Streams

Inside the City's Ghost Subway System

Lines and Stations That Time Forgot

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

WNYC

Note: We're currently working to make the map viewable on more browsers and hope to have that done soon. Our apologies for any inconvenience, and thank you.

The New York City subway system has 842 miles of track, making it the largest in North America. And there's even more to it than riders see: dozens of tunnels and platforms that were either abandoned or were built but never used. They form a kind of ghost system that reveals how the city's transit ambitions have been both realized and thwarted.

Historian Joe Cunningham knows as much as anyone about the subway and how it's evolved since it opened in 1904. He stood before a map of it on a wall in Penn Station and considered its extent. The system is vast, reaching like an octopus from Manhattan to almost every neighborhood outside Staten Island. Cunnningham said that's because its planners have always thought big.

"Oh yeah, it was a bold undertaking and little by little it just grew over a period of about 45 years," he said. He also pointed out the gaps in service: southeast Brooklyn, central and eastern Queens, straight up the middle of the Bronx.

Almost all of those neighborhoods were set to get their own subways. Most of those lines died on the drafting table, but some were begun and then abandoned when the city ran out of money or pursued other priorities.  
 
"After World War II, prices had gone up substantially and it became obvious that it was not going to be possible to build all of the lines they would've like to have built," he explained.

Urban Explorers Head Underground

You can see their beginnings, if you go underground. That's where urban explorers like Moses Gates (left) likes to go. (Gates is working on a book, which is to be published by an imprint of Penguin Books and has the working title, "The Other Side of the Sign: About Urban Exploration Around the World.") He took me down to a tunnel under Nevins Street in Brooklyn, where a line was begun that would've run from Downtown Brooklyn in two directions: east into Bedford-Stuvesant and west under Flatbush Avenue in Fort Greene and then over the Manhattan Bridge to Canal Street.

It sits beneath tracks for the 4 and 5 trains run, which rumbled overhead as we stood on a fully tiled platform never opened to the public. To get there, we hopped down on some tracks that were closed for repairs and made our way to a tunnel begun for the abandoned line. Shadowed and cavernous, it was swampy in places and layered with grit in others. All of it sits beneath the city, unused.

Back above ground, Gates said the system is honeycombed with spots like this: stations, platforms and tunnels prepared for an expansive future that never came to be.

"There's these cool little remnants of foresight that didn't pan out," he said.

For example, a Brooklyn-bound branch of the F train was supposed to keep going under Houston Street, beneath the East River and across Central Brooklyn before turning down to Flatlands near Jamaica Bay. That area still doesn't have a subway.

A large station for that never-built line was constructed under South Williamsburg. Two summers ago, graffiti artists from around the world snuck in and covered its concrete walls with giant works of art.

"We built the subway into farmland on the assumption that people would live there and use them to get to work," Gates said, including tunnels and stations readied to accommodate future lines. "We built a humongous shell station on the G line, or right off the G line, because there was gonna to be two other lines and two new tunnels under the East River that were going to converge there."

One of them would've been that F train branch, another would've been an extension of the Eight Avenue line (A/C) that cut across Lower Manhattan and into Brooklyn.

"This goes on in the '20s and '30s," Gates said. "Then with the Depression in the '30s, the city runs out of money and none of this gets built."

As Gates described it, these unbuilt lines make up an impressive second system that sits invisibly on the actual subway map: lines that would've directly connected Forest Hills to JFK Airport, South Brooklyn to Staten Island and the Second Avenue Subway to Throgs Neck in the Bronx.

"Ever since, you've had all these cool nooks and crannies all around the subway system that were kind of foresight that never panned out," he said.

A Look at One Forgotten Station

The MTA doesn't want people exploring the abandoned or lost station stops. But for those that want a first hand glimpse, there is one option. MTA worker Dan Brucker gives tours of Grand Central Terminal that feature a visit to a secret station far below ground.
 
"That secret train station out there was built for one customer only," he boomed to a tour group late last year under the vaulted constellation of the terminal's main hall. "It was built for Franklin Delano Roosevelt."

He said Roosevelt's custom-built train would pull in and open its doors. A limousine with the president in it would be driven from inside the train, down a ramp and into an elevator next to the platform.

"He and his limousine and his staff would be lifted up and then backed out into the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria," he said, where the president would give a speech.

FDR's train car still sits on a stub of track beneath Grand Central, a peculiar piece of the city's lost transit system — like stations once opened and now closed.

