Subway Style

Text by Anthony W. Robins
Introduction by Joseph Giovannini
Photos by Andrew Garn

From the beginning, the people who planned the subway’s construction considered it, in words actually written into the contract, a “great public work” worthy of attractive design. Published in 2004 (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of New York’s first subway line – the IRT – this book celebrates an often overlooked aspect of the subway system: its art and architecture.

Additional resources

A lot of the subway system has been designated by the NYC Landmarks Commission (LPC) and/or listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NR). The LPC reports and NR nominations are available on-line. Here are some links to NR nominations on the stations visited on the walking tour:

Wall Street station:
Brooklyn Bridge station:
City Hall station:
Bleecker Street station:
Astor Place station:
Times Square station:

General report (“multiple resource”): (this was prepared just a couple of years ago).

For further reading: is an amazing site – vast amounts of information on the subway system.

In particular, the site reproduces many early articles on the IRT:

And this subsection of the site is devoted to the City Hall station:

For early photos of the original above-ground kiosks (of which there is a recent reproduction at Astor Place):

This is a link to the HAER report on the original IRT, prepared by David Framberger (a former colleague of mine at the Landmarks Commission):; for more of the HAER reports on the subway see

More on the Marine Grill murals by Frederick Dana Marsh, originally at the McAlpin Hotel, which were rescued and installed at the Fulton Street station:

This is a brief summary of Heins & LaFarge’s bios and work (including the Bronx Zoo and St. John the Divine cathedral):