City Hall Station

Saturday, July 25 2009


City Hall Subway Station, New York. Photo ©John-Paul Palescando.

(Click to see more photographs of City Hall Station on nycsubway.org)

Amazingly City Hall Station still exits and the above is a contemporary photo! The station was built where construction of the first subway in New York – the Interborough Rapid Transit – was started, by the front steps of City Hall. Here the first shovelful of earth was dug. The station was built on the sharply curved terminal loop of the new subway and was designed with much finer architectural detailing than the remaining stations on the line. It was intended to be the showpiece of the new subway where the mayor could show off the subway to his guests. The official start of construction took place on 24 March 1900, the station opened along with the rest of the line on October 27, 1904.

When the subway was extended many train began to by-pass the loop and station. Between 1940 and 1950 a programme of platform lengthening took place to accommodate longer trains. New rolling stock was introduced with centre doors and because of the sharp curve there was a dangerous gap between the floor of the coach and the platform edge. It was decided to abandon the station and to continue to use the loop for turning certain trains. City Hall was closed on December 31, 1945.

In April 1995, it was announced that federal grant money was to be sought to restore City Hall station and open it as a branch of the Transit Museum. It was hoped it would be open by late 1997. The track around the loop was reclassed from yard track to mainline, which meant the public could be allowed to ride around and see the station without obtaining special permission. In late 1998, the plans were cancelled and the public were prohibited from riding around the loop again.

In October 2004, the station was tidied up for the subway’s centenary celebrations. The skylights were uncovered, lighting was repaired, and a stairway to the street was reopened. A ceremony was held there on October 27, 2004, and for a few hours after, the station was open to the public once again. It has remained closed ever since.

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One comment

  1. This is quite something. Long may it be preserved in this state!

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