Has New York ever been so wide?

This intriguing diagram from the New York Transit Museum’s collection makes the most of its landscape dimensions (possibly two pages in a guide book?) by going sideways as much as possible. Manhattan is impossibly broad, and the Bronx is shown as almost entirely to the east of it. Similar distortions happen just about everywhere, and yet – perhaps a little surprisingly – I still find the overall effect to be quite pleasing. It may not resemble New York’s physical layout very much, but there’s a great graphic feel to it: the route lines are easy to follow and there’s a strong underlying grid underpinning the whole thing.

It’s always fun spotting the different services on old New York Subway maps, and there’s plenty to see here: the JFK Express stands out immediately because of its light blue colour, but there’s more to see the longer you look!

Down the bottom left of the map, there’s a guide to calculating cross streets nearest to Avenue addresses in Manhattan that makes my head spin, although it probably makes perfect sense to native New Yorkers. See if you can work it out!

Our final word: An oddball addition to the many and varied maps of the New York Subway. It’s definitely quirky, but I quite like it in spite of that.

Source: New York Transit Museum

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