One of the things we love the most in New York City, is uncovering the NYC subway secrets. We compiled a few of what we most enjoyed!
There is just so much to talk about when the subject is: NYC subway secrets. It’s hard even to know where to start from.
To start, maybe we should go back and see how it all began:
“At 2:35 on the afternoon of October 27, 1904, New York City Mayor George McClellan takes the controls on the inaugural run of the city’s innovative new rapid transit system: the subway.
At 7 p.m. that evening, the subway opened to the general public, and more than 100,000 people paid a nickel each to take their first ride under Manhattan.
IRT service expanded to the Bronx in 1905, to Brooklyn in 1908 and to Queens in 1915.
Since 1968, the subway has been controlled by the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA). The system now has 26 lines and 468 stations in operation; the longest line, the 8th Avenue “A” Express train, stretches more than 32 miles, from the northern tip of Manhattan to the far southeast corner of Queens.
Every day, some 4.5 million passengers take the subway in New York.”
~ via History.com
That said, we can still list some other peculiarities that we love about the NYC subway secrets:
1. Did you know that there are many abandoned platforms, like the one underneath 42nd street on the A/C/E line?
2. The FDR Subway Track – Track 61 (picture above!), beneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel is one of the most protected sites. FDR, stands for Franklin Delano Roosevelt and was used exclusively by him during his Presidency, due to his physical impairment, after contracting Polio. Even though we had to luck of going down there, today Track 61 is completely out of bounds for the public.
3. Wanderlust Projects, know for their illegal parties, that trespasses authorized areas, has organized an illegal party in an abandoned Subway Station. We love these guys!
4. Up through 2006, the New York City transit system operated an armored Money Train that took all money collected from fairs to a safe place at 370 Jay Street, Brooklyn. (You can see more at the New York Transit Museum).
5. Joralemon Street, in Brooklyn Heights, has a fake townhouse, in the middle of several others colored ones, that hides a ventilation shaft for the Subway.
6. MTA Arts for Transit invited the sculpture Tom Otterness, in 2004, to create those beautiful little bronze creature spread through out the 14th Station and 8th Avenue. See more about his project below:
7. The Knickerbocker Hotel was once a very acclaimed hotel, where names like F.Scott Fitzgerald and John D. Rockefeller used to “hang”. The forgotten white door at Track 1 on Times Square/42nd Street station.
8. When you get the Q Line from Dekalb into Manhattan (the abandoned Myrtle Ave station), you will be able to witness the Masstransiscope artwork by Bill Brand, installed in the year of 1980. This was once the is located in the abandoned Myrtle Ave station. Facing the front of the train, you need to sit on the left side seats.
9. We love the Underbelly Project, dating back a few years to 2009. See below where some of the most amazing works of art are secretly hidden.
10. Decommissioned in 1945, the famous City Hall Subway Station has maybe the most amazing architectural designs of all. How to see it? Stay on the 6 train after its last stop, at Brooklyn Bridge. It will continue running, and you’ll be able to see a bit from this station, when you pass by. Beware: it might get a little dark, since lights might go out at some point. Just, stay cool.
11. The Woolworth Building had an exclusive and direct access into the subway, for all the tenants. For an exclusive tour into the building, contact our experts!
12. The weird “finger-pointing” moment that every conductor does before opening the train’s doors, is simply for safety reasons, indicating that the train is completely stopped.
13. Famous people have done fantastic works of “art” in the subway. Take a look at what Aaron from Underground_NYC has created through the dance moves of the famous Brazilian ballerina, Ingrid Silva:
…there is just so much more, but we’ll leave it for a second article about the NYC subway secrets!
So, with all this, there are a few books and gadgets we’d like to recommend, if you’re into these secret subway stories and adventures like us:
1. Beneath the Streets: The Hidden Relics of New York’s Subway System
2. The City Beneath Us: Building the New York Subway
3. Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure: A TOON Graphic (Toon Graphics) (for Kids)
4. Helvetica and the New York City Subway System: The True (Maybe) Story
5. The New York City Subway: The History of America’s Largest and Most Famous Subway System
6. My Subway Ride (for Kids)
7. The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America’s First Subway
8. Sterling Industries 138-094 Double Sided Wall Clock with Map of New York Subway
9. New York Puzzle Company – New York City Transit MTA Subway Kids – 36 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle (for Kids)
10. Glossy Paper Subway Gift Bags
11. and still, a New York City Subway Map Poster Print
And last, we hope you enjoyed this post, as much as we enjoyed doing it!
Yup, we are fascinated with uncovering the NYC subway secrets!
Text Excerpts: History.com
Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and Courtesy of Underground_NYC
*Last Update on March/2020.*