Vintage subway signage at a Sixth Avenue station

The Sixth Avenue and 14th Street station opened in 1940—a busy, grimy, not particularly inspiring or attractive stop connecting the F and M to the L, 1, 2, and 3 trains.

But it does have terrific old-school mosaic signs that make you feel like you’re back in midcentury Manhattan.

Like this one, directing you toward the Independent Subway—today’s Sixth Avenue and Eighth Avenue lines.

Transferring to the BMT Lines—the initials stood for Brooklyn Manhattan Transit, the company that once oversaw the L (plus the J, M, N, Q, and R trains)—is easy with this helpful arrow.

Even better is this mosaic telling travelers how to get to the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad, aka today’s PATH, which shares an entrance to the station. When was the last time you heard the PATH referred to as the H&M?

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11 Responses to “Vintage subway signage at a Sixth Avenue station”

  1. Parnassus Says:

    How lucky that they didn’t at the very least paint these over, to prevent confusion over defunct lines.

  2. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    For years I thought the M might mean Manhattan but never knew that the H meant Hudson, a typical ex-New Yorker, doesn’t know shit 😉

  3. oscar Says:

    H&M (the store) should use this as a marketing opportunity

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    I know! They should ask the MTA for permission to shoot models in front of the sign for their next ad campaign.

  5. Ricky Says:

    After living in New York for 32 years I still don’t know which lines are BMT and which are INT.

  6. Andy Sydor Says:

    Most people in the old days just called the PATH train “the Tubes”, a term which did linger long after the name was changed (in 1962, after the Port Authority took over operations).

  7. Random Reader Says:

    The names are defunct, not the lines. The BMT was all lines higher than letter H. The IND was an abbreviation for Independent City Owned Subway. 14th and 6th was one of the last mezzanines to receive flourescent lighting, well after 2001. The 6th Ave line was the last trunk line to open Manhattan (1940).

  8. Outdated subway signs that still point the way | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] quaint, but it’s easy enough to decipher. I wonder how many tourists and new New Yorkers know what BMT and H&M mean—and no, it certainly has nothing to do with the […]

  9. Matthew Grreenbaum Says:

    I still think of the subway lines as BMT, IND, etc. I just assume they’ll eventually get their correct names back.

  10. trilby1895 Says:

    Interesting to learn how the “lettered” lines got to be so but remembering the “RR”, now just “R”, wonder why the second “R” back then.

  11. Two 1930s tile signs point the way in a Bronx subway station | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] R train stop telling riders where to go to get to the “Hudson Tubes.” And of course, the stop at 14th Street and Sixth Avenue is a treasure trove of forgotten subway […]

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