A look at the old East 18th Street subway station

This vintage postcard sheds some light on the 18th Street station on the Lexington Avenue line—one of the original IRT stations that opened in 1904. It’s been closed since 1948 after the 14th Street-Union Square platform was lengthened.

18thstreetsubway

Though the MTA has made 18th Street and other abandoned stations off-limits since 9/11, you still can catch a glimpse of it if you take the 6 train and look really hard out the window.

The station walls are dark and graffiti-covered, but it’s not hard to see the old columns and staircases—ghostly reminders of different periods in the city’s past.

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16 Responses to “A look at the old East 18th Street subway station”

  1. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    There’s a nice site about Abandoned Stations, covers all of Manhattan

    http://www.columbia.edu/~brennan/abandoned/

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks Mick. Here’s another great site for abandoned station photos:
    http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/stations?5:3099

    I wish the MTA would open these ghost stations to small groups for tours.

  3. oscar Says:

    i find myself staring out the windows all the time to catch a glimpse of that old station. fellow commuters think i’m strange :)

  4. petey Says:

    classic IRT station layout. even with alterations and extensions you can still see it in other stations.

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    I always stare out the window too to see the station too. I wish the train would slow down or even stop altogether there just once so I can really get a good look.

  6. Police Cars Give Off Strong Vibes - City Room Blog - NYTimes.com Says:

    [...] postcard of the 18th Street subway station on the Lexington Avenue line, which has been closed since 1948. [Ephemeral New [...]

  7. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    One time years ago, I was just a kid, the subway crawled through the tunnel –some kind of congestion on 14th Street– and all the passengers were amazed at what we were seeing…an old station no one ever knew had once existed. It was like going back in time…or least to Twilight Zone for sure.

  8. Albert Mahoney Says:

    Even more impressive than 18th st. is the old City Hall Station. It was the Flagship station of the Subway System and the starting point for the first subway ride in October of 1904. I knew that it is now used only as a turn around for the Lexington Ave. trains. I once, back in the 90′s, stayed on the downtown Lex local train when it left Brooklyn Bridge. The train indeed did travel through this old station. You can see signage and beautiful old lighting fixtures from a century ago. I got out when the train arrived on the northbound platform of Brooklyn Bridge and I went on this round trip 3 times that day. I was a little nervous, not knowing if all trains would indeed make this turn or just wait for a scheduled departure but nothing like that happened and I had a wonderful historic, though illegal, journey.

  9. wildnewyork Says:

    I keep meaning to stay on the train to see the City Hall station; it’s supposed to be really lovely, a real trip back in time. Great to hear that it lives up to its rep.

    Here’s a look at it circa 1906:
    http://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/the-beautiful-subway-station-youll-never-see/

  10. petey Says:

    i did that too, but in the 70s and the level of surveillance wasn’t very high. glad to hear you could do it in the 90s, don’t know how discreet you’ll need to be nowadays. but go for it, i’d say!

  11. Benjamin Kabak Says:

    Albert and others: It’s no longer illegal to ride around the City Hall loop on the 6. Just board a train on the southbound platform at Brooklyn Bridge and enjoy the ride! Alternatively, the Transit Museum hosts tours of the old station for members. It truly is a beauitful station.

  12. wildnewyork Says:

    Great photos! I’ve got to get down there myself one of these days. The next City Hall station tour is December 5. The transit museum website has more info:
    http://mta.info/mta/museum/programs.htm

  13. Dave Says:

    Thrilled to discover this blog!

    Though my nostalgia is tickled by this stop, it remains my hope that the red line will go the same way. . .
    http://d-scicult-blog.blogspot.com/2009/01/satans.html

  14. one who know Says:

    I rode through the abandoned station at city hall last week. it was cool.

  15. New York City Subway: How can I spot the abandoned 18th street station along the IRT line? - Quora Says:

    [...] line?I frequently pass by it when riding on the 6 train, yet I can barely grab a glimpse. Any tips?http://ephemeralnewyork.wordpres…Cannot add comment if you are logged out.  Add [...]

  16. Beth Says:

    There’s also a ghost station on the IRT line between 86th and 96th Streets. The more modern, longer trains made the station obsolete so they closed it down. You can see it both on the uptown and downtown sides, covered in graffiti, as you had said.

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