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Lexington Avenue–63rd Street is a New York City Subway station in Lenox Hill, Manhattan, shared by the IND and BMT 63rd Street Lines. Located at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street, it is served by the F and Qtrain at all times. The station has two platform levels; trains headed southbound to downtown and Brooklyn use the upper level, while trains headed northbound, to Queens and the Upper East Side, use the lower level.

The station is also served by some rush-hour N trains. These trains go to/from 72nd Street due to overcrowding on the BMT Astoria Line. In 2009, the station was rehabilitated and the station's original red-orange wall tiles have been removed. New beige-white wall tiles have been installed since then.

HistoryEdit

ConstructionEdit

The current 63rd Street Line was the final version of proposals for a northern midtown tunnel from the IND Queens Boulevard Line to the Second and Sixth Avenue Lines, which date back to the IND Second System of the 1920s and 1930s. The current plans were drawn up in the 1960s under the MTA's Program For Action.

Construction on the 63rd Street Line, including the Lexington Avenue–63rd Street station, began on November 25, 1969. About US$1,230,000,000 was spent to create three tunnels and a half-dozen holes as part of construction on the Second Avenue and 63rd Street Lines. The station was built using a combination of cut-and-cover construction and tunneling machines. However, the construction of the Second Avenue Subway and 63rd Street line ceased in 1975 due to the city's severe fiscal crisis. Construction resumed on both lines in 1980.

The IND side of the station was completed in 1983, when it was named the Construction Achievement Project of the Year by the Metropolitan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers; however, it did not open for passenger service until October 29, 1989, when the upper levels of the multi-level 63rd Street Tunnel and Second Avenue Line were completed for subway use. Upon the station's opening, it operated as a typical two-track, two-side platform station on each level. While both sides were in service at the time, only the IND connection was in use, while the BMT tracks of each level were used to store trains outside of rush hours.

East of this station on the IND side are turnouts for a connection to the Second Avenue Subway, clearly visible from a moving train, which allows Y service from Queens to run towards Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. Also to the east, the eastbound track of the IND line rises to the upper level of the tunnel, as both IND tracks are located on the upper level of 63rd Street Tunnel for the trip under the East River. The two tracks on the lower level of that tunnel are being connected to the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) via the East Side Access project. The project will bring trains from the LIRR's Main Line to Grand Central Terminal, but, as of December 2016, the lower level is currently unused.

East of this station on the BMT side, the planned track connections to the Second Avenue Line curve slightly north, running for a few hundred feet before connecting to Second Avenue.

New artwork Edit

When this station was opened in 1989, it had no artwork. As part of Second Avenue Subway renovations, the artwork of Jean Shin was installed in the new station areas. Shin decorated the station walls with "Elevated," a ceramic, mosaic, and glass photographic installation that is based on archival photos from the New York Transit Museum and the New-York Historical Society. "Elevated" consists of pieces relating to the vast elevated railway system that once crisscrossed New York City. There is a piece that shows the underside of the elevated structures and another piece, within new entrance 1, showing their demolition. Yet another piece depicts people walking under a sky-colored silhouette of the former elevateds.

Service historyEdit

This station opened on October 29, 1989 along with the entire IND 63rd Street Line. The Q train served the station on weekdays and the V train stopped there all times except late nights; both services used the Sixth Avenue Line. The tunnel had gained notoriety as the "tunnel to nowhere" both during its planning and after its opening. Lexington Avenue–63rd Street was the third-to-last stop before 21st Street–Queensbridge, the IND line's northern terminus; the 21st Street station was not connected to any other subway station or line in Queens. The BMT Line led to the IND Second Avenue Line and ran to 125th Street.

On July 22, 2001, concurrent with the closure of the IND Sixth Avenue Line tracks of the Manhattan Bridge, Q train service was rerouted onto the BMT Broadway Line and 63rd Street line. Special rush-hour service to began on the W to 72nd Street, later replaced by the N. On June 27, 2010, the V was discontinued, and the F train was rerouted to serve this station at all times, which it still does to this day.

