Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Astor Place-Eighth Street (IRT Lexington Avenue Line station)
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Astor Place is a local station with two side platforms, located on Lafayette Street at Astor Place and Eighth Street; the express tracks are on the inside. The street it is named after (Astor Place) is named for John Jacob Astor. Astor Place is a busy subway station in the East Village of Manhattan, and has a department store entrance on the southbound side (Wanamaker's when constructed, now K-Mart). The station has been renovated and, in addition to the famous glazed ceramic beaver plaques, new porcelain street artwork was installed in 1986. There is a reproduction of an IRT entry kiosk on the street level over the northbound entrance. The fare control is at platform level. There was an underpass between the uptown and downtown sides, but it was closed in the 1970s and was covered up in the 1980s renovation. The heavy brick-faced square columns on the downtown platform supported the old Wanamaker's store (formerly A.T. Stewart , built 1868). The store above burned in the 1950s; octagonal windows on the brick wall of the platform were the store's showcases.
The original plans for the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad (now ) included a spur along Ninth Street to this station.
Plaques of beavers are located on the walls, in honor of John Jacob Astor's fortune derived from the beaver-pelt trade. The plaques, as well as name tablets, were made by the Grueby Faience Company in 1904. The station also has untitled porcelain on steel murals, made by Milton Glaser in 1986.
New York University is located nearby.
- NYCsubway.org - IRT East Side: Astor Place (text used with permission)
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