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Urban design Signs - the good, the bad, and the ugly


Sign in a nearby community which is a "retail" center but all signs on the lovely pylon sign are food establishments. Technically retail, but not retail. At least everyone at Adobe across the freeway has access to lunch.

Signs & Signage - In and Around the
New York City Subway Stations

First, The Ugly:

  • Extremely cluttered signs that could not be read from any reasonable distances.
  • When reading up close: There are so many font styles and font sizes and words crammed into one sign that it's nearly impossible to follow what is written--even if one is a seasoned New Yorker.
  • So old that much of the information is no longer accurate. (For example, "Interborough Rapid Transit Company" changed its name to "NYC MTA" many decades ago.)
  • Poor abbreviations. (For example, the single word "WOODLAWN" is the abbreviation for: "Woodlawn Cemetery in the northern Bronx, which might or might not be the last train stop, depending on <fill in the blanks>.")
Starting in the 21st century:
When a subway station is renovated, these types of signs are taken down. Not all subway stations have been renovated yet. Sometimes a renovation will produce new signage that is equally problematic, in a completely different way.
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