81st Street – Museum of Natural History (IND Eighth Avenue Line)

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81st Street – Museum of Natural History
NYCS-bull-trans-A.svg NYCS-bull-trans-B.svg NYCS-bull-trans-C.svg
New York City Subway rapid transit station
Station statistics
Address West 81st Street & Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Borough Manhattan
Locale Upper West Side
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Division B (IND)
Line       IND Eighth Avenue Line
Services       A late nights (late nights)
      B weekdays until 11:00 p.m. (weekdays until 11:00 p.m.)
      C all except late nights (all except late nights)
Transit connections Bus transport NYCT Bus: M10, M79
Bus transport MTA Bus: BxM2
Structure Underground
Levels 2
Platforms 2 side platforms (1 on each level)
Tracks 4 (2 on each level)
Other information
Opened September 10, 1932 (89 years ago) (1932-09-10)[1]
Wireless service Wi-Fi[2]
Passengers (2014) 4,561,347[3]Increase 1.9%
Rank 106 out of 421
Station succession
Next north 86th Street: A late nights B weekdays until 11:00 p.m. C all except late nights
Next south 72nd Street: A late nights B weekdays until 11:00 p.m. C all except late nights

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 C train at all times except nights, when the A train takes over service. The B train provides additional service here on weekdays except nights.

Station layout

G Street Level Exit / Entrance
B1 Northbound express NYCS-bull-trans-A.svg NYCS-bull-trans-D.svg do not stop here
Northbound local NYCS-bull-trans-B.svg toward Bedford Park Boulevard rush hours, 145th Street other times (86th Street)
NYCS-bull-trans-C.svg toward 168th Street (NYCS-bull-trans-A.svg toward 207th Street late nights) (86th Street)
Side platform, doors will open on the left
Mezzanine Fare control, station agent, MetroCard vending machines, entrance to American Museum of Natural History
B2 Southbound express NYCS-bull-trans-A.svg NYCS-bull-trans-D.svg do not stop here →
Southbound local NYCS-bull-trans-B.svg toward Brighton Beach (72nd Street)
NYCS-bull-trans-C.svg toward Euclid Avenue (NYCS-bull-trans-A.svg toward Far Rockaway late nights) (72nd Street)
Side platform, doors will open on the right

The 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 (although an entrance also exists at this street) to accommodate the American Museum of Natural History,[4] 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. An underground entrance directly into the museum's lowest level is at the south end of the uptown (northbound or upper) platform.[5][6]

South of this station are storage/lay up tracks between the local and express tracks on each level. Both ends of the tracks merge with the express tracks, with switches to the local tracks.[7]


File:81 Street wall vc.jpg
Dinosaur artwork on one of the station walls

When the station was renovated in the 1990s, in coordination with building the new Hayden Planetarium,[8] within the Rose Center for Earth and Space, 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 indeed it is.

Under the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA)[9] Arts and Design program,[10] a mixed-media installation was created in 2000.[11] 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.[12]


  1. The New York Times, List of the 28 Stations on the New Eighth Ave Line, September 10, 1932, page 6
  2. NYC Subway Wireless
  3. "Facts and Figures: Annual Subway Ridership". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2015-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Official American Museum of Natural History Website
  5. Directions and Transportation to AMNH
  6. Download Museum Map (in 10 languages)
  7. "NYC Subway Track Map (Midtown Manhattan) (Zoom to section by clicking)". www.nycsubway.org. Retrieved 2011-11-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. AMNH's Hayden Planetarium Website
  9. MTA.info Website
  10. MTA's Arts and Design Website
  11. "81st Street Museum of Natural History Station Reopening". AMNH. Retrieved 2011-11-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Kennedy, Randy (June 15, 2000). "Where Stepping Off the Subway Means Stepping Into the Wild". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links