having to go under the East River a short distance to the east.[16] At the original (1989) mezzanine at Lexington Avenue, there are a total of eight escalators, four staircases and two elevators from the fare mezzanine to platform level. There is an in-building entrance with two escalators and a staircase, and another, stand-alone entrance with a staircase, from the street to the Lexington Avenue fare mezzanine. Two additional staircases between the platform levels are at the eastern end of platforms, past the elevator. A third staircase between the platform levels has been constructed.[25]

An eastern mezzanine at Third Avenue, along with stairwells to the platforms, was partially completed in the 1980s but not opened along with the rest of the station. A shaftway, identical to the one on the Lexington Avenue side, contained a single stairway, as well as beams that may have been intended to support escalators. The stairway led up to an upper mezzanine whose street entrance was sealed off.[17] This area was renovated as part of the Second Avenue Subway construction, and the shaftway was demolished.[58] The new entrances under construction for the Second Avenue Subway will add two new staircases, two new escalators, and five new elevators (one elevator from street level to mezzanine, and four elevators from the mezzanine to the platforms).[26] As of April 2016, the new entrances, escalators, and elevators had been completed. The bank of four elevators leads from the Third Avenue mezzanine to both platform levels at the eastern ends of both platforms, replacing the originally planned escalators, as they use the space more effectively.[59] On each platform level, both waiting areas have a piece of the Jean Shin artwork "Elevated."[45] The Third Avenue entrance and mezzanine opened on December 30, 2016.[41]

ExitsEdit

 
1989 outdoor station entrance at Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street
 
2017 outdoor station entrance at Third Avenue and 63rd Street

There are 3 exits leading to Lexington Avenue that were built as part of the original 1989 station, along with 4 exits to Third Avenue[60] that were built as part of the Second Avenue Subway.[25][41] The elevator between the street level and mezzanine at Lexington Avenue was replaced in August 2015.[61]:6[62]

Exit location Exit Type Number of exits
Within building, NW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street Escalator and Staircase 1 staircase
2 escalators (1 up, 1 down)
Next to 135 E 63rd Street
NW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street
Elevator   1
SW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street Staircase 1
Entrance 1
Within building at SE corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Escalators 2 escalators (1 up, 1 down)
Entrance 2
NW corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Elevator   1
Entrance 3
NE corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Staircase 1
Entrance 4
SW corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Staircase 1

Ancillary buildingsEdit

This station has two ancillary buildings:

  • Ancillary 1: 124 East 63rd Street[25]
  • Ancillary 2: North side of 63rd Street between Third and Lexington Avenues[25]

RidershipEdit

In 2016, before the Second Avenue Subway opened, the station had 5,033,950 boardings, making it the 93rd most used station in the 422-station system.[4] This amounted to an average of 16,988 passengers per weekday.[63] After the Second Avenue Subway opened, there was a combined average of 28,150 boardings and transfers every weekday.[64] In 2017, Lexington Avenue–63rd Street recorded 6,389,408 entries, making it the 70th busiest station in the then 425-station system.[4]

ReferencesEdit

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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

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