Spying the hidden gem of the East Side IRT

By · Published in 2007

Riders of the 6 train can now view the City Hall stop from the comforts of a train. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

For official purposes, the last stop on the downtown 6 train is the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall stop. It’s a four-track station and the last chance to switch to the downtown IRT trains into Brooklyn.

But at this stop, the 6 doesn’t just start back uptown. Instead, it turns around in a loop station that has lain dormant for over 60 years. This station, considered the most beautiful in the New York City subway, is the City Hall station. With its Gustavino arches and intricate chandeliers, it was the original starting point for the first line of the IRT in 1904.

The station went out of service because the gap between the train and platform grew too wide and because it is a mere 300 feet from the Brooklyn Bridge stop. While plans to reopen it as part of the Transit Museum were halted due to security concerns following the Sept. 11 attacks, for years, those in the know knew that a savvy rider could spy this station if they stayed on the 6 train as it made its curve along that tight loop.

While the automated announcements have long said that the Brooklyn Bridge is the last stop, riders could generally stay on the train provided they ask the transit workers or simply avoided them. It’s thrilling to see the dimly lit station come into view as the 6 crawls around the sharp curve.

Now, via Chuck Bennett’s excellent Tracker Blog comes the news that the MTA will no longer be calling the Brooklyn Bridge stop the “last stop”. Bennett writes:

“Ladies and gentlemen, the next stop on this train will be the Brooklyn Bridge – City Hall uptown platform. For your safety, please remain inside of the car until the train comes to a complete stop and the doors open.”

No more “last stop.”

So now, we’re not sneaking around the trains to spy the beautiful City Hall stop. Enjoy the view.

Categories : Abandoned Stations

14 Responses to “Spying the hidden gem of the East Side IRT”

  1. Marsha says:

    Can’t wait to check it out. Hope the train moves in slo-mo.

  2. Amy says:

    This is great news for a goody-two-shoes like me who didn’t want to try to talk her way out of getting off the train. I’m really looking forward to seeing this station.

  3. The Cro says:

    Hey, Ben, “Thanks” for the “411” on this “Extra Added Attraction” on my next ride on the 6. Seriously, I will check it out and – like the other comment above – I hope the train takes this turn through this Old Station really slowly.

  4. Wakefield852 says:

    I was riding the train through the loop yesterday. What I was very dissapointed was, was the fact that the station was dimly lit and there is a very bad photo – op. I hope that they could light the station up so we can see the Jewel of the System, even if it is closed.

  5. Josh says:

    Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be consistent. I was in NYC for the Independence Day weekend, and the announcements at the official end of the 6 line were very much of the “get off the train now” type. I did hear the “next stop will be the uptown platform” announcement, but it was surrounded by “all passengers must get off the train” announcements — including at least one by the conductor.

  6. Sara Nordmann says:

    I sat on the 6 train in 2007 after it passed City Hall, and an MTA employee saw me. She was pretty pissed, but seemed to have thought that I was a stupid tourist that got confused.

  7. Matthias says:

    Is this still the policy? The tour guide at the transit museum advised seeing the station this way, but the announcements say both that “this is the last stop” and “the next stop will be Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall on the uptown platform”, and today the conductor said “no passengers”. I stayed on anyway, but was so worried about getting a ticket or something that I looked out the wrong side of the train and missed the whole thing. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get up the courage to try it again.


  1. […] we can, as NY1 finally reported two weeks after I did, view the old City Hall stop from the 6 as it turns on that steep curve, but the Myrtle Ave. stop […]

  2. […] 6 runs from Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall (and around the City Hall loop) local up Lexington Ave. and then through the Bronx to Pelham Bay Park. It’s the local […]

  3. […] Museum received permission to reopen the station to tours, and a few months ago, the MTA started allowing customers to ride past it on the 6 train. Every few months, Transit Museum members can take the tour of the Crown Jewel of the subway […]

  4. […] we can, as NY1 finally reported two weeks after I did, view the old City Hall stop from the 6 as it turns on that steep curve, but the Myrtle Ave. stop […]

  5. […] But the station is still there, and to a degree, is still used.  The last stop on the downtown 6 is Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall, and the first stop uptown is in the same place.  But the trains need to turn around — and they do so by going through the old City Hall stop.  Which means if you stay on the train, you’ll go through this station.   Which, apparently, is perfectly allowed. […]

  6. […] their old stories on dead subway stations. Even though Transit has been allowing customers to ride the City Hall loop on the 6 train since early 2007, Huffington Post, Jalopnik, Fast Company and Yahoo! News decided to […]

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