• 11.11.10

Stunning NYC Subway Station Hidden in Plain Sight, Until Now

New York’s City Hall station isn’t open to the public, but in-the-know subway riders can still see its hidden beauty.

Stunning NYC Subway Station Hidden in Plain Sight, Until Now

There are many things to love about New York’s venerable subway system, but eye-popping design ain’t one of ’em.


Unless you know how to find the secret City Hall 6-train station, that is. Betcha’ didn’t know this underground cathedral was hidden under your feet this whole time (we sure didn’t):

Photo ©2008 John-Paul Palescandolo

Originally designed in 1904 as a showpiece for the Interborough Rapid Transit Company’s “Manhattan Main Line,” the station was boarded up in 1945. The city started restoring the City Hall station as a transit museum prior to 9/11, but security concerns killed the plan. The station is still closed to the public. Here’s an old diagram showing its location in relation to the Brooklyn Bridge station. The City Hall station is in the big loop on the left.


So how do you catch a glimpse of this awesomeness? All it takes is patience: Simply stay on the 6 train instead of getting off at Brooklyn Bridge, the last stop. The train actually makes a turnaround through City Hall station as it starts its return trip uptown.

Photo © 2009 Fred Guenther

NYC transit buffs have known this trick for years. Now, the rest of us are in on the secret. And for all you non-New Yorkers out there, you’ll always have the pictures: They’re an amazing look into old urban design made new.

[More pictures and info at Jalopnik and]

About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.