The Hidden Subway

751px-City_Hall_Subway_stationNew York’s subway system – one of the world’s largest and busiest – was part of a grand (big and impressive) plan that would make it possible for anyone living in the greater New York area (in and around New York City) to go wherever they wanted to go.

However, the Great Depression, World War II, higher prices after the war, and other factors (causes) kept the grand plan from being completed. Parts of the subway were never built. Some parts that were built were never used. Many of those parts have been hidden from public view (can’t be seen). And they’ve never been seen by the millions of people who walk, drive, or ride just a short distance away.

One of those, the City Hall station, was supposed to have been the showpiece (something that attracts attention) of the subway system. It was designed by a well-known Spanish architect (someone who designs buildings). It’s beautiful, with curved walls and arched (curved) ceilings. The walls and ceilings are decorated with colored tiles, stained (colored) glass windows and skylights (windows in the ceiling) and brass (bright yellow metal) chandeliers (round frames that hold lights and hang from the ceiling). These photos will show you what I mean. Many people believe that it looks similar to New York’s well-known Grand Central Terminal (railroad station).

City Hall station opened in 1904. But as beautiful as it was (even though it was beautiful), it never was an important station. It was near the end of the #6 line (track that a train travels on) and most riders got off before City Hall to transfer (change) to other subway trains.

City Hall station was closed in 1941. Since then very few people have seen it. The station is in an area where trains turn around, and passengers had to get off. Recently, however, subway administrators (managers) have begun to allow passengers to stay on the train while it turns around. Even though they can’t get off the train to look at the City Hall station, passengers can see most of it while the train slowly moves past.

I haven’t seen City Hall station, but I’d like to. Would you? Do subways where you live have similar hidden wonders (something that makes you feel surprise and admiration)?

~ Warren Ediger – English coach/tutor and creator of the Successful English web site.

Photo of City Hall station courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

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8 Responses to The Hidden Subway

  1. Dan says:

    Hello everyone!

    What a coincidence! Just a while ago I was surprised getting to know that one of Naples’ station has been considered
    by the British Daily Telegraph the best station of Europe. This according to our national media.

    And this too was designed by a Spanish architect Oscar Tusquets Blanca.

    When I first read the post I had a deja vu. Like the one in the movie Matrix.
    Do you remember that scene? with the black cat that passes twice.

    If anyone is interested to see the picture of that station, it is called Toledo station in Naples, Italy.


  2. Vito says:

    Hi, everybody.
    Thanks, Warren, it’s really interesting to find out something new and mysterious.

    I love abandoned places.
    I love magic and secrets of darkness.

    Have a great holidays and wish you Merry Christmas, kind people. 😀

  3. emiliano says:

    It´s really impressive and I have not any idea about so beautiful City Hall station.
    Curiosity is my way or learning nearly everything so I have looking for the name
    of the Spanish architec because his style reminds me to Antoni Gaudi but he
    wasn´t. The architec´s name was Rafael Gustavino Moreno, born in Valencia on
    1842, afterward he went to Barcelona and finally to EE.UU. where he died.

    He was contemporaneous of Gaudi in Barcelona but after he went to EE.UU he
    created the Guastavino tile, a “Tile Arch System” patented in the United States in 1885
    used for constructing robust, self-supporting arches and architectural vaults using
    interlocking terracotta tiles and layers of mortar.

    It seems this “tile arch system” was used to build lot of buildings in your country
    and this man and his son influenced the style of a lot of oficial buildings also private
    edifices in your country.
    One of them is also the Oyster Bar under Guastavino tile vaulting, Grand Central Station
    of New York.

    Thanks a lot Warren, I have not any idea about this Spanish architec and all
    his work over there in USA., abosolutely incredible our (my) big ignorance about
    all these subjects.
    Now I remember the saying: “Nobody is a prophet in his land” as I never in my
    life known or be teached something about him or his work.

    Thanks a lot dear Warren, quite interesting subject if I go to New York some day.


  4. Jerry says:

    I’m curious why it has only one single line.

