Home Service Advisories Massimo Vignelli gravely ill; weekend service changes

Massimo Vignelli gravely ill; weekend service changes

by Benjamin Kabak

Massimo discusses his map at the Transit Museum in 2012. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

His map has launched 1000 Internet debates, and his designs survive in the signs we see in the New York City subway system today. Massimo Vignelli’s legacy has influenced the way our subway system look and, while his ideas have been bastardized, the way signage is established. Now, his days are numbered.

Michael Beirut, a partner of Vignelli’s at Pentagram, told Creative Review the news. Vignelli will be spending his final days with his family on the Upper East Side, and his son has requested letters:

According to Pentagram partner Michael Bierut, “Luca said that Massimo would be thrilled to get notes of good wishes from people whom he’s touched or influenced – whether personally or remotely – over the years. Luca has visions of huge mail bags full of letters. I know that one of Massimo’s biggest fantasies has been to attend his own funeral. This will be the next best thing. Pass the word.”

If you’re so inclined, Vignelli lives at 130 East 67 Street, New York, New York 10021. While we talk endlessly about his maps, check out this New Yorker post from late April which details his signage designs (and the online version of the Graphics Standard Manual). Like I do, Vignelli objected to this day to some of the MTA’s edits to his signs. He said he recognizes “about fifty percent” of today’s signage as his designs.

“The handling of the typography is not as good as if we had done it. And the background is black instead of white, because of the graffiti. But everything else is the same. It’s still our subway,” he said to the New Yorker while criticizing signs that say “Exit Middle of Plat.” “It’s like a language spoken by a baby. By a person who can’t speak the language.”

I’ll have more on Vignelli next week. After the jump, this weekend’s service changes.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, May 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 12, 2 trains are suspended in both directions between Franklin Av and Flatbush Av Brooklyn College due to switch renewal north of Nostrand Av. Free shuttle buses provide alternative service, making all subway stops between Franklin Av and Flatbush Av Brooklyn College


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, May 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 12, 3 trains are suspended due to switch renewal north of Nostrand Av. 2 trains and free shuttle buses provide alternate service. In Brooklyn, free shuttle buses operate between Franklin Av and New Lots Av. Transfer between 2 trains and free shuttle buses at Franklin Av. In Harlem, free shuttle buses serve 135 St, 145 St, and 148 St. Transfer between 2 trains and free shuttle buses at 135 St.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, May 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 12 4 trains are suspended in both directions between Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr and New Lots Av due to switch renewal north of Nostrand Av. 2 trains and free shuttle buses provide alternate service. Transfer between 2 trains and free shuttle buses at Franklin Av.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, May 10 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 12 4 trains run local in both directions between 125 St and Grand Central 42 St due to cable work south of 125 St.


From 5:45 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday, May 10, and from 7:45 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, May 11, 5 trains run local in both directions from 125 St to Grand Central-42 St due to cable work south of 125 St. Trains run every 20 minutes between Eastchester-Dyre Av and Bowling Green.


From 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, May 10, and from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday, May 11, 6 trains run every 16 minutes between 3 Av-138 St and Pelham Bay Park due to track panel installation at St Lawrence Av, and track maintenance at Cypress Av. The last stop for some Pelham Bay Park bound 6 trains is 3 Av-138 St.


From 5:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Sunday, May 11, 7 trains are suspended between Times Square-42 St and Queensboro Plaza in both directions due to track work north of Queensboro Plaza. Take the E F N S and free shuttle buses making station stops at Queensboro Plaza, Queens Plaza, Court Square, Hunters Point Avenue and Vernon Blvd-Jackson Avenue.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, May 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 12, A trains are suspended between Ozone Park Lefferts Blvd and Rockaway Blvd due to station rehabilitations at 88 St and 104 St. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service via 80 St. Far Rockaway Mott Av-bound A trains skip 88 St and Rockaway Blvd. Free shuttle buses operate between 80 St and Ozone Park Lefferts Blvd, stopping at 88 St, Rockaway Blvd, 104 St, and 111 St. Transfer between shuttle buses and the A at 80 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, May 9 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, May 11, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, May 11, to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 12, Brooklyn-bound A trains run express from 59 St Columbus Circle to Canal St due to Mulry Square vent plant upgrade.


From 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, May 10, and Sunday, May 11, Brooklyn-bound C trains run express from 59 St Columbus Circle to Canal St due to Mulry Square vent plant upgrade.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, May 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 12, Manhattan-bound E trains run express from 34 St-Penn Station to Canal St due to Mulry Square vent plant upgrade.


