Image via NYC Parks
City Hall Park is surrounded by stunning governmental and municipal buildings that date all the way back to the early 19th century. The swath of land that sits between Broadway and Park Row, provides a small section of green space for pedestrians to escape to. Tourist and locals alike are sure to point out City Hall, the site’s most notable attraction, but the history of the park encompasses much more than just its buildings:
Here are 10 secrets of City Hall Park:
10. Find Remnants of the Abandoned City Hall Subway Station
Opened in 1904, the old City Hall station with its beautiful architecture and curved platform was intended to be a showpiece of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company’s (IRT) new subway line. It was also the chosen place for hanging the commemorative plaques dedicated to those who designed, built and financed the underground train system. Contrary to popular belief, there was no plaque here honoring Alfred Ely Beach’s early pneumatic subway.
The station was closed just a few decades later in 1945 because its curved platform wasn’t able to accommodate the IRT’s newer, longer cars. Today, the subway stop still remains closed but you can get a quick glimpse of the platform on our Underground NYC Subway tour, as we take the 6 train past its last stop at Brooklyn Bridge.
If you look around City Hall Park, you can still see evidence of the old station too. An emergency exit is in the restricted area in front of City Hall, and glass blocks, where natural light filters into the station, are located on the northern most end of the park between the park fence on Broadway and the chess tables. As our Underground NYC Subway tour guide Justin Rivers describes:
“There is a cement embankment with glass blocks in it on the northern most end of the park between the park fence on Broadway and the chess tables. You can clearly see it. That’s one of the spot where natural light filters down into the station through the glass ceiling. The other embankment is harder to spot and is covered in weeds. The street entrance to CHS is an old IRT entrance now painted completely black. It’s located inside the gated grounds of City Hall by the Broadway gate directly across from the newsstand on Broadway by the W, R City Hall stop.”
Join us for our popular NYC Underground subway tour: