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Queens Blvd Express·6th Avenue-Culver Local<Lexington Av-63 St
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2 Avenue/Broadway Express·Brighton Local<Lexington Av-63 St

Lexington Avenue-63 Street originally opened on October 29, 1989 with what was for passengers, just two stacked side platforms for the what where then just the current, southern 63rd Street Tunnel tracks. The station is extremely deep with trains needing to pass under the Park Avenue Metro-North tunnels and the Lexington Avenue subway. An orange tiled curved platform wall ran down the length of both platforms, the arched ceiling of the upper level Downtown platform, with the flat-roofed downtown platform requiring columns, then silver indentations mostly in the orange tiled wall directly beneath. These platforms were directly connected by two staircases between them.

The main (and only from 1989 to 2016) Lexington Avenue exit is reached via a series of escalators that both begin at the extreme railway south (western) end of both platforms, and an elevator towards the western end of each platform. From the end of each platform a combined two staircase/two escalator shaft leads up to a lower intermediate landing. The escalators from the Queens-bound platform are significantly longer since this platform is deeper. From the lower intermediate mezzanine, the escalators combine and double back with an escalator plus a staircase on either side of the entrance to the downtown platform. These lead to an upper intermediate landing where they combine and become two escalators with a staircase in-between before leading to the upper landing and main mezzanine area. This area has the escalators going straight to the turnstiles where there is another separate smaller bank of turnstiles opposite that serve the single elevator up from the platforms. To exit the station, two escalators lead up to the NW corner of Lexington Avenue and 63 Street along with the street elevator taking up the entire first story of a building. There is also a street staircase with unusual brown cinderblock looking sides (that also along the walls of the escalator shafts down to the platforms) to the SW corner.

Starting in 2011, the station platforms were extensively renovated and a new entrance from 3rd Avenue added as part of the construction for the Second Avenue Subway. Blue plywood walls greeted passengers along both platforms for most of the first half of this decade. The new 3rd Avenue entrance opened on December 30, 2016, just two days before Q trains started serving the station on New Years Day, January 1, 2017. These extensive renovations created island platforms on both levels of the station, opening up the northern tracks that were previously only used for midday train storage, and are now used by Q trains (and M trains during evenings and weekends, during L train construction).

The platforms are now finished in the same style as the rest of the new Second Avenue Subway stations, with new grey wall panels going up along both tracks, along with Lex 63 written at regular intervals, covering up what was just bare concrete. The lower-level platform, which has a flat roof, has silver circular columns (replacing the former blocky square columns) at regular intervals. The upper-level platform is more open, requiring no columns since it has an arched ceiling in the deep cavern station. Five new staircases with mesh and silver bannisters were constructed or rebuilt connecting both levels of the station, providing passengers going between the Second Avenue Subway Stations and Queens (who don’t benefit from cross-platform transfers) easy access between the two station levels. The platform landings of the Lexington Avenue elevator received Second Avenue style finishes, but the rest of the Lexington Avenue retrain their original 1980s design and finishes. This leads to some design contrasts when entering the modern station.

The new exit to 3rd Avenue is entirely elevator-based. Passengers enter small landing areas at the extreme eastern end of each of the platforms. A glass wall with photos of historic 3rd Avenue separate each elevator landing from the 63rd Street F train tunnel tracks. Here four elevators connect both platforms with a mezzanine area just beneath 3rd Avenue and 63rd Street. These elevators pass through 5 intermediate non-public landing levels for the two sets of emergency exit staircases with the elevators including buttons out to some of these intermediate landings (although they are deactivated from public use). The mezzanine for 3rd Avenue contains a bank of turnstiles that lead out to two escalators inside an existing building to the SE corner, a street elevator (accessed via a short passageway) to the NW corner, and streetstairs to the SW and NE corners of 3rd Avenue and 63 Street. The streetstairs and street elevator have the modern glass roofed design like the other Second Avenue Subway stations.
Photos 1-3: 27 July, 2003; 4-11: 15 August, 2008; 12-42: 16 August, 2011; 43-49: 31 October, 2012; 50-52: 1 November, 2012; 53: 5 March, 2016; 54 & 55: 8 May, 2017; 56-84: 7 October, 2018; 85-91: May 19, 2013; 92-96: November 25, 2013

Art For Transit at 96 Street

Arts For Transit at Lexington Avenue-63 Street

Elevated 2016
Ceramic Tile
By Jean Shin

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Station Subway Lines (2001-2016)

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Last Updated: 7 July, 2019
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