While the majority of New York City’s subway entrances have the same mundane look, there are others that still have details from an earlier era. Some entrances contain flourishes from the buildings in which they are situated, others stand alone. Today, we’ve rounded up some unique subway entrances in New York City.

1. The Fulton Street Station at Broadway and Fulton

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This entrance part of 195 Broadway, the prior headquarters of American Telephone and Telegraph and Western Union. The building has the claim to fame of being on the receiving end of the first transatlantic phone call. It’s now home to Thompson Reuters and other tenants. Architect William W. Bosworth, who also designed Kykuit, the Gilded Age Rockefeller estate, designed this portion of the building on the Fulton Street side. The station itself, which includes this entrance, is a registered New York City landmark.

2. Trinity Building

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The richly Gothic-decorated interior of the Trinity Building at 111 Broadway is also present on the exterior, including this fancy original subway entrance. Appropriately (or inappropriately) enough, it also now houses a Subway fast food joint.

3. Astor Place

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This entrance is actually a reproduction of an IRT subway entrance that was installed in the 1986 renovation. Inside there is also a public bathroom converted into a newsstand.

Astor Place Subway Station-NYC-Vintage

4. Municipal Building, Chambers Street-Brooklyn Bridge

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The Municipal Archives Building and this vaulted area were designed by some architectural powerhouses. McKim, Meade & White did the building while Gustavino did the tiling (he also did the tiling in the abandoned City Hall station and in Grand Central).

5. Central Park South N/R subway station

Central Park South-Subway Entrance-Vintage Lamps-NYC

6. 181st Street Art Deco Subway Entrance

The Art Deco entrance at 181st leads to a subway station in Washington Heights that’s one of the deepest in the system.

7. 72nd Street

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We previously highlighted this entrance because it had a newsstand curiously in the same shape as the subway entrance. It’s also one of the original 28 stations designed by architects George Heins and Christopher LaFarge for the NYC subway system. Other stations that still have their original fare control house like this are at Atlantic Avenue (next to the Williamsburgh Savings Bank) and Bowling Green.

8. Atlantic Avenue

Atlantic Avenue-Vintage Subway Station-NYC- George Heins- Christopher LaFarge-BrooklynRooklyn

10. Bowling Green

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11. Williamsburgh Savings Bank

Willimsburgh Savings Bank-Brooklyn-Vintage Subway Sign

12. Borough Hall

Borough Hall-Brooklyn-Vintage Subway Entrance-NYC

13. Lexington-53rd Street Station

Art Deco Station-Lexington Avenue-53rd Street Subway Entrance-Art DecoImage via Flickr

This Art Deco entrance at the 53rd and Lexington Avenue stop looks like it was designed to match the GE Building (originally RCA building), which in turn was built to complement St. Bartholomew which is just west of it.

14. Wall Street 

The 4/5 Train Entrance looks similar to Borough Hall’s:

Wall Street-Vintage Subway Entrance-4-5-Trains-NYC

There are plenty other vintage transit details, especially signage, if you look closely around you. If you spot any others, hashtag them with #untappedcities and they’ll appear in our Untapped Cities photo pool!


  1. Bryan says:

    Awesome article! Where’s #9?

  2. JOR says:

    NYC comprises of 5 boroughs. There are also nice subway entrances in The Bronx (e.g. http://forgotten-ny.com/2013/07/morris-park-to-crotona-east/) and Queens. Don’t much thus can’t say much about Staten Island. And though you’ve included Atlantic Avenue, there are others in Brooklyn that should’ve made this list. .

  3. DM says:

    Jay Street Metrotech in Brooklyn has some good stuff. This is the best I could find in a pinch, but the signage after the descend the stairs under this sign is consistent with the Art Deco and a bit prettier


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