The MTA Could Really Use a Copy Editor


When it comes to spelling, the MTA sometimes reminds us of what it was like to be an unfocused third grader — same with balancing a budget, but that’s another story, and it’s not as funny. We showed you the FML sign at 14th Street a couple weeks ago, and a year before that, Gothamist was inspired to compile a slideshow of transit typos. With that, here’s the latest misspelling that’s come to our attention.

This photo was taken earlier this week at the station at 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue. “Dowtown”…um, is that, like, the financial district?

Curiously seeking answers like unfocused third graders ourselves, we called the MTA to ask, “Where do subway signs (especially misspelled ones) come from?” We know a stork doesn’t deliver them, but they do seem to appear out of thin air sometimes.

It turns out the North Pole of signage is a subway sign-making shop in Brooklyn, where the creators are also responsible for spelling. Interesting.

But the spokesperson who shared that information insisted that most perceived mistakes are the result of mischief makers. “We have found that a lot of them are vandalism,” he said. “Everything is done in the sign shop, but the ones that have been called to our attention recently have all been vandalism.” And once again, after we tried for further clarification: “I’m telling you that the mistakes are caused by vandalism.”

Ok, ok. Vandalism or not, dumb misspellings in public always brings back our giddy elementary school chuckle.