9. The Architects of the City Hall Subway Station
The main consulting architects on the IRT stations were George Lewis Heins and Christopher Grant LaFarge, who handled everything from the fare control stations above ground, to the layout of the subway stations, to the tiles on the walls. The City Hall subway station is particularly unique because of the involvement of R. Guastavino & Co., who were responsible for the curved skylights and the vaulted tiling so characteristic of many of New York City’s grandest places including Grand Central Terminal, Ellis Island and Manhattan’s Municipal Building.
Unlike the generally simpler tiling scheme in the rest of the IRT subway system, City Hall was clearly intended to impress. Fifteen tiled arches support the ceiling along with three panels of glass skylights. Rich tones of red brick, green and cream tiles contrast with the blue glass in the skylights, resulting in a stunning visual and architectural feat.