From 12:30 a.m. Saturday, May 10 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 12, E trains run local in both directions between Queens Plaza and Forest Hills-71 Av due to CPM signal modernization at Forest Hills-71 Av and Kew Gardens-Union Tpke.


From 12:30 a.m. Saturday, May 10 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 12, Queens-bound F trains run local between Queens Plaza and Forest Hills-71 Av due to CPM signal modernization at Forest Hills-71 Av and Kew Gardens-Union Tpke. Coney Island-Stillwell Av-bound F trains run local between Forest Hills-71 Av and 21 St-Queensbridge.


From 9:45 p.m. Friday, May 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 12, Queens-bound F trains are rerouted via the E line from 47-50 Sts-Rock Ctr to Queens Plaza due to Second Avenue Subway construction work.


From 5:00 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, May 10, and Sunday, May 11, G trains run every 20 minutes between Court Sq and Bedford-Nostrand Avs due to Hurricane Sandy recovery work. The last stop on some Court Sq-bound G trains is Bedford-Nostrand Avs.


From 3:30 a.m. Saturday, May 10 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, May 11, J service is suspended between Marcy Av and Broadway Junction due to track panel work from Flushing Av to Myrtle Av, and track repairs near Broadway Junction. Free shuttle buses operate between Marcy Av and Broadway Junction stopping at Hewes St, Lorimer St, Flushing Ave, Myrtle Av, Kosciusko St, Gates Av, Halsey St, and Chauncey St.


From 3:30 a.m. Saturday, May 10 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, May 11, M service is suspended due to track panel work from Flushing Av to Myrtle Av, and track repairs near Broadway Junction. Transfer between J trains and free shuttle buses at Marcy Av. Free shuttle buses operate between Middle Village Metropolitan Av and Marcy Av, stopping at Fresh Pond Rd, Forest Av, Seneca Av, Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs, Knickerbocker Av, Central Av, Myrtle Av, Flushing Av, Lorimer St, and Hewes St.

(Rockaway Park Shuttle)
From 11:30 p.m. Friday, May 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 12, the Rockaway Park Shuttle is suspended due to track panel installation from Beach 67 St to Beach 60 St. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service between Rockaway Park-Beach 116 St and Beach 67 St, stopping at Beach 105 St, Beach 98 St, and Beach 90 St. Transfer between A trains and free shuttle buses at Beach 67 St.

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5 comments

Eddie May 10, 2014 - 8:15 am

God bless The Maestro!
His genius will live forever.

Reply
Poka May 10, 2014 - 11:17 am

That man and his legacy shall live forever.

Reply
BrooklynBus May 10, 2014 - 4:30 pm

I thought the background change from white to black was made because the signs visibility was improved for people of low vision. This is the first time I’ve heard that it was because of grafitti.

Reply
Chuck G. May 12, 2014 - 5:41 pm

Vignelli, may he rest in peace, was a visionary, and certainly NYC’s transit system owes him a debt of gratitude for the work he was hired to do for them.

But, his “form over function” idealism simply doesn’t stand up to the ever-changing environment of today’s subway system. The black-on-white is a perfect example. Great idea in a standards manual, awful idea in the field…never stood up to the rigors of the environment around it (dirt, graffiti, etc).

If a sign cannot be located in the precise location it says it should in the standards manual because of lighting or a conduit? Vignelli’s answer would be to move the light or the conduit. In an ideal world, yes. In the real world, it is much cheaper to relocate the sign than it is to re-run a conduit. The message still gets across to the customer, just not the way Vignelli envisioned.

What if a sign message needs to be added to the back of an existing sign due to legal issues and the existing sign isn’t big enough to fit that message? An abbreviation or two is the solution, despite that being “baby talk” according to Vignelli. Replace the sign instead? Sure, but I’ll show you a hundred other signs in the system that need replacing before that one does just because of an abbreviation. Material and labor budgets are a real world issue that need to be part of the equation.

Vignelli’s standards were made in a world that existed before ADA. When asked at a NYU function a few years back about how ADA would have affected his design, he gave a non-answer about unfunded mandates and bureaucracy. Today, sign designs need to be deviated to accommodate ADA requirements or there are real world consequences (i.e. fines) to face.

Like I said, Vignelli’s Standards Manual is a ‘work of art’ but for him to complain about the modern, real world version of the wayfinding system being a sorry bastardization of his white, clean and neat vision takes a true graphic designer’s ego to pull off.

I wish him and his family nothing but the best in his final days.

Reply
Erik May 22, 2014 - 6:03 pm

Massimo Vignelli is not a Pentagram partner. Mr. Beirut was one of his students and an acolyte of Mr. Vignelli’s. He is a Pentagram partner. Just a point of clarification.

He is a genius.

Reply

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