Glimpses While Riding the Line

Take the 1, 2 or 3 train and you can see an abandoned station at West 91st Street. In the 1950s, the city increased the capacity of the system by lengthening the average train from eight to ten cars and expanding station platforms. More riders could move through a commute. But to increase the speed of the trains, more space was needed between stations along the old routes. The city shut down 16 stops.

The best known one in Brooklyn is at Myrtle Avenue on the Q line, which has been turned into a work of art called masstransitscope. In Manhattan, there are abandoned stations at Worth Street, East 18th Street and beneath City Hall.

Some of those lost stops hide in plain sight — graffiti-covered indentations lit by a few bare bulbs and glimpsed from a moving train. All you need is to know where to look.

Courtesy of Steve Duncan
Unused tunnel under Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.
Courtesy of Shane Perez

City Hall station. An elegant station on a tight curve that served as the original southern terminus of the 4,5,6 line – closed in 1945 after trains were lengthened and  the nearby Brooklyn Bridge Station was expanded. http://bit.ly/qHufe

Courtesy of Steve Duncan
Tunnel under Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.
Courtesy of Steve Duncan
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's custom-built train car, which sits on a secret track beneath Grand Central Terminal.
Courtesy of Steve Duncan
Spur beneath Grand Central Terminal used by FDR's special train car.
Courtesy of Shane Perez
Unused part of the Second Avenue Subway.
Courtesy of Shane Perez
Abandoned subway at E 18th Street in Manhattan.
Courtesy of Steve Duncan

Unused tunnel under Nevins Street Station in Brooklyn.

Courtesy of Steve Duncan

Tunnel under Bergen Street in Brooklyn.

Tags:

More in:

Comments [93]

Gary Lloyd from ATL

And then there's story of how chess great Bobby Fischer would get lost whenever he took the subway. It got so bad he had to have someone with him to take him where he wanted to go. Although raised in the City he just couldn't get his brilliant mind around the system.

Apr. 10 2014 06:03 PM
tex bennett

South Ferry IRT station. The Sandy stricken new station is redicul. Itdoes not serve Manhattans east side. Eiher enlArge the old South Ferry station or build an above ground station with accessto Rutgers atreet station and Bowling Green station The new station is a waste waste.

Sep. 05 2013 03:38 PM
Aksel from Hamilton Heights,Manhattan,New York,N.Y

I really like the map! It interactive,and not only that,it shows the New York Subway at different note!

BTW, please put the abandoned PATH stations aswell as the Manhattan-Hudson Railroad disused link towards Astor Place (connecting to the (6) train.)

Thanks!

Jul. 24 2013 08:50 AM
DJ from Staten Island.

The A was originally suppossed to contnue as subway past Euclid to 221st Street. In fact, along a couple of stations before Euclid, the sign that says TO RICHMOND HILL has uncovered itself. They found it cheaper to hook the line up to what was left of the BMT Liberty Avenue El. The 2 Avenue Subway was suppossed to run up to the Bronx. There were 2 plans for what would happen. A) It would have split into two branches, 1 up Boston Road, another via Lafayette Avenue running to Throgs Neck. B) the later plan, to take over the White Plains Road (2) and (5) above 3rd Avenue-149th Street. The Southern end was to connect to the Fulton Street line at Court Street where the Transit Museum currently is. NYC Subway.org will give you most of the info. Further links can be found there.

Lastly, a subway to Staten Island was actually started on. Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit had begun construction on the Staten Island tunnel that would have run from the 4th Avenue line at 59th Street to St. George and split into two branches. Construction got as far as 150 feet under The Narrows before being halted due to Mayor Hylan. He was a former BMT employee that was fired so he held a grudge. SI residents hold part of the blame too because they didn't want it either. But thanks to that grudge, he created the city-owned INDependent Subway which the original A-G lines came from and were the creators of this massive Second system. There are even rumors that a IND 3rd system was n the works.

Jul. 06 2013 11:24 AM
Jim Greenidge from S.E. Queens


Greetings:

I'd like to see for a transit buff/computer geek project a series of "motorman window" view virtual subway rides on lines abandoned or never were, using computer animation based on actual community and street photos and video of routes proposed. For example, the abandoned LIRR Rockaway line from the Main Line branch-off to the Rockaways has been photo'ed and videoed along its whole length by transit groups; isn't it possible by computer to re-create a visual of such a ride from the "front window" over clattering virtual tracks, watching real-life or former landmarks slide by? Ditto the Jamaica el, by using Jamaica photos and footage made along the route before the tear-down to augment a virtual clone of virtually identical footage from the Leffets A line. Imagine the "R" to Staten Island going over the Narrows Bridge via Williamsburg bridge stock footage to build on. For LIRR buffs, imagine recreating the Rockaway "Loop" service! Just a project seed I'd really like to see!

