81st Street-Museum of Natural History is a simple stacked IND Central Park West Line Stop. The two side platforms have the typical layout of all the local stops on Central Park West. The Uptown trains are on the upper level, the downtown ones on the lower. All fare control areas are directly along the uptown platform, with staircases only to the west (non-park side) of Central Park West. The station has perhaps the most impressive Arts for Transit insalation of anywhere in the system. Various mosaic and terra-catta representations of the Natural History Museum's vast collection on the walls of both the platforms. The layout of the station is relatively simple, at the southern end is a part time (unstaffed other times) exit/entrance to 79 Street (one of the staircases down from the street has a tunnel that leads into the station from what is basically 78 Street if the museum didn't block that street from coming through-it ends at Columbus Ave). It also has an entrance directly into the basement of the museum, meaning visitors in theory never need to see the light of day to get in. At the northern end of the platforms there are two staircases down to the lower-level downtown platform and a much bigger fare control area with the full-time token booth and staircases (the one at the SW corner is extra-wide) to street level on either western corner of CPW and 81 Street.
The full time fare control area at the northern (81 Street) end of the platform. Midday, on a summer Tuesday, most of the people entering the subway at a touristy station are slightly clueless tourists.
The top of the 'stars' staircase down to the lower level at 81 Street from the 81 Street end of the station.
Looking down the lower-level downtown platform at 81 Street at its northern end. The 'stars' staircase is in view with a mosaic orb that might represent the moon visible.
A 81 Street-Museum of Natural History name tablet with a one of a kind arrow (added during the 2000 renovation) telling passengers for the exit to 81 to go either direction. The name tablet is directly between the two staircases up to the upper level platform and that exit
The very northern end of the lower-level downtown platform at 81 St-Museum of Natural History, a staircase up to the upper level platform and exit is in view.
Looking down the lower-level downtown platform at 81 St-M of NH a R68 B train has stopped in the station.
A 81 Street-Museum of Natrual History Name tabelt, its arrow beneath it points towards only one direction for the exit to 81.
Various ceramic releaf tiles of 'fossils' line the walls of the lower-level downtown platform at 81 Street-Museum of Natural History, all are part of the Arts for Transit installation there.
Unique exit arrows at 81 Street-Museum of Natural History. These point towards the exit directly into the museum. Museum though isn't written in the standard black lettered tile, its written in mosaic tile.
The southern end of the upper level uptown platform at 81 Street-Museum of Natural History. The staircase down to the lower level at that end of the station is visible in this photo.
The three turnstiles that lead to 79 Street at 81 Street-Museum of Natural History, as well as directly to there own entrance in the basement of the museum.
A name tablet on the upper level at 81 Street-Museum of Natural History. Reptiles surround this name tablet looking like they live on the station's low cieling walls.
Another view down the uptown, upper level platform at 81 Street-Museum of Natural History with the blur of a R38 C train entering the station.
Approaching the 81 Street and northern end of the uptown, upper level platform. There is the tail of a whale in mosaic in the wall.
A 81 Street column signt.
A Museum of Natural History column sign.
The staircases up into the subway station from the basement of the Museum of Natural History
The subway entrance into the museum
Doors into the museum from 81 Street's southern entrance
A line of tourists visiting the Museum use the one TVM at the 79 Street entrance, notice the long passageway to the street from this end of the station
Last Updated: 8 August, 2011
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All photos are by Jeremiah Cox
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