As 2008 draws to a close, I’d like to look back on the year that was on Second Ave. Sagas. We talked a lot of transit policy as the MTA dealt with a financial crisis, the death of congestion pricing and fare hikes. While advertising often took center stage, we had our fun too as the MTA neared completion on a new station and an old Vignelli original returned.
To wrap up the year, let’s run down the Top Ten most popular posts of 2008 on the site. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to read my musings, to everyone who contributes and to everyone rides the subway. Have a safe and happy New Year, and remember that subway service on Jan. 1 operates on a Sunday schedule. I’ll see on you on Friday.
1. A subway system easier to navigate
While poking around Massimo Vignelli’s Website, I came across the ultimate New York City subway triptych. An old subway sign told riders which trains they needed to take and what transfers to make to get from one station to the next.
2. Inside the new South Ferry Terminal
A few weeks ago, the MTA held a press tour of 1 train’s new South Ferry Terminal. My camera I went inside the art-filled and state-of-the-art depot, the system’s first new station in nearly twenty years.
3. Finding love on the subway
After the Patrick Moberg story stole headlines in 2007, I mused on the nature of privacy in the subways and urged straphangers to talk to one another. My family felt I was secretly channeling my own subway crush.
4. Planning for a Second Ave. subway, 75 years ago
Modern Mechanix unearthed an article from 1931 in which the New York City of the future came equipped with a four-track Second Ave. subway. Over 75 years later, we’re still waiting for even a two-track version of that reality.
5. New Grand Theft Auto cuts down our subways
Everyone’s favorite anarchist video game took on New York City in its Liberty City release this year. While the subways played an integral role in the game, the map looked nothing like the complex city-wide snake we’re used to seeing.
6. Inside — and outside — the Second Ave. Subway
At a Community Board 8 meeting at the end of October, the MTA unveiled its architectural renderings for the three Second Ave. subway stops. We took a look at the so-called subway stations of the future. Some of the entrances — the canopied escalators in particular — look suspiciously like the WMATA’s stations in Washington, D.C.
7. For Men’s Vogue, Vignelli issues an update
The Massimo Vignelli subway map will be remembered in New York City for decades to come. It was either the most masterful work of art and the most useless subway map ever depending upon whom you ask. Earlier this year, Men’s Vogue commissioned an update from Vignelli, and the limited edition print series sold out in less than a day.
8. Thinking Out Loud: The MTA should double the fares
In a post that generated a SAS-record 53 comments, I suggested that, in order to apply pressure to Albany for proper MTA funding, the transit agency should double the fares across the board. While the MTA is set to raise fares by around 23 percent, my think piece proposal still stands.
9. Inside the Crown Jewel of the old subway system
In March, I took the Transit Museum’s tour of the now-shuttered City Hall stop. The station, a decadent display of another era, served as the launching point of the city’s subways in 1904. Today, it’s a ghost station, visible only from the windows of the 6 train as it curves through the stop on its way uptown.
10. Inside the circumferential subway route plans
During his State of the MTA speech in March, MTA CEO and Executive Director Elliot Sander unveiled the agency’s 40-year vision. This proposal included the long-debated circumferential subway route, a line traveling from Brooklyn through Queens and into the Bronx. The city needs it, but it will be a long, long time before this train becomes a reality.