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This College Student’s Illegal Subway Signs Are Super Helpful


05.07.15 Prachi Gupta

Because new signage is probably pretty low on the debt-ridden MTA’s long list of future projects, one clever college kid took it upon himself to make New York’s subway system a little bit easier to navigate. RISD senior Ryan Murphy illegally installed a bunch of helpful signs at the 86th and Lexington station that helpfully alerted people to what street (and what side) they were exiting on to.

“[The] reason for choosing this station was because it’s the 9th most trafficked station,” Murphy wrote to ANIMAL via email, adding, “but is also a pretty simple station design that is common with many others in Manhattan and the boroughs.”

While the MTA’s signs are screen printed on porcelain, Murphy’s “are made with 1/2in plywood, spray painted black, covered with a water proof material, and then cut vinyl letters,” he says. The cost per sign was about $5.

Because Murphy is Providence-based, he can’t exactly get to the city to check-up on the signs or install new ones immediately. But, if any other good and sneaky samaritans are up for the task, Murphy says he’s “going to publish a list soon of other stations/stairwells along the 4,5,6 as a few people have reached out to replicate the signs.”

(Photos: Ryan Murphy)