The New York City subway officially opened in October 1904 with the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) line, which initially ran from City Hall Station to 145th Street in Manhattan. Brooklyn was the second borough to be connected to the IRT in 1908, so it’s no surprise that the Brooklyn subway system holds its fair share of secrets.
Untapped New York Insiders are invited to join Rayn Riel, licensed tour guide and subway expert as he takes us to places in the subway system our popular Underground Subway tour doesn’t: Brooklyn! This event will take place in person on January 8, 2021 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and is free for Untapped New York Insiders. (Become a member now and get your first month free with the code JOINUS.)
Read on for the top ten secrets of the Brooklyn subway, from the location of the MTA’s former money room to a tribute to Aretha Franklin and other artworks hidden in plain sight.
Underground Brooklyn Subway Tour
1. Secret Tunnels to the Former MTA Money Room
From 1951 to 2006, the New York City transit system ran an armored train that moved all the subway and bus fares collected to a secret room, the Department of Revenue’s Money Room, inside a 13-story building at 370 Jay Street in Brooklyn. 370 Jay Street was strategically located atop a subway station where, according to information from a previous New York Transit Museum exhibit, “tunnels could be built to connect the building to IND, BMT and IRT lines.”
A crashgate along the Jay Street southbound F line subway track allowed the fares to be unloaded directly into the basement of the building, into special tunnels inside what looks like a uniform government building. In the photo above, you can see the crashgate as seen from the Jay Street F line. There was also a crashgate on the northbound R train track at the Lawrence Street station (now Jay Street Metro-Tech). After the money was collected from the train, and taken through one of the crashgates, it was brought down an empty tunnel to one of two revenue-only elevators that carried it up to the money room on the second floor. The money room contained a vault within a fortified cage and many security security cameras to track the movement of employees (who all wore special pocketless clothes). The Money Room closed January 2006.