Map Takes You Through Limbo Of Late-Night Subway Service

January 30, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Available at Transit Museum

BROOKLYN — When do three subway lines not run, three lines become shuttle trains and six express trains run as locals?

The answer is between midnight and 6 a.m. And that doesn’t even begin to address special repair schedules for individual lines, because late nights and weekends are the favorite times for repairs.

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If you don’t read subway advisories really closely, you may find yourself asked to leave a train, get onto a shuttle bus and ride through unknown and slightly scary territory — only to have to get back onto the subway 20 minutes later.

Much fewer people than usual ride the subways at, say, 2 in the morning, and those people who are unfamiliar with nighttime service but have to travel at these hours might be in for a problematic evening.

That’s why the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Monday released the first-ever map showing the scheduled overnight service of the subway system.

The New York City subway is the only large subway or metro system in the world to maintain service to all its stations around the clock. For example, the Boston subways close at 12:30 a.m. on most lines — after that, you have to take a taxi.

The overnight service shown in the night map runs generally from midnight to 6 a.m., although certain lines depicted in the map may have overnight service patterns that begin or end slightly earlier or later than these times.

The MTA has printed 25,000 copies of the map in tandem with its normal press run of a million copies of the standard subway and railroad map.

The night map is available free of charge while supplies last at the New York Transit Museum at Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street in Downtown Brooklyn and at the Transit Museum Annex in Grand Central Terminal.

The map, developed in-house by the MTA, is the same size as the standard map and similarly folds into a handy pocket-sized document. In addition to the folded version, 300 pristine, unfolded press sheets of the night map are available for purchase at the Transit Museum Annex for $20 each.

The reverse side of the map shows a work commissioned for MTA Arts for Transit, “City of Glass” by Romare Bearden, installed in the Westchester Square station in the Bronx in 1993. In “City of Glass,” jewel-like colored glass reveals a train wending its way through the canyons of towers and tenements under a full luminous moon.

For each subsequent night map in the series, a new artwork will adorn the reverse side.

“The standard subway map depicts morning to evening weekday service,” said MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota. “This companion night map will, for the first time, depict service for a particular portion of the day. This is the latest effort we’ve taken to improve the availability of information and detail we provide to our customers.”

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