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City Hall (BMT Broadway Line)

City Hall
New York City Subway rapid transit station
Station statistics
Address Murray Street & Broadway
New York, NY 10007
Borough Manhattan
Locale Civic Center
Division B (BMT)
Line       BMT Broadway Line
Services       N late nights (late nights)
      R all except late nights (all except late nights)
Structure Underground
Levels 2 (lower level not for passenger service)
Platforms 2 island platforms (1 on upper level, 1 on lower level)
Tracks 5 (2 on upper level, 3 on lower level)
Other information
Opened January 5, 1918 (1918-01-05)[1]
Passengers (2013) 1,560,414[2] Decrease 20.3%
Rank 289 out of 421
Station succession
Next north Canal Street: N late nights R all except late nights
Next south Cortlandt Street: N late nights R all except late nights

City Hall is a local station on the BMT Broadway Line of the New York City Subway. It is served by the R train at all times except late nights, when the N train takes over service. The fare control is located in the center of the very wide island platform, with exits on either end leading to Warren Street and Murray Street.


  • Station layout 1
    • Upper level 1.1
    • Lower level 1.2
  • Image gallery 2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4
  • External links 5

Station layout

G Street Level Exit / Entrance
Northbound toward Forest Hills – 71st Avenue (Canal Street)
toward Ditmars Boulevard late nights (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
Southbound toward Bay Ridge – 95th Street (Cortlandt Street)
toward Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue late nights (Cortlandt Street)
B2 Mezzanine Storage area
Track B3 No regular service (revenue service layups)
Island platform, not in service
Track BM No regular service (revenue service layups)
Uncompleted island platform, not in service
Track B4 No regular service (used for work trains)

The station's configuration is unique, in that passengers enter from the sidewalk adjacent to City Hall Park directly onto the wide island platform on the upper level.

Upper level

The northbound track is located under City Hall Park, while the southbound track is under the east side of Broadway. The fare control area is fenced off from the platform. There is also 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 dates back to construction of this station, when the upper level platform was to be a terminal) which is now occupied by a relay room. Strangely, at the south end of the station, the track curves away from the wall, on the uptown side. It may date from the original construction when the upper level was converted from a terminal with presumably a straight line to the end of the track here.[3]

Lower level

Staircase to the lower level

The City Hall station is a bi-level station, with an unused lower level reachable from a single staircase from about the center of the platform. 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 which was to have served the express trains is unused (except for non-rush hour storage of trains), as are the center express tracks at Canal Street on its upper level. 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 down to continue into 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. 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 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.

The lower level is only long enough to platform 480-foot-long (150 m) 8-car trains, with cars of 60 feet (18 m) lengths, like the platforms in the BMT Eastern Division. All three tracks are usable, but in the normal practice the "southbound" and the middle tracks are only used for storage. The "southbound" island platform on the lower level is the only one with a stairway to the upper level. The easternmost track on the lower level has no third rail. The third rail was removed, however, it is unknown when it was removed. [4]

Image gallery


  1. ^ New York Times, Open New Subway to Times Square, January 6, 1918
  2. ^ "Facts and Figures: Annual Subway Ridership". New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  3. ^
  4. ^

Further reading

  • Lee Stokey. Subway Ceramics : A History and Iconography. 1994. ISBN 978-0-9635486-1-0

External links

  •—BMT Broadway Subway: City Hall
  • Station Reporter — N Train
  • Station Reporter — R Train
  • Abandoned Stations — City Hall (BMT) lower level
  • Broadway and Murray Street entrance from Google Maps Street View
  • Broadway and Warren Street entrance from Google Maps Street View
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