191 Street
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191 Street is the deepest subway station at 181 feet beneath the surface. The stop lacks the grandiose vaulted ceilings found in its counterparts in the Washington Heights Mine Tunnel (168 and 181 Streets). The stop instead has simply two side platforms all carved into the sides of the tunnel (similar to the extension portions of 168 and 181 Streets), with wide tiled over columns holding the roof of the platform up at various intervals. The reason for this construction is that this station was not originally part of the contract to build the deep Fort George Tunnel which opened through to Dyckman Street in 1906, and is at the base of Fort George Hill, elevated and the daylight is clearly seen on the tracks from the deepest subway station in the system. Each side platform is deteriorated with many 191 Street name tablets most of which were replicas added during 2003 renovations that include white text on a blue background surrounded by a border of basic shapes. The trim line is complex with a dark brown outer boarder a light brown inner boarder and grey for the background mosaics with a simple pattern of linear lines only forming right angles (in green mosaic). This same trim line is on all of the platform columns along with small 191 tiles at various intervals along the platform.

For access, the station has one enclosed mezzanine area with a curved ceiling and the station's standard tiling scheme in the center of the station from the turnstiles two staircases lead down to the downtown platform, these staircases are to the side of the platform in their own little passageways. The small mezzanine continues towards the uptown platforms where a narrower staircase forms to a small half- way landing before splitting into to even narrow staircases that lead down to the platform at 180 degree angles to their parent staircase. On the end wall of this mezzanine is where the arts for transit installation is found.

For access since this is the deepest station in the system that is interesting as well. The stop has two entrances beyond the fare control area at a vast distance to each other and the station is commonly walked through by residents using it as a free neighborhood shortcut to avoid the steepness of climbing Fort George Hill. The main exit directly above the station consist of a small and narrow elevator landing for four elevators (two on each side of the narrow landing) set back behind a pizza parlor on the west side of St. Nicholas Avenue between 190 and 191 Streets that lead to an equally narrow elevator landing just beyond the turnstiles. Interestingly there are no doors into this small elevator plaza it's simply just set back from the street there is a subway station sign on the storefronts and also a recently installed countdown clock on the upper landing. The two elevators on the south side of the landing have a second set of doors and these doors lead to second winder landings at the two levels but these wider landing areas have been closed off and put behind locked gates in order to create more crew quarters.

The other station entrance consist of a grimy relatively narrow (approximately ten foot wide) approximately quarter mile long tunnel (three city blocks) with bare concrete walls that have a bit of a graffiti problem. The entrance is tucked into the storefronts on the west side of Broadway across from 190 Street (which doesn't continue through because of the hill) with a restored mosaic that says IRT Subway-191 St entrance above a small regular 191 St Subway Station sign. There is another conventional looking street sign that says No Bicycle Riding in Subway Tunnel and Department of Transportation in its tiny text beneath this leads me to believe that this tunnel is in DOT jurisdiction and not the subways (the elevators though definitely are the MTAs one is always staffed by an MTA employee). At the entrance and for the first twenty feet of the tunnel at the entrance where a decently long ramp and staircase (maybe a story) leads down into the main depths of the tunnel is a huge mural on all the walls entitled New York is a Roller Coaster not a MTA Arts For Transit Commission but a Groundswell Community Mural Project sponsored by The Office of the Mayer and the Department of Transportation, there's no mention of the MTA. This has also led me to this same conclusion. The rest of the quarter mile tunnel gradually slopes downhill towards the subway station is relatively dark (with a single yellow glow of a light bulb every ten feet, and bulbs frequently out rendering a section in more darkness), with some graffiti on the walls that has been attempted to be painted over. The tunnel though for its dreary length has always felt completely safe to me. Just before reaching the brightness of the subway station the tunnel takes a 90-degree turn to the north almost immediately reaching the station. This turn makes the end of the tunnel less obvious.

Art For Transit at Bowling Green Arts For Transit at 191 Street
Primavera, 2003
Glass Mosaic and Faceted Glass at end of mezzanine
By Raúl Colón
Art For Transit at Bowling Green Groundswell Community Mural Project in 191 Street Tunnel
New York is a Roller Coaster
Acrylic on Cement, 2008
2003 Photo Essay Before Rehabilitation
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(191n1_new1) The Broadway entrance to the tunnel into Fort George Hill and the 191 Street Subway Station
24 July, 2008
(191n1_new2) The restored I.R.T. Subway 191 St. Entrance Mosaic Sign
24 July, 2008
(191n1_new3) A view of the long narrow and showy tunnel through Fort George Hill to the 191 Street Subway station
24 July, 2008
(191n1_new4) On the small mezzanine above the tracks, looking back at the turnstiles
24 July, 2008
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(191n1_new5) The replica (added during 2003 renovations) trim line and 191 text on a platform column
24 July, 2008
(191n1_new6) The trim on the platform walls at 191 with its numbering in tiles beneath the trim
24 July, 2008
(191n1_new7) Another platform column view
24 July, 2008
(191n1_new8) The downtown platform as some passengers wait
24 July, 2008
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(191n1_new9) Looking across to the uptown platform at the name tablet between the two staircases down to it
24 July, 2008
(191n1_new10) The now mural-fied subway entrance to 191 Street from Broadway
31 December, 2010
(191n1_new11) The ramp and stairwell right at the entrance to the tunnel from Broadway
31 December, 2010
(191n1_new12) Passengers make their way down the narrow and dark tunnel at 191 Street
31 December, 2010
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(191n1_new13) The speck of daylight at the other end of 191 Street's tunnel
31 December, 2010
(191n1_new14) Another pedestrian tunnel view
31 December, 2010
(191n1_new15) Darkness in the tunnel from a light bulb out
31 December, 2010
(191n1_new16) Another view of the area of darkness
31 December, 2010
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(191n1_new17) At the subway station end of 191 Street's tunnel, the tunnel corridor has a 90 degree curve before a tiny connector passageway into the station (partially to get around the elevators that are straight back from the mezzanine area)
31 December, 2010
(191n1_new18) Looking back at the beginnings of 191 Street's tunnel from the subway end
31 December, 2010
(191n1_new19) The small fare control area with the token booth and turnstiles
31 December, 2010
(191n1_new20) Approaching the extremely narrow elevator landing area and the sign for the two exits that are extremely far apart, the bicyclist for instance in this photo is simply using the elevator to avoid biking up the extremely steep Fort George Hill and isn't actually taking the subway
31 December, 2010
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2003 Photo Essay Before Rehabilitation
<-Next stop 181 Street <-Next stop Dyckman Street
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Last Updated: 1 January, 2011
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