New NYC Subway Map: Keep it or KICK it?

Posted on April 23rd, 2007 by The SUBWAYblogger in Rider Strategy, Tourists

Have you seen the new (sorta) KICK map for the subway. It’s a new subway map concept by a design firm that thinks they have a better way to demonstrate how the subway lines run.

Regular Subway Map

KICK subway map

So you get the basic idea by seeing the side by side comparison above. The KICK map has a “line” for each line…go figure. This is supposed to make it more obvious where each train line runs and branches off.

So what’s the deal with “KICK” ? That’s what we wondered too. We thought it was going to be a catchy acronym for something. Turns out the design company’s name is KICK. Minor let down.

In any event, the MTA quickly cut down the idea three years ago and again recently. They think the map isn’t geographically correct. We can see that. The lines do get a little “fat.” It kinda makes it look like the subway line is a few blocks wide when we all know it isn’t.

Eddie Jabbour, (the designer) is sticking with it. He’s going to keep tweaking it until it’s something the MTA will be forced to seriously consider. With all the Internet buzz, who knows, maybe there will be a big push behind it.

Although, I don’t see many New Yorkers having trouble with the current map. Maybe the KICK map could be the tourist version? A Subway for Dummies version perhaps.

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  1. Todd said on April 23rd, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Kick map = instant revulsion. I honestly cannot express how much I can’t stand looking at that thing. It would drive me insane seeing if that thing was adopted. Seriously.

  2. DIO said on April 24th, 2007 at 11:30 am

    I happen to like it alot actually. Even if its not 100% geographically accurate it lets you know which trains stop where. I especially like that you know which line is express vs local. For native New Yorkers it may not seem like a big deal but for tourists and newbies it will be a great help. If the MTA won’t adopt it KICK should at least sell it to tourists.

  3. DP said on April 24th, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    I happen to love the design, would like to see this piece of modern art happen, and if not, then I hope Kick will make prints available for sale…Reminds me of cool 70s rainbow patterns on TV!

  4. Jay Wilson said on April 25th, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    I love the KICK map. It makes reading the various lines so much more easier. I bet that the MTA though the “geographical inaccuracies” wouldve led to a law suit.

  5. Joseph said on March 27th, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    As a Londoner (our map, unchanged for over 70 years, bears exactly no resemblance to exact geography, and is considered a design icon), I’d like to say that, although I agree that the Vignelli pure schematic map doesn’t work for a city like NYC, the KICK is probably slightly better than the MTA one. It gives a sufficient guide to location without getting overcomplicated – which the MTA one does in downtown Manhattan.

    However, it could probably do with some tweaking – but in any case, it’s definitely a better tourist map than the MTA one, and I’d rather have that in my Time Out Guide than the MTA hyperaccuracy. If I wanted that, I’d get a street map.

  6. printmatters said on January 13th, 2010 at 7:43 am

    I also as a londoner agree with Joseph, our map could never change as it is so recognised world wide as almost a piece of art in itself and although it changes when they add new lines, stays the same even though it bears no actual relation to the geography of the stations and could be very misleading for anyone using it a reference to where places are in London

    I prefer the KICK map, it has better coloring and just a nicer feel to it, just my opinion of course, but if i were to come to NY i would prefer to use the KICK map instead of the old one :)

  7. bxdanny said on August 19th, 2010 at 6:54 am

    I like this map a lot. But the different shades of each trunk line's color for each service that is part of it should be dropped – the map lines for the 4, 5, and 6 should be the same shade of green, for example.

    It is silly for the MTA to complain about geographical inaccuracy – after all, they once had the Vignelli map as their official map. I didn't care for that, but the KICK map seems like a good compromise. Jabbour has explained how he strikes the balance between geography and clarity, and his approach makes sense. Plus I like the indication of where you can't transfer to the other direction, something the current map lacks.

    Is the full KICK Map available online? It doesn't seem to be. I realize that KICK is a commercial firm, and I see that they are selling interactive versions of the map for use on the iPhone and similar gadgets. Fine. But wouldn't making a static version of the full map freely available, while he is trying to build support for his map at the MTA (and with the public), help rather than hurt him?

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