There's an unused subway station underneath New York's City Hall. Here's what it's like to visit.
Graham Rapier / Business Insider
- New York has the oldest and most expansive subway system in North America.
- But the first ever underground station to open has long been shuttered since World War II.
- Today, the only way to get to the abandoned masterpiece is by special tour.
When New York City's subway first opened in 1904, it was a true modern marvel. Its very first station, almost directly beneath City Hall, was a sight to see. Sun flooded the platform from skylights in the ground above, and gilded chandeliers filled the shadows with electric light.
On the first day of service, some 15,000 New Yorkers would pay the nickel fare to ride the first subway to open outside of Europe.
But things wouldn't remain so glorious for this station. Once train cars became longer, the gaps between doors and platforms were deemed too wide to be safe. What's more, many passengers opted to walk from the larger Brooklyn Bridge station nearby, which had express service that the City Hall loop did not.
Today, there's no service provided to the station - trains made their final stop on December 31, 1945 - but you can catch a glimpse by riding a downtown 6 local train past its terminal stop, which today is known as Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall. Keep your eyes peeled as you go through the loop and a few minutes later you'll end up on the uptown platform of the same station.
If a mere glance isn't enough, the New York Transit Museum offers tours to members, and they sell out in just minutes. That's how Business Insider got the chance to visit. Here's what it's like: