In one case in which modern MTA actually clarifies matters instead of duplicating previously existing signage or muddies the transportation waters, a 1980s vintage sign in the 45th Street station on the BMT 4th Avenue Line makes clear that the southbound trains are going to 95th Street, instead of “up town.” There is a corresponding mosaic on the Manhattan-bound side proclaiming it “down town” which makes more sense, as its trains are heading for the Brooklyn Borough Hall area and later, Manhattan. But in 1915 (when the 4th Avenue Line was built) thinking, “up town” meant south, toward 95th Street. None of the line’s builders are alive today, so canvassing them is impossible on the matter.
By the 1930s, when the Independent Subway was constructed, the modern notion that “uptown” meant “north” had been crystallized and solidified. That did not prevent the MTA from installing a modern sign with virtually the same wording, because standardization is the ultimate signage goal. At least the IND mosaic wasn’t removed or covered, which also happens.
Maybe I’m just being hardheaded and, of course, south to 95th Street is “up town.” Comments are, as always, open.