Spying the hidden gem of the East Side IRTBy
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.