191st Street (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line)

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 191 Street
 "1" train
MTA NYC logo.svg New York City Subway rapid transit station
WTM3 The Fixers F-30.jpg
Station statistics
Address West 191st Street & Saint Nicholas Avenue
New York, NY 10040
Borough Manhattan
Locale Washington Heights
Coordinates 40°51′18″N 73°55′44″W / 40.855°N 73.929°W / 40.855; -73.929Coordinates: 40°51′18″N 73°55′44″W / 40.855°N 73.929°W / 40.855; -73.929
Division A (IRT)
Line       IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line
Services       1 all times (all times)
Transit connections Bus transport NYCT Bus: M3, M101
Structure Underground
Depth 180 feet (55 m)
Platforms 2 side platforms
Tracks 2
Other information
Opened January 14, 1911 (107 years ago) (1911-01-14)[1]
Station code 300[2]
Accessible The mezzanine is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, but the platforms are not compliant ADA-accessible to mezzanine only; platforms are not ADA-accessible
Wireless service Wi-Fi and cellular service is provided at this station[3]
Passengers (2017) 2,657,964[4]Decrease 2.7%
Rank 193 out of 425
Station succession
Next north Dyckman Street: 1 all times
Next south 181st Street: 1 all times

191st Street is a station on the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line of the New York City Subway. Located at the intersection of St. Nicholas Avenue and 191st Street in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, it is served by the 1 train at all times.


Track layout

The West Side Branch of the first subway was extended northward to a temporary terminus of 221st Street and Broadway on March 12, 1906 with the station at 191st Street not yet open.[5][6][7] The elevators and other work had not yet been completed, and 191st Street did not open to the public until January 14, 1911.[1][8]

In 1948, platforms on the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line from 103rd Street to 238th Street were lengthened to 514 feet to allow full ten-car express trains to platform. Previously the stations could only platform six car local trains. The platform extensions were opened in stages. On April 6, 1948, the stations from 103rd Street to Dyckman Street had their platform extensions opened, with the exception of 125th Street, which had its extension opened on June 11, 1948.[9][10]

On December 28, 1950, the New York City Board of Transportation issued a report concerning the construction of bomb shelters in the subway system. Five deep stations in Washington Heights, including the 191st Street station, were considered to be ideal for being used as bomb-proof shelters. The program was expected to cost $104,000,000. These shelters were expected to provide limited protection against conventional bombs, while providing protection against shock waves and air blast, as well as from the heat and radiation from an atomic bomb. To become suitable as shelters, the stations would require water-supply facilities, first-aid rooms, and additional bathrooms.[11]

In 2004, the number of elevator attendants at the station was reduced to one per station as a result of budget cuts by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The agency had intended to remove all the attendants, but kept one in each station after many riders protested. The change saved $1.2 million a year.[12] In November 2007, the MTA proposed savings cuts to help reduce the agency's deficit. As part of the plan, all elevator operators at 191st Street, along with those in four other stations in Washington Heights, would have been cut.[13] On December 7, 2007, the MTA announced that it would not remove the remaining elevator operators at 191st Street, along with those in four other stations in Washington Heights. The move was intended to save $1.7 million a year, but was not implemented due to pushback from elected officials and residents from the area.[14]

The elevator attendants currently serve as a way to reassure passengers as the elevators are the primary entrance to the platforms, and passengers often wait for the elevators with an attendant.[15] The attendants at the five stations are primarily maintenance and cleaning workers who suffered injuries that made it hard for them to continue doing their original jobs.[16]

Station layout[edit]

G Street level Exit/Entrance
(Bank of elevators in northern exit. Note: Platforms and street level are not accessible)
M Mezzanine Fare control, station agent
Platform level
Side platform, doors open on the right
Northbound "1" train toward Van Cortlandt Park (Dyckman Street)
Southbound "1" train toward South Ferry (181st Street)
Side platform, doors open on the right

