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The most beautiful subway station in New York City is locked, inaccessible since the last passengers stepped off its platform on December 31, 1945.
Unlike the stunning Penn Station, built a few years later, the City Hall station survived through a new purpose. The station is remarkably intact, its ornate glass oculus still shining on the mezzanine where the ticket booth once stood, and the herringbone terra-cotta tile work in green and white brightly accenting the arches designed by Rafael Guastavino. The visit got me thinking about access, and how many of these places built for the appreciation of the New York public are now closed with no chance at a legal visit, such as the observation deck on the Municipal Building that stands just above the station, or for many years High Bridge until its reopening this summer. Hyperallergic welcomes comments and a lively discussion, but comments are moderated after being posted.
Hyperallergic is a forum for serious, playful and radical thinking about art in the world today. Hawk   The abandoned City Hall station of New York Subway (18 Pics) The abandoned City Hall station of New York Subway (18 Pics) It has been called ?one of the most beautiful subway stations in the world?, but today it?s one of New York subway?s ghost stations. During the following decades, New York subway saw an increase in passenger numbers which meant longer trains and longer platforms had to be used. Today, the tracks going through the station are part of the turning loop which is being used by 6 trains. Once went into the old subway beneath the Central Parkway in Cincinnati, 50 years ago;lots of cold war supplies as i recall.

The closed off platform at Aldwych station is now used as the shooting range for King’s College Rifle Shooting club! It’s a fairly open secret that your easiest glimpse at the ghost station is staying on a 6 train as it turns around from the downtown-bound track to the uptown (although there were some confusing fines for remaining onboard issued last year).
The idea to open the station to the public was proposed back in 1995, with tours ending in 1998 due to security risks (it is right beneath City Hall), and finally beginning again in 2006 through the Transit Museum.
City Hall station opened in 1904 and served as the southern terminal of the ?Manhattan Main Line?, the subway?s first line. As the City Hall station?s platform was built on a tight curve, it would have been difficult to be lengthened. Passengers who remain on the trains as they go around the loop, can see the station?s platform even though trains no longer stop there.
Arched Romanesque Revival tile ceilings, cut amethyst glass skylights, brass chandeliers, and a proud oak ticket booth proclaimed the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) subway as an underground marvel of both transportation and elegance. But in an impressive feat of access, the New York Transit Museum also offers small tours sporadically to its members, with the next upcoming this January, February, March, and April. Aside from the skylights being blacked out during World War II to limit light, and some chipping on the old City Hall signs, it still appears almost exactly as it did in 1945. Much as the integrity of the Eero Saarinen design for the TWA Flight Center at JFK airport was encouraged by public access tours, the possibility to enter City Hall station, even on these few opportunities, is important for preservation, and to allow visitors to visit a subterranean wonder that once announced New York’s entry into the new age of transportation.

Designed by Rafael Guastavino, it is an usually elegant station and unique among New York?s first subway stations. Moreover, City Hall was never an important station and it was close to the far busier Brooklyn Bridge station.
Since the mid ?90s there have been many ocassions when this very unique station opens to the public for tours. However, a short curving platform that only accommodated five cars, lack of turnstiles, and the close proximity to a much more popular Brooklyn Bridge station, made the City Hall station obsolete in just a few decades.
The platform and mezzanine feature Guastavino tile, skylights, colored glass tilework and brass chandeliers. In its final year, it only had a daily count of 600 passengers passing through its regal interior.

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