It’s en vogue to dump on the MTA these days, and no one is letting actual reporting getting in the way of the fun. After all, the city’s transit agency is near-broke, suffers from inept management and is raising fares. Now, we learn that they can’t even spell the names of their own stations properly.
Ha! Right? Well, not quite. It turns out that this typo isn’t really a news story in the current sense of the word. It’s a seven-decade-old problem, but that hasn’t stopped the outrage from building. Let’s recap.
The fun started on Monday when Gothamist published a short post about the Broadway IND Crosstown stop. One of the station’s numerous tilings is out of order. Instead of saying “Broadway,” the letters read “Brodaway.”
Yesterday, The Daily News picked up this typo and reporting it as a serious news story. In doing so, Pete Donohue and Veronika Belenkaya brought this to the attention of New York City Transit officials. As we’ll soon learn, it would probably have been a better idea to let this sleeping dog lie.
Meanwhile, the madness spread with an over-the-top rant by WPIX’s Steven Bogart. He bashed the MTA for this misspelling:
When you’re riding the rails on the G line in Brooklyn, there’s a stop along the way that we New Yorkers like to call “Broadway.” The problem is the “we” doesn’t seem to include our beloved Metropolitan Transportation Authority. They’ve actually misspelled one of the most iconic street names in these United States, calling it “Brodaway” instead.
The grotesque error was spotted inside the Queens-bound G train tunnel in Williamsburg…With the MTA moving toward implementing a massive fare hike in order to plug a budget gap that they say has worsened by the global financial crisis, one could only hope some of that money will go toward spelling courses for the agency’s hundreds of employees.
People in the know were quick to debunk the News story. A lengthy Subchat thread delved into the history of this typo, and NY1 News acknowledged this history. People who grew up along the IND Crosstown line remember seeing this misspelling through the decades, and according to Kevin Walsh at Forgotten-NY, the typo has been in place since 1937.
Meanwhile, the MTA is primed to send someone to fix it. In the midst of a budget crisis, they are going to pay to fix a 72-year-old mistake that existed a good thirty years before the MTA made its ignoble debut in 1968. The cash-strapped authority is going to spend money on materials and man-hours to fix what many feel is one of the quirks of the subway system.
Talk about an overreaction. Perhaps we could let Mayor LaGuardia foot the bill for the replacement tiles. The IND Crosstown, typo and all, opened on his watch.
A photo of the misspelling in the late 1990s courtesy of Forgotten-NY.