The 191st Street station has two tracks and two side platforms. There are also covered pedestrian footbridges connecting the two platforms, so people on the footbridges cannot see the tracks and platforms (and vice versa).[17]

At approximately 180 feet (55 m) below street level, it is the deepest station in the New York City Subway system.[18] In 1947, Victor Hess, who won the 1936 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of cosmic rays, wrote to the Board of Transportation asking if he could use the station "to carry out experiments on the radiation emitted from rocks at a location well protected from cosmic rays."[19] Hess ultimately was allowed to conduct his experiments in the nearby 190th Street station on the IND Eighth Avenue Line, which is also located far below ground.[20] Despite the depth of the 191st Street station, the next station north, Dyckman Street, is just above ground level. This is because 191st Street is at nearly the highest point on the island of Manhattan and this station is deep in the Washington Heights Mine Tunnel, while Dyckman Street runs along a deep valley almost at sea level and its station is at the tunnel portal, despite the fact that both stations are at the same elevation above sea level.

In 1981, the MTA listed the 191st Street station among the 69 most deteriorated stations in the subway system.[21] The station was completely renovated in 2003–2004 by the New York City Transit Authority. All of the deteriorating tiles and mosaics were replaced with exact reproductions of the originals made by Serpentile, a company that does reproductions of original subway motifs. The tiles are all unglazed porcelain a half inch wide. Each of the 72 columns had to be plastered and prepared for four-sided mosaics that wrap around each one. There are 72 vertical panels, and over 3500 linear feet of mosaics. New York City Transit construction crews did all of the tile and installation work. The station is also home to a mosaic tile piece of art titled Primavera by Raul Colon, accessible from the St. Nicholas Ave entrance to the station, or via the access tunnel on Broadway.


There are two entrances/exits from this station via the same fare control. The main entrance/exit at the southwest corner of 191st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue is at the summit of a hill and accessible only by a set of four elevators.[22] The elevators to the mezzanine still utilize elevator operators, and the station is one of the only stations in the system to do so.[23] The other entrance/exit, at 190th Street and Broadway west of the station, is at a hillside and accessed via a three-block long passageway, which passes under Wadsworth Terrace and Avenue.[22][24]


The 900-foot-long (270 m) passageway between the station's Broadway entrance and the station itself is not maintained by the MTA, despite being marked as a subway entrance. It is a property of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and is officially called "Tunnel Street." The tunnel is also used as a connector between western and eastern Washington Heights;[24] passengers using the other entrance, at 191st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, need to take an elevator to access the station due to that intersection's height, and the elevators at that entrance are considered a convenient way to traverse the neighborhood without walking up a hill.[23]

In the early 1990s, as the city's crime rates reached an all-time high, the station was considered very dangerous, with 11 crimes having taken place there in the year 1990, many of which were suspected to happen in the tunnel. The tunnel was dimly lit, covered with graffiti, and strewn with garbage at the time.[24] In September 2014, improvements started on the tunnel, which area residents had complained about. The tunnel, which had graffiti and was frequented by cyclists riding bikes illegally, was slated to get several murals and some new LED lighting.[25]

The passageway has been painted with murals since the late 2000s, in an effort to beautify the tunnel. In 2008, a mural was painted on the passageway leading up from Broadway to the station, as part of the Groundswell Community Mural Project. The mural was called "New York is a Rollercoaster".[26] It was later vandalized, and in May 2015, it was painted over.[27] Since then, the passageway's artwork has consisted of five murals. As part of a tunnel beautification program, the New York City Department of Transportation chose four artists and one team of artists, out of an applicant pool of 150. Each were chosen to paint a 200 feet (61 m) section of the tunnel. From the Broadway entrance to the station fare control, the artworks are Queen Andrea's "Prismatic Power Phrases"; Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn's "Caterpillar Time Travel"; Cekis's "It's Like A Jungle/Aveces Es Como Una Jungle"; Nick Kuszy's "Warp Zone"; and Cope2's "Art is Life". For $15,000 each, the artists worked for over a week on their art.[28][27]