Jim G

Jun. 16 2013 09:44 AM
Joe

I think this is urban legend...If you look at the train car (supposedly the train car for FDR's presidential automobile) there is no way any car could get inside.

Especially if it was FDR's limo-Pierce Arrow-which had a 12 foot wheelbase. The pictures of the train car show that the narrow ends can' open.

Apr. 23 2013 11:43 AM
Ryan from New York

@Luis What FDR station?

Apr. 08 2013 03:52 PM
someone from New York

You're forgetting the Flatlands Ave extension of the New Lots line planned in 1970.

Feb. 16 2013 09:37 AM
Luis from Queens

How can I get on one of those tours of the FDR station?

Oct. 26 2012 02:20 PM
George from Astoria

The G used to connect to Steinway Street ( and go further out into Queens.
This needs to be reestablished.

We need to connect Astoria to all the cool waterfront Brooklyn-Queens neighborhoods to the G line.
I'm from Astoria and it would be so much easier to go to Brooklyn with the G from Steinway Street.

RECONNECT the G Train to Astoria!!!

Jul. 18 2012 10:32 PM
Pete from TX

@John Potter: I've learned to love the transit connection to LGA, but it's sure not all subway. Taking the 7 out of GCT and hooking up with the Q33 for the last bit isn't as bad for me as sitting in a crowded van. Beats the heck out of the M60 too...

Jul. 08 2012 09:54 PM
Pete

The #8 in the Bronx used to be the old "3rd Av El". I used to like to ride it as a kid because the train cars were so old. Vaguely remember woven seats and ceiling fans. It didn't connect with anything - you had to pay a fare just for it.

Jul. 08 2012 09:48 PM
nike air yeezy 2 for sale

In recent years, http://www.nikeairyeezy2forsale.com/ customers become much crazier about some unique and attractive shoes. shoes, with their elaborate designs, http://www.nikeairyeezy2forsale.com/ have been considered as one of the most popular shoes among customers, http://www.jordan5s.net/ especially young customers. With the aim to bringing customers some big surprises, http://www.airmax90sale2012.com/ the Nike Sportswear http://www.airyeezy2onlines.com/ Air Yeezy, created by and Kanye West, has been presented before customers.

Jun. 05 2012 08:30 PM
jk120bc from Long Island

I have heard of extending the 7 east ward.
The E/F was suposed to continue on one of the LIRR right of ways to South East Queens.

May. 04 2012 10:59 AM
someone from Queens

Also, don't they have unused platforms at the Gun Hill Road station on the 2/5 lines in the Bronx?

Note: the 76th Street F line in Manhattan will never be considered. It's redundant and will waste a lot of money just like they did on the E line extension in Queens in 1988.

Feb. 11 2012 10:30 AM
someone from Queens

@John Potter:
The mafia are idiots.

@Anarcissie:
The city did not have issues over politics: NYC was really depleted of money, so you'll see all those road stubs on NYC highways. They should do an article on this site about that.

@Sainted_Mother:
The NYC MTA use all those abandoned subway stations as staging areas for construction projects, special events, and stuff like that. They would have done the Second Subway long ago in the MTA didn;t run out of money before they finished tunneling on the Upper East Side.

@Fred: The Euclid Avenue stub had no use anyway, for they extended the A line over the old Liberty Avenue el.

@natalie: Staten Island doesn't want subway; it already has its own railway.

Everybody else: please don;t judge me.

Feb. 10 2012 10:51 PM
somebody from middle of Queens

There is a track stub on the G line in Brooklyn north of Bedford-Willoughby Avenues. It was supposed to go to the J line but was canceled at some point.

Also, map works for me and I'm running WINDOWS XP! So I don't know what you're talking about. (I am running Google Chrome.)

Feb. 10 2012 10:31 PM
somebody from NYC (namely, Queens)

There used to be plans for a Second Subway in the 1930s. That is why before the 1990s, between the F line Briarwood-Van Wyck and the Sutphin Boulevard stations, there used to be a stub tunne leading to nowhere. Now the E line uses this space. Also, there used to be plans to extend the R train from Brooklyn further down to Staten Island. Finally, the 4 line east of Utica Avenue in Brooklyn was supposed to go somewhere, as was the 3 line east of New Lots Avenue.

