With its historic metal treads still in place (they have been replaced in every other New York City subway station), the Bowery station is infamous for the decrepit state of its abandoned section. But lately, it has been in the news for two very different reasons. First, the station was used as a training site for an NYPD terror drill and then a graffiti artist known as “VEW” created a Star Wars-themed “Anti-ISIS” mural.
The Bowery station runs on the JZ subway line, which brings passengers between Williamsburg and lower Manhattan. Opened in 1913 to transport passengers downtown from the Williamsburg Bridge, the station is situated at the Bowery’s junction with Delancey and Kenmare streets. The Bowery station, with only 2,746 riders on the typical weekday in 2012, places third on the list of least-used Manhattan stations.
Beneath the Bowery lies a tunnel that was initially planned to be used as part of proposed expansions of the New York City subway such as the Second Avenue Subway, which is currently undergoing its first phase of construction.
The station was originally designed with four tracks and two island platforms (meaning each platform was between two tracks). Now, however, the station only has three tracks, since the fourth track, located on the abandoned northbound portion of the station, was removed in 2004 during renovations. Only two of the tracks are actually in use.
Along each side of the Bowery station is a mezzanine. The west mezzanine is closed, and there were escalators running up to the east mezzanine in the original construction. One side of the station even has a raised ceiling where a proposed subway was supposed to run through. The south end of the station contains newsstands, restrooms, a mezzanine, and stairway – all of which are closed.
The installed escalator at the Bowery station. Image via Wikimedia Commons user Harrison Leong
But perhaps it’s not as neglected as many think it is. The MTA recently installed a new escalator to bring passengers up from the Bowery station. And Gothamist reports that the abandoned section gave NYPD and FDNY the opportunity to practice what to do in instances of mass terrorist attacks.
Then this week, Ratter reported that a graffiti artist known as VEW created a Star Wars-themed “Anti-ISIS” mural on a wall of the abandoned station to show both antagonism towards ISIS and solidarity with Paris in wake of the recent terrorist attacks.
Thus, despite its abandonment, the Bowery station has not been completely forgotten.
Next, read about 9 other abandoned subway platforms in NYC, 7 abandoned subway stations in NYC, and 20 Abandoned Places in NYC: Asylums, Hospitals, Power Plants, Islands, Forts. Get in touch with the author @sgeier97