Columbus Circle’s original IRT subway kiosk

No matter what you think of Christopher Columbus, I think we can all agree that the original subway kiosk at the circle named after him is an iconic and inspiring piece of street architecture.

And the trolleys, the lamppost, the dune buggy–like early car in this 1910 postcard of Columbus Circle…sigh.

This kiosk would be for entering the subway. The old-school rule: Domed-roof kiosks were for going into the station, while peaked-roof kiosks were for exiting, according to Tom Range’s 2002 book, New York City Subways.

[Postcard: MCNY, X2011.34.2391]

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5 Responses to “Columbus Circle’s original IRT subway kiosk”

  1. David Handelman Says:

    The original trolley stop from this location is now ensconced on a rock overlooking the Lake in Central Park — see

    “It was built in 1871 by Jacob Wrey Mould, and it was placed at 59th Street and Eighth Avenue to serve park visitors who needed to wait for trolley service at the end of the day. “

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Ooh, I love this spot in the park, thanks for the link!

  3. Tom Hakala Says:

    Thanks for this post. I am 71 and grew up in NYC (Brooklyn). Many of the original IRT kiosks were still around (far more than the three or four that still exist) when I was a kid riding the Subways. Amazingly, I never knew – or have long forgotten – that rule about the domed roof and the peaked roof. Maybe I just obeyed the ‘entrance’ and ‘exit’ signs that were posted on either side of the kiosk without giving a thought to the shape of the roof. You learn something new about NYC every day!

  4. [Blog Glück] Oktober 2019 – Seitenglueck Says:

    […] Ephemeral New York fand ich den alten Subway Kiosk Eingang auf einer Postkarte am Columbus Circle in New York City 1901 super interessant und so wunderschön! Außerdem fand ich den Beitrag zum Fail der „House of […]

  5. Kiwiwriter Says:

    The lamppost appears to be a standard Type 24 cast-iron Bishop’s Crook, 18 feet high. The actual luminaire is original, but they were all replaced with more effective ones in the 1940s and 1950s.

    What killed the cast-iron lamppost in New York was many factors: traffic accidents, rust, corrosion, but most of all, they are only 18 feet high. DOT regulations require lampposts to be 30 feet high, minimum.

    The fiberglass replicas you see all over New York now are 30 feet high. If you want to compare heights, go down West 13th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues in Manhattan. There is a Type F pole from 1931 surrounded by fiberglass replica Type 24 poles. You’ll see the difference instantly.

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