Once upon a time, back in the mid 1990s as Manhattan Bridge work caused numerous subway reroutings, New York City Transit released a two-sided map showing peak service on one side and off-peak on the other. The map survived for a few months before the ever-shifting patterns across the bridge caused the MTA to discard the redesign for something a little less malleable. Still, the need for a night map has persisted.
Even though the subways run for 24 hours a day, not every train runs at every hour, and not every route is the same at 4 a.m. as it is at 4 p.m. Some rains run express during the day but not at night. Some run stunted shuttle routes during late-night hours. Others, such as the poor B train, run only until some indeterminate time between 10-10:30 p.m. Yet, as apps such as the KickMap show the scheduling changes, our subway map depicts robust service at all hours of the day.
I had first gotten wind of this development earlier this fall, and today, the MTA unveiled its first night subway map. Designed with subtle shades of grey and dark blue to connote a later hour, the night map — available here as a pdf — shows how service should be after the peak hours are over. To make it an even more alluring document, the authority has released only 25,000 in its initial press run with a copy of MTA Arts for Transit’s “City of Glass” on the bank. Subsequent printings will feature different artwork as these maps slowly become collector’s items.
Beyond that aspect of the map, though, these are mostly useful diagrams of late-night service. Much like the refillable unlimited ride MetroCards, these night maps should have been available years ago as it helps late-night straphangers adjust to the vast difference in service offered once the evening rush is over, but because of constant overnight track work, even the night map won’t always be entirely accurate. It is customer-friendly, if you can find one.
“The standard subway map depicts morning to evening weekday service,” MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota said in a statement. “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.”
For now, the map is available for free at the Transit Museum (host for my Wednesday event) and at the Transit Museum Annex in Grand Central. It was developed in house, and the MTA is also making 300 unfolded press sheets available for purchase a the Transit Museum Annex for $20 a piece. They were not yet available for sale when I stopped by the Museum Annex shortly before 2 p.m. They will be great, though, for framing.
After the jump, a bulleted list of the difference between the Night Map and the regular subway map.
- Three subway lines (the B, C and Z) and the 42nd Street Shuttle do not operate overnight and are not shown on the map.
- Five subway lines offer shorter service than usual:
- The 3 terminates at Times Square.
- The 5 runs as a shuttle in the Bronx between E. 180 St and Dyre Av
- The M runs as a shuttle between Myrtle Av, Brooklyn, and Metropolitan Av, Queens.
- The Q terminates at 57 St/7 Av in Midtown Manhattan.
- The R runs as a shuttle in Brooklyn between 36 St and 95 St.
- Six lines make additional stops they don’t make during the daytime.
- The 2 makes all local stops in Manhattan.
- The 4 makes all local stops in Manhattan and Brooklyn and is extended to New Lots Av, Brooklyn.
- The A makes all local stops in Manhattan and Brooklyn; it runs to Far Rockaway but not Lefferts Blvd or Rockaway Park, which are served by shuttle trains.
- The D runs local via Fourth Av in Brooklyn.
- The E runs local via Queens Blvd.
- The N runs local via the Financial District.
- There is no skip/stop service on the J, which terminates at Chambers St on weekend overnight periods.
- Six subway lines (the 1, 6, 7, F, G, and L) and Franklin Avenue Shuttle run their normal routes. (There is no 6 or 7 express service.)