Most of NYC Subway stations are grimy, dirty, and generally pretty gross. Manhattan's are a little bit cleaner, because, you know, tourists. But there is one hidden gem among them, that has been closed since 1945. It is only opened for tours once in a while, and this weekend and a weekend in April is one of those once in a while times.
This is one of the original subway stations from when the Subway opened on October 27, 1904. Unlike the rest of the subway line, City Hall station had tall tile arches, brass fixtures, chandeliers, skylights, polychrome tile, and elegant curves that ran along the platform. It was lit by wrought iron chandeliers and the three skylights of cut amethyst glass that allowed sunshine onto parts of the platform. During World War II, the skylights were blacked out with tar for safety.
As the subway ridership increased the need for larger trains, more cars, and bigger platforms was evident. The smaller platform, and the curve of the platfrorm deemed the station unsafe for use in the 1940's . It's last day of use was December 31, 1945.
|You can see here, the track is too curvy for the more modern and larger subway cars.|
You need to be a member of the MTA, which for a person would cost $50, and then the tour is $40, and there are 2 tours each day on February 16 and April 12. Here is the link for the tours, scroll down to Offsite tours, and it is the Jewel in the Crown:Old City Hall Station.
I have tried to take the 6 train past the last stop, because it goes past here, but never saw anything, then realized the lights are not on. So that little trick is a myth, the times I have tried it.