Station layoutEdit

G Street Level Exit/Entrance
B1 Lexington Avenue Mezzanine Fare control, station agent, MetroCard vending machines, elevator to platforms
Third Avenue Mezzanine Fare control, station agent, MetroCard vending machines, elevators to platforms
B2 - Escalator/stairway landing
B3 - Escalator/stairway landing, transfer between platforms
B4 Southbound Q toward Coney Island (via Brighton) (57th Street–Seventh Avenue)
← N toward Coney Island (rush hours) (via Sea Beach) (57th Street–Seventh Avenue)
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right, accessable
Southbound F toward Coney Island via Culver (57th Street)
B5 Northbound Q toward Lexington Avenue-125th Street (72nd Street)
→ N toward 72nd Street (rush hours) (via Sea Beach) (72nd Street)
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right, accessable
Northbound F toward Jamaica–179th Street (Roosevelt Island)
B6 Track 1 LIRR East Side Access (under construction)
Track 2 LIRR East Side Access (under construction)

From the Lexington Avenue entrance, there are two short escalators and a stair from the northwest corner, a staircase from the southwest corner, and a short elevator hidden around the corner from the escalators. From the fare control, there are two long escalators and a stair to an intermediate level, and then two shorter escalators and a pair of stairs to a lower mezzanine. Here, the bank splits and there are two separate tubes of two escalators and a stair each to each platform. The platform elevator has its own two turnstiles, and makes three stops (mezzanine, upper platform, lower platform).

The station's upper and lower levels are about 140 feet (43 m) and 155 feet (47 m) deep respectively, making the station among the system's deepest. This depth is because it has to go under the IRT Lexington Avenue Line and other existing infrastructure, in addition to the IND tunnels having to go under the East River a short distance to the east. At the original (1989) mezzanine at Lexington Avenue, there are a total of eight escalators, four staircases and two elevators from the fare mezzanine to platform level. There is an in-building entrance with two escalators and a staircase, and another, stand-alone entrance with a staircase, from the street to the Lexington Avenue fare mezzanine. Two additional staircases between the platform levels are at the eastern end of platforms, past the elevator. A third staircase between the platform levels has been construction.

An eastern mezzanine at Third Avenue, along with stairwells to the platforms, was partially completed in the 1980s but not opened along with the rest of the station. A shaftway, identical to the one on the Lexington Avenue side, contained a sole stairway, as well as beams that may have been intended to support escalators. The stairway led up to an upper mezzanine whose street entrance was sealed off. This area was renovated as part of the Second Avenue Subway reconstruction project, and the shaftway was demolished. The new entrances under construction added two new staircases, two new escalators, and five new elevators (one elevator from street level to mezzanine, and four elevators from the mezzanine to the platforms). As of April 2016, the new entrances, escalators, and elevators have been completed. The bank of four elevators leads from the Third Avenue mezzanine to both platform levels at the eastern ends of both platforms, replacing the originally planned escalators due to being more space-efficient. On each platform level, both waiting areas have a piece of the Jean Shin artwork "Elevated." There is also a pattern of the city skyline within the escalator entrance's wall. The Third Avenue entrance and mezzanine opened on December 30, 2016.

Entrances and exitsEdit

There are currently 3 entrances and exits leading to Lexington Avenue, along with 4 entrances to Third Avenue that were built as part of a rehabilitation project. The elevator between the street level and mezzanine was replaced in August 2015.

Exit location Exit Type Number of exits
Within building, NW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street Escalator and Staircase 1 staircase
2 escalators (1 up, 1 down)
Next to 135 E 63rd Street
NW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street
Elevator 1
SW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street Staircase 1
Entrance 1
Within building at SE corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Escalators 2 escalators (1 up, 1 down)
Entrance 2
NW corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Elevator 1
Entrance 3
NE corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Staircase 1
Entrance 4
SW corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street
Staircase 1

Ancillary buildingsEdit

This station has two ancillary buildings:

  • Ancillary 1: 124 East 63rd Street
  • Ancillary 2: North side of 63rd Street between Third and Lexington Avenues

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