  5. Peter says:

    Helo you all,
    Dear warren,
    You had me at the title “The hidden subway.” 🙂
    Trust me,as I laid my eyes on the title of the post I knew the post must be the work of my dear Prof “Warren.” 
    So ,as it has been a custome about your blog posts, my preconceived notion warrened me that :Watch ; you are in for a wild ride. 
    And ,there you go. Another warren’s fresh word-studed  blog post for me. 
    I always read your article-like posts more eagerly and always frequently as I know there is always more to it thn meet the eye.
    I gotta tell you , It is a beautiful post It reveals a shred of history regarding one of the most popular city in the world. Thanks for the hint. Next time in big apple,I will take a long subway ride to see all the wonders hidden  at every turn,in that underground haze.
    I must say , NY subways is as much famous as it is infamous my friend.
    I hear that NY subway is astonished!! Yet asthonishly filty with dirt. 
    It is littered at all times. You see garbage all over and that the litter flys around the stations  upon the train arrivals  which must be every 3 or 4 minutes. You do the math.
    Plus, it is on the street that it is not totally safe to ride the subway alone at night!
    But, In all fairness,I have heard so many rave reviews about the NewYork subways as well that there is a mystique air about with all these hidden places and dark tunnels that makes the ride even more interesting. 
    There is nothing special about Toronto subway expect for the fact that Toronto subway is meticulousky clean and 100 percent safe. I believe , it counts for sth , isn’t it? 
    Thanks warren , I really enjoyed the assure warren that I took away more then a thing or two:) and inn not talking just about this particular post. 


  6. Dan says:

    Hello guys,

    Since I dislike going in the city I get to see the subway on average every ten years. The closest to my town is in Milan at 30 miles distance.

    As for hidden wonders, in Italy we have even too much of it.
    That can be a problem cause at times it is difficult to get things done.
    As you excavate for say bilding a new road or railway whenever they find something important kind of an ancient Roman villa or something the construction gets delayed.

    The area where I live in for example has fossils. I recall once a man telling me that he had found fossils in his yard while doing I do not remember what.
    Enyway, he said anything for fear that he could have his work stopped by the local officials.

    If I look out of my window I can see Mount San Giorgio that was introduced in the World heritage list cause they have found fossils 230 millions year old.

    These are the hidden wonders and even more one can find in Italy.


    It is just me or this capctha code is’t working well?

  7. Peter says:

    Finally ,we are there. The last weekend of the year 2012. A fresh start is upon us.
    The city is glittering . Affection and Compassion is in the air that makes even the harshest ,most frigid winter comfortable and warm.
    The city is alive .people are running around doing the last minute things in the last minutes of the year for celebrating the oldest evening of the year, the last evening of 2012.
    Well ,they are celebrating the old to Welcome a new , and a new is always full of hope.Hopes for a better old !!

    Happy transition people
    I wish you a Happy jumping off 2012 and a happy Landing on 2013.


  8. emiliano says:

    Dear Dan,
    that´s the point my friend having so old history as it has Italy if you remove a little always may appears
    something in relation with the different cultures that have existed in Italy from the XIII b.c. what is a
    very long time ago.
    Asking Cuca about these old civilizations of Italy she has told me something about “the Latinos” and their
    old city of Alba Longa (situated near Castel Gandolfo) destroyed by the Romans and also about the Etruscan
    She loves old history and having her at my side I only have to ask her for a good history information.

    Here in Spain or Greek more or less happens the same, now I could remember that few years ago (1996) when
    the “Plaza de Oriente” was remodelled it was necessary to stop all the work for months just becacuse
    something form the 10th century appears.
    At the end the ruins are stacked in a niche dug into the ground at one side of the big square, when people see it or tourists
    visit the “Palace of the Eas”t and walk round the the East Square nobody knows what is that.

    I think Italy, Greek or Spain have so many tourists just because we are rich in hidden or not hidden wonders.

    Just a pleasure Dan to talk with you, the place where you are living is absolutely wonderful, Nature is always the best for me
    despite human´s hands could do wonderful art too.


    It is not you only, the capctha code is not working well for me too.

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