  1. ^ a b The New York Times, untitled, January 22, 1911, page X11
  2. ^ "Station Developers' Information". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  3. ^ "NYC Subway Wireless – Active Stations". Transit Wireless Wifi. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  4. ^ "Facts and Figures: Annual Subway Ridership 2012–2017". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. July 12, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  5. ^ The New York Times, Farthest North in Town by the Interborough, January 14, 1907, page 18
  6. ^ District, New York (State) Public Service Commission First (January 1, 1913). Report of the Public Service Commission for the First District of the State of New York. J.B. Lyon Company.
  7. ^ The New York Times, New Subway Station Open, April 15, 1906, page 1
  8. ^ District, New York (State) Public Service Commission 1st (January 1, 1912). Report of the Public Service Commission for the First District of the State of New York. J.B. Lyon Company, printers.
  9. ^ Report for the three and one-half years ending June 30, 1949. New York City Board of Transportation. 1949.
  10. ^ "More Long Platforms – Five Subway Stations on IRT to Accommodate 10-Car Trains". The New York Times. July 10, 1948. p. 8. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  11. ^ Ronan, Thomas P. (December 29, 1950). "SUBWAY SHELTERS TO COST $104,000,000 PROPOSED FOR CITY; Board Would Build Havens in Present and Proposed Lines or Convert for Defense EXTENT OF U.S. AID IN DOUBT Most of Routes Would Provide Limited Safety 5 Stations Listed as 'Bomb-Proof' Some Federal Aid Expected Would Expedite Work SUBWAY SHELTERS FOR CITY OUTLINED Provide Longer Occupancy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  12. ^ Piazza, Jo (December 7, 2003). "M.T.A. Urged Not to Cut Elevator Jobs At 5 Stations". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  13. ^ Neuman, William (November 30, 2007). "M.T.A. Savings Proposal May Mean Service Cuts". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  14. ^ "Changing Course, M.T.A. Will Keep Elevator Operators On". The New York Times. December 8, 2007. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  15. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (April 28, 2011). "Subway Elevator Operators Dwindle in New York". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  16. ^ Waller, Nikki (November 23, 2003). "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: WASHINGTON HEIGHTS -- CITYPEOPLE; Why They Take the A Train (and the 1/9)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  17. ^ Pirmann, David; Darlington, Peggy. "IRT West Side Line: 191st Street". www.nycsubway.org. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  18. ^ "Subway facts". mta.info. MTA. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  19. ^ Bederson, Benjamin. "The Physical Tourist: Physics and New York City" (PDF). Archived from the original on December 30, 2004. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  20. ^ Brown, Nicole (August 21, 2016). "A train facts, figures and history of the Eighth Avenue, Fulton and Rockaway lines". AM New York. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  21. ^ Gargan, Edward A. (June 11, 1981). "Agency Lists Its 69 Most Deteriorated Subway Stations". The New York Times. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  22. ^ a b "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Washington Heights" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  23. ^ a b Grynbaum, Michael M. (April 28, 2011). "The Subway's Elevator Operators, a Reassuring Amenity of Another Era". New York Times. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  24. ^ a b c Kurtz, Josh (August 12, 1991). "Washington Heights Journal; A Subway Passageway Just for the Courageous". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  25. ^ Lindsay Armstrong (September 2, 2015). "Dark, Dirty 191st Street 1 Train Tunnel to Get Safety Improvements". DNA Info. Archived from the original on May 27, 2015. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  26. ^ Belle Benfield. "New York is a Rollercoaster". Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  27. ^ a b Lindsay Armstrong (May 6, 2015). "Top Street Artists Picked to Paint 191st Street 1 Train Tunnel". DNA Info. Archived from the original on May 27, 2015. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  28. ^ "Vivid Street Art Breathes Life Into 191st Street Subway Tunnel". Gothamist. May 18, 2015. Archived from the original on May 20, 2015. Retrieved May 26, 2015.

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