BTW... The extension from Norwood-205 Street in the Bronx was never planned! The map is factually incorrect.

Feb. 10 2012 10:22 PM
Khalik Freeman from Brooklyn, NY

Very interesting stuff, I never knew that so many planned extensions were going to happen. Especially the Nostrand ave 2&5 lines hints the(100 foot tunnel). The MTA should consider moving the transit musuem somewhere else in Brooklyn and occupy that space so that they can bring the 2nd ave T line into Brooklyn and use the pre-existing express tracks which I believe runs all the way to Church Ave. If so that would be excellent because the T&G lines can both terminate at Church ave or have it run out to Coney Island with the F line, this way it can give people of south Brooklyn a one way access towards 2nd ave and vice versa. I'm a subway buff so I have a lot of ideas for the MTA.

Feb. 08 2012 11:25 PM
Dart Westphal

This is great.
Would it also be possible to put in lines that have been demolished such as the Third Avenue el (Bronx Brooklyn and Manhattan versions)? Such an inclusion would both display the magnitude of what has been lost and make clearer that lines like the 2nd Avenue subway were meant to replace old lines like the 3rd Avenue els.

Jan. 29 2012 02:25 PM
Carl

YOU GUYS EVER GOING TO FIX THIS MAP? I have this web browser called Internet Explorer by Microscoft Corporation. It's not well-known, but I'd like to use to view this map. Currently none of the map's features work on IE. Thanks.

Jan. 18 2012 05:09 PM
John Potter from Hopewell Junction, NY

I love in Dutchess Couny and occasionally take the train down for flights out of La Guardia. Aside from the Metro North fare, it is an additional $13.00, plus tip, each way, for one of the shuttles in front of Grand Central. Per this map, there is no, never was, and never will be subway connection to the airport. Ok, what's the deal? I've guessed that 1) the Mafia controls the cab companies and livery services and has blocked any such plans, 2) the Port Authority, whose job should be to move people around efficiently and with a low carbon footprint, is even more incompetent than I imagined when I moved here from CA, 3) New Yorkers just love to ride in buses and vans. The "Air Train" business to JFK is a start, but complicated. Same story? Corruption? Idiocy?

Jan. 15 2012 08:15 AM
Great Memory

Lee, your memory is great!!!!! I thought I was the only one who remembered the #8!!!!!!!! You are a TRUE New Yorker.

Jan. 11 2012 06:37 PM
Paul from Manhattan

Love what you have done. As Jason mentions- please add the N and several other trains to LGA that were proposed as part of the Airtrain to JFK. It seems like a good time to dust off those plans and extend the JFK train to Aqueduct and from Jamaica to LGA (via the Grand Central Pkwy)and Manhattan through the new tunnel to Grand Central.

Jan. 11 2012 05:26 PM
Karen Longo from Brooklyn

The tunnel under Atlantic Ave pictured above predates the subway and was built hoping to be the terminus for the LIRR - connecting Manhattan's Grand Central railroad with Long Island - train cars came over by ferry and were put back on tracks which were dangerous. So they built the underground tunnel for safety - however the entire plan did not work the terminus for the LIRR was built where it is. The business improvement district along Atlantic Ave lost its shirt. There was a gun battle I believe involving business owners and the Leffert family - the tunnel was sealed up the train tracks dismantled - the tunnel was uncovered in WWI something about looking for hidden munitions and then rediscovered by Bob Diamond more recently - he gives tours and tells the entire story

Jan. 11 2012 09:31 AM
Kevin Li

The map isn't exactly comprehensive. It's missing a lot of other extensions that were proposed like the Flushing line extension into College Point and Bayside. The line connecting Middle Village and Jackson Heights was also part of a larger network of lines stemming from South 4 Street. If built, one could assume part of the Jamaica line would be torn down.

Jan. 09 2012 07:34 AM
David Jacobson from Hartsdale NY

Tantalizing Please fix the map so we can read the historical notes

Jan. 08 2012 06:04 PM
David Jacson from West

Tantalizing. Please fix the map so we can read the comments.

The F train tracks under Hillside Ave run to 188 st. beyond the terminus at 179 st.

Jan. 08 2012 06:00 PM
Dave Ropiak from New York City / Suffolk

how about mentioning the tracks leading to the base of the GW. they arent listed on his map. what is now known as the 174th street yard.

the upper level of the GW bridge was being completed as the A train was built thru washington heights and inwood in 1931..."roughed in" (planned) was a 4 track spur that breaks off from the trunk line and was designed to approach the lower level of the GW. money ran out with the depression, NJ and NY couldn't agree, and thus the lower level of the GW became a road bed in 1950 instead of a 4 track train....the four tracks are now used as a layup storage area.

