The Long Abandoned City Hall Subway Station in New York
The City Hall station was meant to be the crown jewel in the city’s new subway system. It was opened in 1904 as the southern terminal of the Manhattan Main Line (which is now part of the IRT Lexington Avenue Line). Located beneath the public area in front of City Hall, the station has always been considered the most beautiful in the city.
Using an unusually luxurious style of architecture along with colored glass tile work, beautiful skylights and dignified brass chandeliers, the station was undoubtedly unique. Although it was the focus of the subway system groundbreaking ceremony in 1904, City Hall station eventually fell into disuse.
By 1945, only around 600 people per day were being served by the elegantly appointed station. As the trains grew longer and added doors in the middle of the cars, the City Hall platforms were no longer suitable. There were now unsafe gaps between the train cars and the platform; in other stations, the platforms were rebuilt or extended, but this wasn’t an option in the tightly-curved City Hall station.
Rather than undertaking a very costly renovation of the station which was hardly used by the public, the city decided to close it down. The station’s last day of service was December 31, 1945.
Recently, the MTA changed the rules to allow passengers to ride through the gorgeous City Hall station. Although the station is still closed to passengers, you can get a glimpse of the former glory of this interesting piece of New York history by sitting back and relaxing while the number 6 makes it loop.
Awesome that people can officially ride through now! (Though, one of my favorite things was to stay on the Downtown 6, ride the abandoned City Hall Station loop, have the doors open at Brooklyn Bridge on the Uptown 6 and then see all the confused faces when the folks on the platform notice me already sitting on the train.)