Subway maps are a passion of many, and an obsession of
few many, too. Modern-day cartographers are into redesigning and re-envisioning New York's underground transit to the nth degree?for example, superimposing the system on an aerial map or modifying the design as we know it to include rings. Even the mastermind behind 1979's version has gone back to meticulously revise his work?despite the fact that he no longer works for the MTA and it's a pure pleasure project. But instead of the constant do-overs we see today, let's take a look back at some of the iterations of the past. Gizmodo compiles a handful of maps and, interestingly, brochure covers, which reveal not only how our system has changed, but how our strategies and predilections for mapping have, too. Don't forget, you can click on every image to see a bigger version.
? 1924: Only one line runs north-south in Manhattan, and BMT didn't run any trains above 59th Street, or to the Bronx. Meanwhile, because of the warped scale, Brooklyn and Queens look incredibly well-serviced.
? 1939: It was the World's Fair, and mapmakers wanted to ensure visitors knew how to get to all of NYC's attractions by public transport. The whole thing looks literally sketchy?cartoonish, almost, and even a little child-like. x
? 1958: This trichromatic iteration, zig-zagged with black, green, and red coloring, begins to look a bit more familiar.
? 1967: As the century rolls on, we're getting a little more abstract?and adding more colors. Also note the double-lettered RR and EE lines.
1972: The hated but iconic design by Massimo Vignelli, which was replaced just seven years later.
· 15 Subway Maps That Trace NYC's Transit History [Gizmodo]
· 1979 Subway Map Designer Takes New Routes With Upgrade [Curbed]
· Looking at NYC's Underground Transportation From Above [Curbed]
· What Does a Best Case NYC Subway System Look Like? [Curbed]
· Imagine If NYC's Subway Map Had Rad Concentric Circles [Curbed]