If you’re going to change a venerable New York institution you better get it right the first time. If you didn’t know already New Yorkers have very little patience.
And so it goes with the New York City subway map. This stalwart institution went essentially untouched since 1979 when Michael Hertz Associates replaced the Massimo Vignelli modernist classic map with a more geographically accurate map depicting major city streets, a clear nod to tourists. Over time it’s been poked, prodded, jerry-rigged into the cluttered mess that it is today. But in an odd way it works. And New Yorkers have come to love it.
The MTA, which operates one of the largest public transportation systems in the world, has upgraded the “Weekender” map on its Web site to be more interactive. Improvements include: every subway line gets its own track; weekend service is cleverly noted; service interruptions also get greyed out. Gone are the geographic accuracy of city streets and parks as well as city bus and ferry information.
Want to hoof it to the nearest station above ground? Good luck trying to use this at the station, if it actually makes it that far.
I imagine this will translate quite economically and elegantly in smart phone mobile browsers. If that’s the intention you won’t need a geographically accurate map, now that most phones have GPS maps. (WiFi enabled subway stations also aid the directionally challenged.)