New York City Transit Museum

NYC Subway Museum Historic Ads - Sept 2011 - 8

I always try to find time to visit the NY City Transit museum when I visit New York. One of the things I love are the historic advertisements that are in the old subway cars parked in the museum. This is a particularly fun one I think. The accompanying text says “Bet you do better in a hat!” and states that “84 out of 100 women prefer men who wear hats.”

While at the museum I bought the book Helvetica and the New York Subway System: The True (Maybe) Story by Paul Shaw. I finished reading it before Christmas and it’s really interesting – you’ll never look at a NYC Subway sign the same way again! (Here’s a link to a similar article he wrote on the internet – Paul Shaw, The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the NY City Subway).

NYC Subway Museum Cars Sept 2011 - 7

And, one final photo of a mosaic from the Cortlandt Street IRT Subway Station (also in the Transit Museum collection). All my photos of the NYC Transit Museum on Flickr.

New York High Line

Empire State Building from the High Line Park (2011).

Empire State Building from the High Line Park (2011).

I visited New York in September for a series of meetings with OpenPlans about organizing a Transportation Camp in Washington DC during the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in January 2012.

The High Line Park, New York (2011).

The High Line Park, New York (2011).

While there I was able to visit the High Line, an old aerial railway line that ran along the west side of Manhattan. The rail line has been converted to a walkway and is probably one of the most successful urban design projects from the last decade.

If you go to New York be sure to take a walk on the High Line. All my NY High Line photos on Flickr.

Signs and Wayfinding from Slate

Julia Turner has a great series of articles on signs and wayfinding in Slate. The first article describes the importance of signs in general. The second article takes us on a tour through Penn Station in New York looking at how well (or badly) the signs work in helping us get from an entrance to the Amtrak trains. It reminds me of an experience I had in the Paris Metro Châtelet – Les Halles station in 2008.

The third article is on urban wayfinding, which Turner describes as completely different from wayfinding in transport stations or other controlled environments (e.g. Penn Station). She uses the example of Transport for London’s Legible London project to describe the concept. This is a really excellent article filled with lots of good information.

The photo at the right is another solution: people at the Copenhagen Airport who help guide visitors (the other signs there are pretty good too).

The fourth article describes research on the hand-made maps made by normal people. The fifth article describes the ‘war over exit signs‘ which includes a nice summary of the idea behind pictograms and their use on signs. The sixth article is forthcoming, but I am sure it will be good.

I have always been fascinated by signs. Here is a link to my flickr set signs and here is a link to my flickr set WC Signs … I find wc signs to be especially interesting because they give businesses and people the ability to be creative about how they use graphics. As they say, “You can tell a lot about a place by their WC signs” … well, at least that’s what I always say.

Finally, my restaurant review of the Hallwylerhof restaurant in Zurich. They have a wonderful graphics and signage design used consistently throughout the restaurant, and the food is great too.

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