Waiting for a train at a dazzling subway station

Vaulted ceilings, pendant lighting, mosaic tiles, colored glass that let in natural light—these are some of the spectacular features of the City Hall IRT station, opened in October 1904 and the southernmost station on the original IRT route.

Unfortunately all of this beauty has been shut off to passengers since 1945—when the station was deemed redundant because the Brooklyn Bridge station so close. Also, it just didn’t accommodate the longer trains necessary to carry the vast numbers of city commuters.

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10 Responses to “Waiting for a train at a dazzling subway station”

  1. Gil Gross Says:

    If you don’t get off the #6 when it turns around to head back north, you can get a view of the station. The best view is from the front so you’ll have to ask to motorman for permission, but I’ve never been refused.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      I’d heard that they won’t let you stay on the 6 to see it anymore, so good to know it’s still possible.

  2. Sally F Says:

    Wow! Amazing!

  3. Carolyn Lalli Says:

    A “showcase”, clearly intended to impress investors. For those interested in more detailed history with images, here’s a link: http://www.columbia.edu/~brennan/abandoned/cityirt.html

  4. David H Lippman Says:

    They do let you stay on the 6 train as it goes round the loop, but the Transit Museum holds tours of the old station…go to their website. The access through a staircase for those tours.

    I’ve been in the station several times. It’s about three cars long.

    The other reason it’s closed is that the curve itself is to hard for it to accommodate doors opening on middle cars on the trains that were rolled out after World War II. They had a similar problem on the inner loop at South Street, so they bricked up part of the inner platform as a wall, and modified the dedicated rolling stock on the Bowling Green-South Ferry Shuttle such that the middle doors simply would not open.

  5. Main News Source.. Click here Says:


    Waiting for a train at a dazzling subway station | Ephemeral New York

  6. Waiting for a train at a dazzling subway station | News for New Yorkers Says:

    […] Source: FS – 898253 Waiting for a train at a dazzling subway station […]

  7. City Hall festooned with flags and finery to celebrate ‘Tunnel Day’ | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Tunnel Day happened on March 24, 1900, and City Hall was decked out with flags, banners, and bunting. Makes sense: City Hall was the focal point for city politicians and other bigwigs, but it was also the site of the groundbreaking of the first station—the “crown jewel” City Hall IRT station. […]

  8. Barb Says:

    There’s a story that City Hall station was last used by FDR as a way to hide his disabled legs from the awaiting public.

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