The exposed Vignelli map at the 57 Street F station is a bit sad — I got the sense that it’s not much longer for this world. It’s obviously been covered up for a while, and it’s difficult to imagine that it’ll stay this way. The other side of the sign has a new map in place, but the Vignelli side is missing its glass panel. Maybe it’s too expensive to replace, so it remains exposed? Who knows, but now it sits there, grande dame-like, not really getting the respect it deserves.
At any rate, it’s an interesting, unexpected piece of graphic design history, forgotten and out in the open for anyone to see. In the lower-right hand corner it’s dated August 1974 (barely ripped away), so it’s a revision to the original, two years prior. Many layers of even older maps are visible in the rips and tears, hinting at earlier times. Although judging from the design of the sign fixture itself, I’m betting it’s from about the same time as the 1972 map, or a few years before.
Now I’m wondering if there are more. Maybe out at the ends of the line, where maintenance is less regular? Time to go hunting in Far Rockaway.
[High-res images on Flickr.]