Deep Under New York
The subway system of New York, is one of the busiest, oldest and most complex in the world. It is also a rail system, with various abandoned train stations hidden just out of sight, or very close to the busy hive of other train stations. There are also many train platforms which sit idle, unused or in some cases half-finished and hidden from view. One of these is the E-train station at 42nd Street, Manhattan, which lies below the bustling main station. The lower level, abandoned platform, was built at the same time as the upper platform, in the late 1920s-30s. However, the lower platform was not used until the 1950s and only then sporadically. A recent rail expansion has cut through this platform, and only parts of it survive. Fans of the film Ghost, staring Patrick Swayze, may know that this spooky and desolate train platform featured in that film.
The disused, station below City Hall Park, in New York, is probably the most beautiful of these abandoned train stations, with its soaring, tiled, curved ceilings, exquisite coloured glass sky lights and glittering chandeliers. The opening of the station in 1904, was marked by ceremony and grandeur, befitting such a showpiece of architecture. The elegant station however, was never a really important or busy station and it closed down in 1945, becoming a ghost station. Recently tours have begun to journey through the stations, lonely curved arches, allowing passengers to once again view this opulent architectural beauty of the past.
18th Street Station
The 18th Street Station of the New York subway, is another forsaken station, with the power to fascinate. Opened in 1904, it featured glass ceilings to let in natural light and tiles with ornamental designs. This station, although largely destroyed by graffiti, can still be glimpsed if you look very carefully, by trains that head South from 23rd Street or North from Union Square. The station closed in 1948 however and there is no real evidence from the street level, that it ever existed. (recent photos)
Such abandoned stations have come to be called 'ghost stations', which is an English translation of the German word Geisterbahnhöfe, used to described train stations, which became part of closed networks with the building of the Berlin Wall. Today the term 'ghost station' is used to describe any abandoned train station.
Hoyt–Schermerhorn Street station, in Downtown Brooklyn, is a ghost station which opened in 1936 and closed in 1946. Throughout the station there are numerous, blocked staircases, exits and a sealed passageway to Livingston Street. This abandoned station has been used in many films such as: Coming to America staring Eddie Murphy and Crocodile Dundee II, written by and starring paul Hogan. Michael Jackson, also filmed his video for "Bad" on the mezzanine level of the station.
Abandoned train stations, capture the imagination and excite the mind. Somehow the idea that a structure is built, perhaps used and then abandoned, to waste away the years and fall into decay, is intriguing. There is also something particularly haunting about these stations being cast aside, deserted, to become derelict as the years wear way.