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City Hall station (BMT Broadway Line)

 City Hall
 "R" train"W" train
MTA NYC logo.svg New York City Subway station (rapid transit)
City Hall - Broadway Line Platform.jpg
The renovated platform; the wall on the right is for maintenance closets
Station statistics
AddressMurray Street & Broadway
New York, NY 10007
LocaleCivic Center, Tribeca
Coordinates40°42′48″N 74°00′25″W / 40.71324°N 74.007082°W / 40.71324; -74.007082
DivisionB (BMT)
Line      BMT Broadway Line
Services      N late nights (late nights)
      R all except late nights (all except late nights)
      W weekdays only (weekdays only)
Transit connectionsBus transport NYCT Bus: M9, M22, M55, M103, X27, X28
Levels2 (lower level not for passenger service)
Platforms2 island platforms (1 on upper level, 1 on lower level)
Tracks5 (2 on upper level, 3 on lower level)
Other information
OpenedJanuary 5, 1918; 101 years ago (1918-01-05)[1]
Station code020[2]
Wireless serviceWi-Fi and cellular service is provided at this station[3]
Passengers (2018)1,920,070[4]Decrease 15%
Rank244 out of 424
Station succession
Next northCanal Street: N late nightsR all except late nightsW weekdays only
Next southCortlandt Street: N late nightsR all except late nightsW weekdays only

City Hall is a local station on the BMT Broadway Line of the New York City Subway in Tribeca and Civic Center, Manhattan. It is served by the R train at all times except late nights, when the N train takes over service. The W train also serves this station on weekdays.

Station layout

G Street Level Exit / Entrance
Track B2
"R" train toward Forest Hills–71st Avenue (Canal Street)
"W" train weekdays ("N" train late nights) toward Ditmars Boulevard (Canal Street)
Island platform, doors will open on the left
Fare control, station agent, exits/entrances, stairways to lower level
Island platform, doors will open on the left
Track B1
"R" train toward Bay Ridge–95th Street (Cortlandt Street)
"N" train toward 86th Street–Gravesend late nights (Cortlandt Street)
"W" train toward Whitehall Street–South Ferry weekdays (Cortlandt Street)
B2 Mezzanine Storage area
Track B4 No regular service (used for work trains)
Uncompleted island platform, not in service
Track BM No regular service (revenue service layups)
Island platform, not in service
Track B3 No regular service (revenue service layups)
Track layout
Superimposed track section
(Left tracks above right ones)
Lower level tracks (powered)
Lower level tracks (unpowered)
Upper level tracks

Upper level

There are two tracks and a very wide island platform. The northbound track is located under City Hall Park, while the southbound track is under the east side of Broadway.

There is an active tower at the north end, with a window that lets any waiting passengers observe Transit Authority goings-on. The platform tapers off toward the southern end, where the northbound and southbound portions join. The station's configuration, and the wide-open staircases to the sky above, is responsible for another distinguishing feature: the number of birds that fly into and around the station.

This station was overhauled in the late 1970s, changing the station's structure and overall appearance. It replaced the original wall tiles, old signs, and incandescent lighting with more modern wall tiles, signs and fluorescent lights, as well as fixing staircases and platform edges.

Before the new City Hall master tower was built, there was a provision at the north end of the upper level for a diamond crossover (which has existed since the construction of this station, when the upper level platform was to be a terminal) which is now occupied by a relay room. At the south end of the station, the uptown track curves away from the wall; this dates from the original construction when the upper level was converted from a terminal, with presumably a straight line, to a through station with a single two-track tunnel.[5]

Immediately south of this station, the line utilizes a sharp reverse curve, first turning west under Vesey Street, then turning south under Church Street toward Cortlandt Street.[6]


The fare control area is located in the center of the platform and fenced off from the rest of the platform area, has exits on either end. At the north end, two exits lead to the east side of Broadway at Warren Street, and at the south end, one exit leads to the east side of Broadway at Murray Street. Passengers enter from the sidewalk adjacent to City Hall Park directly onto the wide island platform on the upper level.[7]

An exit at the south end of the platform led to the Woolworth Building, but this was closed in 1982 due to concerns over crime.[8]

Lower level

The City Hall station is a bi-level station, with an unused two-island platform, three-track lower level reachable from a single staircase from about the center of the in-use upper platform. The staircase leads to the western platform; the eastern platform was never finished and does not have a usable stairway. The middle track in the lower level station was to be used for short turns from either direction depending on the service pattern, with a layout much like that at Whitehall Street–South Ferry station further south.

It was initially intended that the local trains were to terminate on the upper level, while the express trains using the lower level would continue on through lower Manhattan and then through the Montague Street Tunnel. However, plans were changed before construction ended. As a result, the lower level of the station is unused (except for non-rush hour storage of trains), as are the stub-end center express tracks at Canal Street on its upper level (the connections to which were instead "temporarily" rerouted to the Manhattan Bridge for service across that bridge). Another effect of this change is that the southern end of the upper level station slopes downward. This is a result of platform lengthening and rerouting the upper level downward toward the south, rather than letting the lower level stay at the same elevation and continue south through lower Manhattan. The lower level floor continues south of the station until it disappears under the increasingly low ceiling under the ramps carrying the upper level downgrade.[9] The lower level was never used for passenger service or even finished with tiles and signage. Only the western platform was fully completed; the shorter eastern platform was never finished.

The lower level is only long enough to store 480-foot-long (150 m) 8-car trains, with cars of 60 feet (18 m) lengths, like the platforms in the BMT Eastern Division. Only two of the three tracks are usable: the westernmost and the center tracks, which are used to store trains. The easternmost track on the lower level is unusable as it has no third rail; it was removed at an unknown date.[10]

Lower Manhattan transit
Brooklyn Bridge–City Hall  4  5  (  6 )
 1  2  3  Chambers Street
Chambers Street  J  Z 
 A  C  (  E ) Chambers Street–WTC
City Hall  R  W 
 2  3  Park Place
Cortlandt Street  R  W 
Fulton Street  2  3  4  5  A  C  J  Z 
Rector Street  R  W 
 4  5  Wall Street
Wall Street  2  3 
 4  5  Bowling Green
Broad Street (  J  Z )

In popular culture

In Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro's novel The Strain, it is by trekking through the disused City Hall station's lower levels that Dr. Goodweather, Setrakian and Fet find their way towards the Master's lair.[11] Though not mentioned by name, the station also appears in episode 11 of the TV series' first season.



  1. ^ The New York Times, Open New Subway to Times Square, January 6, 1918
  2. ^ "Station Developers' Information". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  3. ^ "NYC Subway Wireless – Active Stations". Transit Wireless Wifi. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  4. ^ "Facts and Figures: Annual Subway Ridership 2013–2018". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. July 18, 2019. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  5. ^ []
  6. ^ Dougherty, Peter (2018). Tracks of the New York City Subway 2018 (16th ed.). Dougherty. OCLC 1056711733.
  7. ^ "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Lower Manhattan" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2015. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  8. ^ Buder, Leonard (June 26, 1983). "Coping with Crime in Office Buildings". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  9. ^ []
  10. ^ []
  11. ^ Chuck Hogan & Guillermo del Toro, The Strain. ISBN 006-1-5582-3-0. 2009, pp. 360—385

Further reading

External links