City Hall Station , New York City subway
First New York City subway was built and operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT). Open on October 27, 1904, to the enjoy of New York elevated train and streetcar riders.
City Hall Station
The City Hall station on the IRT local track was have with fine architectural detail. These including glass tiles and large chandeliers. However, the Gustavino vaulted ceilings and skylights were lost on busy commuters, and the stop was one of the least-used in the system. It was the only station that did not have turnstiles installed by 1923, and the nearby Brooklyn Bridge stop was frequented by the express train and closer to connecting streetcars.
The Curved platform
Because of the curved platform, cars with center doors could not be used at this station unless they had specially modified door controls which allowed just the end doors to be opened. In 1945, the station was closed when platforms along the line were being lengthened to accommodate longer trains, and the number of passengers using this station dwindled to very few.
Up until the late 1990’s the passengers on the Lexington Avenue Local (today’s 6 train) had to disembark from the train at the Brooklyn Bridge stop. The skylights have been reopened, and the station lights turned back on. The passengers can not get out of the train and experience the City Hall Station as they once might have, but they can stay on the train as it loops around on those tracks and heads back north.
Why is popular this abandoned Station?
This is the Grand Central Station of the underground that few New Yorkers, let alone tourists, get to see. There are only about 30 tours a year, taking a privileged 1200 visitors back in time to explore a subterranean city secret.
The Museum says: “The New York Transit Museum’s Old City Hall tours are extremely popular. Tour tickets go on sale to members three times a year and tend to sell out within minutes. “The station continues to inspire awe among visitors through both its stunning architecture and historical significance.”
New York City Transit Museum
Today, the only way you can see Old City Hall is on a tour run by the New York Transit Museum. Tours are infrequent and you need to be a VIP (museum member) to qualify. But the rewards are worth it. Grab a yearly membership for $60 a person or $90 for a family (including up to four children), then wait for the next round of Old City Hall tours to go on sale (maximum 40 people). Tickets cost $50 a person and sell out fast.
Know Before You Go
The next round of tickets will go on sale to members of the New York Transit Museum on April . You can become a member of the museum here. You can also see the old City Hall station anytime by staying on the No. 6 train at the Brooklyn Bridge station with the cost of a Metrocard swipe ($2.75).