Jan. 08 2012 08:48 AM
Choo Choo Charlie

Very cool map. My only question is why does it say "would've" in all the captions? Weird use of language.

Also, would be cool to add any newly proposed projects, such as extending the 7 line to New Jersey.

Jan. 07 2012 10:53 AM
Robert Brown from Parkchester, The Bronx

This is so amazing if only the USA wasn't in the financial meltdown that we're in right now we would have a superior subway network for all New Yorkers this will never be a reality unfortunately the only thing that killed these projects were the Great Depression and the 2nd World War.

Jan. 06 2012 05:33 PM
barent

does anyone know how much federal money[percentage], has been used over the years, to build the nyc subway system; and,how that ratio may have changed over the years? i can't help but believe that the incomplete system that we have,is in many ways not just another victim of the huge money glut monster,we know as the military industrial complex. imagine what the cash from a years worth of global military excursions,could do for nyc mass transit? i'd rather not think about it too much,it blows me up.

Jan. 05 2012 11:53 PM
Paul

>>Likewise, many people wanted to provide for tracks over the Verazzano Bridge, but Moses, combined with racist NIMBY politics on Staten Island, prevented that from happening. As Blue Mirror says, it was never an issue of money; it was an issue of politics and priorities.<<

The George Washington Bridge was also constructed with capacity and weight bearing structures to accommodate subway or conventional trains. That's why it was so easy to add the lower deck in the 1960s. In the 1920s and 1930s, Public Service ran a network of street cars in Bergen County, several of which passed by / over the bridge approaches.

Jan. 05 2012 08:42 PM
Ian Lyn from Brooklyn

http://www.oldnyc.com did EXTENSIVE research on not only abandoned Subways, but they took it a step further to explain and walk old LIRR tracks that are no longer in use. Thats a eye opener!

Jan. 05 2012 07:26 PM
Carl Hoetzl from Bayonne, NJ

Isn't there a lower level to the RR/EE station at City Hall? What was the lower level built for? There is a tunnel heading on the lower level.

Jan. 05 2012 06:13 PM
Sainted_Mother from New Yawk, New Yawk

Why don't you ask MTA-NYC Transit to host this site as part of its history or museum section ... and then back-link WNYC to it? They have enuf train buffs on this sort of thing to build an army (and a GIS system that can ID all this stuff easily).

Jan. 05 2012 05:09 PM
Andrea from Hermosa Beach, CA

Could you please post the map again when you get the kinks out of it? I would love to explore it more!

Jan. 05 2012 01:31 PM
francyne pelchar from Pelham Bay Park

I can see the map but when I follow the directions for reading the comments about each station nothing happens.

Jan. 05 2012 08:02 AM
Peter Capek from Ossining, NY

Would it be possible to add to the map the year in which each project was built, or was considered?

Jan. 04 2012 02:57 PM
Sarah from Bronx

I would love to see a line that directly connects the Bronx to Queens and then down into Brooklyn. It could originate at the 149-Grand Concourse station, skip across Randall's Island, make a few stops at La Guardia, and then turn south to meet up with the Met.Ave. terminus of the M line. Lots of opportunities to intersect with other lines, bring subway service to La Guardia, and directly connect some of the Outer Bouroughs. Only in my dreams...

Jan. 04 2012 01:19 PM
otto huber from s.i.

An S.I. to Brooklyn subway should have been built back in the 1920s. Impossibly expensive now. S.I. needs more express bus routes into Manhattan, and Jersey City where many of the finance jobs are relocating to.

Jan. 04 2012 11:23 AM
GSwanson from Staten Island, NY

We may not have a subway on Staten Island, but we do have the Staten Island Railroad, a city owned and operated mass transit system, part of the MTA, that runs trains from St George to Tottenville. It originally shared a terminal in Tottenville with the Perth Amboy Ferry.
At one time the system was larger running additional trains along an abandoned road bed on the North Shore that hooked up to long gone ferries in Port Richmond. There has been talk about resurrecting this line to hook up with the Bayonne Bridge and the light rail in Bayonne. Who knows? It is a good idea, but I don't think it will happen anytime soon.

Jan. 04 2012 11:03 AM
John Keefe / WNYC

Thanks for everyone's feedback. Our team is working right now to make the map viewable on more browsers. Our sincere apologies to those who haven't been able to see it. We hope you'll check back a little later today when we hope to have the map fixed for you.

