Abandoned Subway Stations

There is something haunting about the abandoned underground tunnels of New York city, a mix of elegant early architecture, graffiti, and perhaps Mole peopleCity Hall Station, above and below, opened as part of the first subway line on October 27, 1904. Because of platform lengthening to accommodate longer trains (and thus more passengers) in the 40s and 50s, it was decided to abandon the station in favor of the nearby Brooklyn Bridge station, and so City Hall was closed to passenger service on December 31, 1945. 

Much more fancy than the other stations of its time, City Hall was designed with unique decorative tiling and skylights. Unlike other stations abandoned during the platform lengthening process, City Hall Station was securely sealed off because of security concerns. It remains pristine, as can be seen in these photos from a rare 2004 IRT Centennial celebration held there. It has since be re-sealed.

Other examples of abandooned stations fared differently:

91st Street Station

Full collection of 91st Street station images here. This station was closed in 1959 when the 96th Street station was lengthened and looks by far the most heavily graffitied.

18th Street Station

Less artfully graffitied, these 18th St. Station images show what happened to the station abandoned in 1948 when the 14th Street station was lengthened.

Worth Street Station

There is also a full collection of images from Worth Street Station. Stations that were closed in the city due to lengthening seem to have the most graffiti, maybe because they were still remembered 20 years later after the rise of spraypaint or maybe because they are so close to the working stations that edged them out.

Everything you ever wanted to know about the history of the NYC underground from its beginnings in 1904 until today can be found on www.nycsubway.org, and if you are like me you’ll find the section on Abandoned Stations particularly interesting in their descent from elegance to chaos.

5 thoughts on “Abandoned Subway Stations

  1. I’ve explored every abandoned station in NYC. There’s nothing quite like it. Budapest is my favorite city in the world. You are quite fortunate to be there.

  2. Lucky you! I think that stuff is so fascinating..now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder if Budapset, with one of the oldest underground transportation systems in the world, has abandoned stations…

    And yes, I agree, I am very lucky.

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