It happens to New York’s residents and tourists alike when stepping off a subway: They’re swept by crowds up the stairs to street level, find themselves deposited at a bewildering intersection, and swiftly walk in the wrong direction. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) have issued new neighborhood maps to help the navigationally challenged orient themselves before they leave a metro station.
The 468 maps replace the 68 previous versions that were posted below ground. Although they’ll be the same size as the originals (46 inches by 59 inches), the new maps will cover a smaller radius of about 12 blocks, rather than 15 to 30 blocks. “The city had been broken into segments, where you might have 10 subway stations,” says Hamish Smyth, a senior designer at New York’s Pentagram design firm, part of the PentaCityGroup team of urban planners, engineers, and cartographers that created the maps. “If your station happened to be near the edge of the map segment, you might only see a small area before the map was cut off.”