Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Safari #77: NYC's Old City Hall Subway Station

Fellow travelers, every once in a while, I head down to NYC for a new adventure.  And whenever I do, I always share.  This adventure is truly one of a kind.

In Boston, there are many abandoned subway stations, but we rarely get to pass through them - legally. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit what was once the shining beacon of NYC subway - the old City Hall station.

Built originally as the terminal station of the Lexington Avenue Line (the first line built for the NYC Subway), the City Hall station was meant to inspire travelers with its beauty. The station tunnel contains 15 vaulted archways (designed by R. Guastavino - the same designer of the vaulted Bates Hall in the Boston Public Library), some of which include glass skylights that allow natural light underground via small glass squares at the surface.

In the mid-1940's, the station was abandoned as travelers began to use the newly build Brooklyn Bridge station with connections to multiple lines.

It's sad to think that something so beautiful sits alone, longingly awaiting the light of a passing train.

Catch Your Glimpse
  • Take the 6 Train. The 6 train (downtown) ends at the Brooklyn Bridge station.  At the final stop, passengers are asked to leave the train, but stay on board.  The train will turn around within the City Hall station, allowing you to catch a rare glimpse of the vaulted tunnel and skylights.
  • Take a Tour with the New York Transit Museum. After becoming a member of the museum, you can register to take a private tour with the museum.  You will board a 6 train and be able to get out and walk within the station itself.  A docent is available to discuss the history of the station itself as well as the New York subway system. 

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