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New 'Help Point' Intercoms Head from MoMa to the Subway

By DNAinfo Staff on April 5, 2011 3:07pm

The new
The new "Help Point" intercoms will immediately connect straphangers with emergency and informational assistance, the MTA said.
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Flickr/Susan NYC and MTA

By Olivia Scheck

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — Two Lexington Avenue subway stations have been outfitted with intercom kiosks fit for a museum.

A total of 19 new "Help Point" units, which connect passengers to emergency and transit assistance, were installed at the 23rd Street and Brooklyn Bridge stops, according to the MTA.

But before the machines landed in the subway stations, a prototype appeared at the Museum of Modern Art — part of a 2006 exhibit called "Safe: Design Takes on Risk."

The minimalist machines, conceived by the Chelsea-based Antenna Design company, feature only two buttons — green and red — and a blue light box to increase visibility.

Passengers can hit the green button to be connected to the station booth attendant for transit information or they can hit the red button to be immediately connected to the Rail Control Center, which can then dispatch emergency personnel.

"These units have a fresh new appearance that will make the Help Points easy to identify. The sound will be crisp, clear and easy to understand which is an important feature especially in the subway environment," NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast said of the new machines. "As designed, the Help Points are major step beyond the Customer Assistance Intercoms now in our stations."

If, after several months, the intercom kiosks are deemed a success, the design will be considered for expansion to other stations throughout the city, an MTA spokesman said.

The first round of installations cost $300,000 per station, the spokesman also noted.