City Hall IRT

With a flurry of movement and shimmer we dropped from the platform and were absorbed into the murky dimness of the tunnel. Unlike in Paris those departing the land of the commuter for that of the living should be adequately prepared in NYC so over the rails, around the rubbish and through the pillars we trudged with a demeanour suiting our clothes but not our purpose. Dressed as those revered we feared less the usual curtain twitchers but why take chances in a city where suspicion always rides shotgun? Credibility stretches only so far, one accented word enough to crash the facade. Trains rolled past, their white eyes casting thick shifting shafts of light through the pillars around us. We kept moving.

We snaked further through the tunnels, deeply inhaling that thick pungent subway atmosphere and finally reaching a junction where the regular Lexington Avenue track splits into the a looptrack which shoots the trains back northbound. This oneway, zero clearance loop track held our prize for the evening - a long abandoned subway station built as the showpiece station of a new system. As a train veered into the loop we bounded after it, hurtling along the tunnel, leaping the rails, hugging the wall and listening for any sound to warn us of following trains. After what felt an eternity the outside of the corner opened up into a long wide platform curving sharply around out of sight. Great yellow lights reflected off the polished tiles which arched overhead. Halfway down the platform stood an arched doorway framing a set of stairs leading upwards, below the bold green letters CITY HALL.

City-Hall
City Hall station New York City, viewed from the s/w end. This was the original southern terminus opened in 1904 and bui...


"City Hall, also known as City Hall Loop, was the original southern terminal of the first line of the New York City Subway. (...) This station is unusually elegant in architectural style, and is unique among the original IRT stations, employing Romanesque Revival architecture. The platform and mezzanine feature Guastavino tile, skylights, colored glass tilework and brass chandeliers." - wikipedia

Welcome
City Hall station New York City - the original southern terminus opened in 1904 and built as a showpiece of a new system...


The rumbling of a train behind chased us onto the platform and up the stairs into a grand arched room covered in more ornate tilework. We unloaded our gear from the black duffel bags and snapped a few photos of the platform, hiding from the trains rattling through the platform at irregular intervals. City Hall station operated from 1904 until 1945, when it was closed due to the introduction of longer subway cars with center doors. Draw a simple curve then a straight line between any two points on the perimeter and you'll see that the longer the line, the further the central point on the line is from the curve. With the longer subway cars the center doors were too far from the platforms and barely 600 passengers per day the station was closed. The station has never reopened since but still carries the number 6, sees the occasional legitimate visit from the Transit Musuem and of course hosts the nocturnal forays of those willing to cast those dice and commit themselves to the rollingstock steeple chase.

The-C
City Hall station New York City - the original southern terminus opened in 1904 and built as a showpiece of a new system...


Reaching the station is quite the rush but returning from it is predictably no victory lap. As the tail of a train passed out the end of the station we leapt from the platform and charged counterflow into zero clearance. A yelp and crash from behind saw Eric go down clutching his ankle then rising and hobbling after as quickly as possible. Adrenaline and the thought of a head on train altercation pushed him on and with seconds to spare we swerved out of the loop track onto the Lexington Avenue line as an oncoming train swerved in. With no way to know for sure if we'd been spotted from the driver we pushed on as much as Eric's ankle could handle and climbed finally onto the platform from which we departed. Across the rails a work team prepared their own excursion into the system and we nodded in recognition and hustled on without stopping.

City-Hall
City Hall station New York City - the original southern terminus opened in 1904 and built as a showpiece of a new system...


The shout of "taxi!" had barely echoed off the other side of the street before we were rushed into traffic and deposited outside the bar-of-bad-ideas-spwaned, The Patriot. Drinks flowed like the Johnny Cash from the jukebox and we hoisted many to a job well done and to put Eric's ballooning ankle out of his mind. After the uproar surrounding our Paris depature Snappel and I had considered taking it easy in NYC, during september no less, but decisions such as these seemed so far away and in the city that never sleeps the night had just begun. As the following nights would show the Patriot was not done with us.

photo by snappel

About the author

Found frigid and dying in the snow by a passing missionary at the abandoned Soviet airbase in Choir, Mongolia, little dsankt never had a chance. The Dreams Foundation granted his wish to one day travel the world, thinking he'd only last a month or so. To everyone's amazement he's still going strong. When asked for comment the foundation's treasurer would only say, "The little mongrel cunt just won't fucking die, it's costing us a fortune!"

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Bryan   3 years ago
There's a serious lack of Ghostbusters II references in this post
dsankt   3 years ago
Better?
snaps   3 years ago
The best of times.
dsankt   3 years ago
The best photo of the whole endeavor is the other one from the Patriot you took, of the barmaid!
snaps   3 years ago
Ah, the one in my private collection? Yes yes, agreed... definitely agreed...
sledgy   3 years ago
Did it contain boobs snaps??
yami   3 years ago
Great story! Well worth the risk.
b(s)low   3 years ago
Hope all is well in the terd-dum of NYC after this past weekend, bro. D_R_A_M_A with the free Willie shit that went on. Shots look awesome.
micky   3 years ago
Wow, that's magnificent! The story is great and the pics are awesome.
tragedy crossing   3 years ago
sweet pics! I have no idea what you're writing about though
albufeira beach   3 years ago
I am heading downstate Tuesday and I know the system well, but I do not know if it is legal to ride through City Hall Station.Thanks for sharing so nice information..
Agnes   2 years ago
I have no idea what you're writing about though
Sierra111   2 years ago
The story is great and the pics are awesome.
building and pest inspection   1 year ago
Really I like this post, Do people go all out? I'm planning a city hall/county clerks office wedding, and I don't know what to wear, who to tell, or basically anything. So please share stories and advice I can use it all. Thanks for sharing the useful information..
Martin   1 year ago
Some amazing shots again. Worth the risks if you want some feedback and hope it inspires you to keep adding new projects.
Keith   1 year ago
Pics are awesome dude! What kind of exposures were you using, love the whole impression it leaves.
Packers and Movers in Kolkata   8 months ago
I am upbeat to see this post. It is truly superb and of service for me. From numerous days i am hunting down this sort of article. This is a great post and is magnificent.
Packers and Movers in Kolkata   8 months ago
I am upbeat to see this post. It is truly superb and of service for me. From numerous days i am hunting down this sort of article. This is a great post and is magnificent.
Video Editing in Photoshop CC and CS6   1 week ago
Great story! Well worth the risk.