Museum of Natural History
|New York City Subway station (rapid transit)|
|Address||West 81st Street & Central Park West|
New York, NY 10024
|Locale||Upper West Side|
|Line||IND Eighth Avenue Line|
|Services||A (late nights) |
B (weekdays until 11:00 p.m.)
C (all except late nights)
|Transit connections|| NYCT Bus: M10, M79 SBS|
MTA Bus: BxM2
|Platforms||2 side platforms (1 on each level)|
|Tracks||4 (2 on each level)|
|Opened||September 10, 1932|
|Accessible||not ADA-accessible; accessibility planned|
|Passengers (2018)||4,748,083 9.7%|
|Rank||96 out of 424|
|Next north||86th Street: A B C|
|Next south||72nd Street: A B C|
81st Street–Museum of Natural History is a local station on the IND Eighth Avenue Line of the New York City Subway. It is served by the B on weekdays, the C train at all times except nights, and the A train during late nights only.
This station opened on September 10, 1932 as part of the opening of the first city-owned subway line, the IND Eighth Avenue Line. On this date, the line opened from Chambers Street north to 207th Street. Construction of the whole line cost $191.2 million. While the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line already provided parallel service, the new Eighth Avenue subway via Central Park West provided an alternative route.
The station was renovated in 1998–2000, in coordination with building the new Hayden Planetarium, within the Rose Center for Earth and Space. The floors were replaced, new lighting installed, the token booth upgraded, and the walls and staircases re-tiled. Structural improvements were also made during the renovation.
|B1||Northbound express||← do not stop here|
|Northbound local||← toward 145th Street weekdays, Bedford Park Boulevard rush hours (86th Street)|
← toward 168th Street ( toward Inwood–207th Street nights) (86th Street)
|Side platform, doors will open on the left|
|Mezzanine||Fare control, station agent, MetroCard machines, entrance to American Museum of Natural History|
|B2||Southbound express||do not stop here →|
|Southbound local|| toward Brighton Beach weekdays (72nd Street) → |
toward Euclid Avenue ( toward Far Rockaway nights) (72nd Street) →
|Side platform, doors will open on the right|
This underground station has four tracks and two side platforms. On this section of the line, the local tracks are stacked, uptown above downtown, and the express tracks are stacked in the same order to the east of them, so both platforms are on the west side, one above the other. The station is at Central Park West and 81st Street, rather than the major crosstown 79th Street, in order to accommodate the American Museum of Natural History, which largely fills the area of what was once called the Manhattan Square. The 79th Street Transverse Road, through Central Park, exits the park here.
There are two fare control areas, both on the upper platform. One is at the station's extreme south end, on Central Park West midblock between 77th and 81st Streets. From this fare control, a passageway leads to a staircase on the west side of Central Park West, just south of the American Museum of Natural History's front entrance. This fare control also has an underground entrance directly into the museum's lowest level. The other is at the station's north end, at Central Park West and West 81st Street. Two staircases lead to either western corner of the intersection (one to each corner).
In 1976, with funding from the Exxon Corporation, this station, as well as three others citywide, received new "artfully humorous graffiti" murals and artwork. Local designer Mayers and Schiff received $5,000 to add murals of dinosaurs such as "Thesaurus Rex, the dinosaur that had a vocabulary of a thousand words" and "Elongatomus, an elongated critter that stretched from coast to coast whose pelvic remains support a highway interchange in Missouri."
As part of the 1998–2000 station renovation, a program of tile mosaics was undertaken, covering the stairs and platforms, extending to floor inlays. Stairwells evoke descending into the geological strata of the Earth (at 81st Street) or into the Ocean (79th Street). Many creatures are evoked in mosaic vignettes that punctuate the stretches of white tiled wall. Fossil casts seem to emerge from the tiles as though the subway platform itself were an excavation, which it actually is. Under the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)'s Arts for Transit program, a mixed-media installation was created in 2000. Entitled "For Want of a Nail", named after the old proverb, it addresses the interconnections of entities that are as vast as a galaxy and as small as a single cell. Using ceramic tile, glass tile, glass mosaic, bronze relief, and granite as primary materials, the design team depicted the evolution of extinct, existing and endangered life forms, from single celled organisms to the towering T. rex dinosaur. It shows images and symbols ranging from the Earth's core, to the sea, the sky and the cosmos beyond. No artist has been identified in this group project.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 81st Street – Museum of Natural History (IND Eighth Avenue Line).|