The constraints of the Portals project

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority manages 472 stations in New York City.


255 of these stations are documented in the Portals project. They are documented in 1,342 photographs.


Each of these subway stations consists of 1 - 20 entrances.


Entrances as defined for Portals are any public access point into and out of the subway system.


While all stations are photographed, some of their entrances may have been missed or neglected.



The following list of constraints was written before any of the photographs were taken.


It ensures that the conceptual scope of the project would translate at the scale of an individual image.

Every station is photographed from one of two vantage points.

The priority is to document the longest side of each station, most often situated parallel with the street.

If this is not possible, the second view is face on from the entry or back face of the stair, typically labeled with the station identification.

A few stations may require alternative shots to accommodate traffic, construction, and general obstructions found throughout the city.


If a station has a portion of its tracks and loading areas underground, the station is photographed.

Portal 179 - Morris Park in the Bronx is an example of a station being partially underground.

If a transfer station has an elevated portion, all entries granting access to the underground portion are photographed.

Portal 035 - 161 St Yankee Stadium in the Bronx is an example.


Combined stations, sometimes separated on the official MTA map, are considered one station.

Portal 192 - Lexington / 59 St in Manhattan is an example.

Some stations are marked separately, even if connecting, and are left separated in this project.

Portal 076 – Lorimer St and Portal 075 - Metropolitan Av in Brooklyn share the same underground station, yet have separately marked entries.



Every station is represented by a minimum of one photograph.

Most stations have at least two photographs, except for those with a single entrance.

Some stations contain intersecting lines, resulting in more photographs.