We’ve been wondering about this phenomenon for a while: the prevalence of barber shops, locksmiths, bodegas, and shoe repair shops inside subway entrances. Why do some entrances have them while others don’t? The answer is right there, if you look carefully.
Some subway entrances are located at the bottom of buildings in New York City, rather than off the sidewalk. Think of the subway entrances at Clark Street in Brooklyn or at Canal Street and Broadway in Manhattan for example. These entrances are maintained by the owners of those buildings and they rent out space to various small businesses (and sometimes chains like Subway). Here are some examples:
Vintage subway entrance at the Trinity Building at 111 Broadway with Subway and Suspenders Bar & Restaurant.