October 27, 1904
I DECLARE THE SUBWAY
AFTER FOUR AND ONE
HALF YEARS of construction, New York finally had its subway
system. It was indeed a great marvel, and the showcase of it all was
right below New York's seat of government and power. All the
dignitaries streaming out of City Hall could indeed be proud of their
SO MORE THAN 90 YEARS after the subway opened, and more than 50 years after City Hall Station closed to the public, what is this great station like today? Trains still pass through everyday; after the doors have closed and the conductor has said "Last Stop" on the downtown 6 train at Brooklyn Bridge, the train loops through City Hall to return back to the uptown tracks. Passengers are now allowed to stay on the train and go around the loop (the conductor sometimes even says, "Next Stop, Brooklyn Bridge Uptown"). So you, too, can see City Hall. If you want more than a brief glimpse of the station, the Transit Museum sponsors several tours each year of City Hall; you actually get off the train at the station, and can walk around for about 20 minutes. The noise from the passing trains is quite loud, but it is not enough to deter from the wonder of the station. It is in remarkably good shape for an original IRT station; natural light even pours through the one remaining surface vault lighting slab, forming interesting patterns on the platform.
CURRENT PLANS CALL FOR the station to be reopened as an annex of the Transit Museum. Three semicircular plaques that fit in the arches along the inner station walls, that were moved to Brooklyn Bridge station when City Hall was closed, have been returned to their original location. City Hall may never see a fare paying passenger again, but soon the public will get to experience the great pride and accomplishment the IRT planners found in their subway.
Back to The IRT: First Stations page.