All the best,

John Keefe
Senior Editor for Data News

Jan. 04 2012 10:19 AM
Lee

There used to be an "8" train in the Bronx. It was replaced with bus service.

If you remember, the 1/9 routes ran skip stop service. MTA did not use 8 because the old Bronx line.

Jan. 04 2012 10:15 AM

The line going to Staten Island should be considered, its a win win situation in my opinion.

Jan. 04 2012 09:23 AM
natalie

I think the one to Staten Island should be considered, it would create a big pay back to New York. Pleeeeease!

Jan. 04 2012 09:14 AM
realbrooklynboy

Great piece on the radio this AM. However, can we have a real Noo Yawker writing and reporting local news please? How could a subway line planned in the 20's have gone under the "Verrazano Narrows" when the bridge was just a dream? The body of water is the Narrows, not the Verrazano Narrows. And a line going through "East Sheepshead Bay?" While the Sheepshead moniker may be irresistable to hipsters, the neighborhood is called Marine Park.

Jan. 04 2012 08:35 AM
Roger van den Bergh from Manhattan, NY 10010

For long term planning and readability purposes, it illustrates a need for a conversion of the current geographic-based map to a brand new (non-Vignelli) diagrammatic one.

Jan. 04 2012 08:27 AM
Marjorie from Montclair

Even with newest browsers I only get solid blue for the map. Why not post a jpeg image beside the interactive one so that everyone can see it? Telling us to buy fancier machines is not the solution. Better would be to consider how to reach all segments of your audience as they are.

Jan. 04 2012 12:38 AM
js

I would love to see this map - but it doesn't want to be seen.

Jan. 03 2012 11:29 PM
LLQBTT from L train

Well hello there. On the iPad view, the abandoned 42 St lower level appears at 53 St! (where the B D & E cross).

Also, the shell of the Utica Ave line station where it crosses the A & C trains is built and abandoned.

Lower level of the 9th Ave stop on the D in Brooklyn is abandoned, formerly the terminal of the SS Culver Shuttle.

Jan. 03 2012 11:05 PM
LLQBTT from L Train

Well hello there. On the iPad view, the abandoned 42 St lower level appears at 53 St! (where the B D & E cross).

Also, the shell of the Utica Ave line station where it crosses the A & C trains is built and abandoned.

Lower level of the 9th Ave stop on the D in Brooklyn is abandoned, formerly the terminal of the SS Culver Shuttle.

Jan. 03 2012 11:02 PM
Emily from Brooklyn

I've tried to see the abandoned City Hall station by staying on the 6 train turn-around a few times now and each time all I saw was pitch-black. The station was not lit at all so I couldn't even tell what it was. Am I doing something wrong? Is there a certain time / place on the train one is supposed to be to see it?

Jan. 03 2012 10:10 PM
Brooklyn MP from Brooklyn, NY

@ Ms. Kim at WNYC. Please use formats for mapping available to all readers such as Google maps or just a regular .jpg.

Internet users are tired of constantly being told to get constant upgrades or updates by web designers eager to be the first on their block to utilize some fancy new application.

KISS, thank you!

Jan. 03 2012 09:25 PM
Garbanzo from New York

Big problem here is the cost of doing construction is 5-10 times more than anywhere else in the US due to union labor. Imagine anywhere else in the US spending $1 billion on a single subway station or $1 billion per mile of new subway track. It's outrageous mainly because the average sandhog makes north of $200K per year including benefits and overtime. Yet these guys do, more or less, what miners do for only 20-25% of those salaries. The other trades are as bad. If the MTA would be permitted to use non-union labor, half of these projects would be done already.

Jan. 03 2012 08:36 PM
Meg Kallman Feeley from Brooklyn

Great piece -- Brooklyn's development mirrors almost precisely the planned lines in Southeast Brooklyn -- I'd always heard that through the 60's and 70's, people living in Marine Park, Georgetown, etc, did not want subways for the 'crime' it might bring.

At a meeting at Kingsborough Community College on continuing the "Dreamland Pavilion" discussion on Brooklyn and Development held this past fall, I proposed what I think is the obvious next step for Brooklyn transportation: utilizing the existing freight rail from Bay Ridge to the Brooklyn Terminal Market, connect the R/D/N/F/Q and IRT 2/5 trains to one another along the Avenue H cut via a new light rail. Develop small commercial real estate at the transfer points to create revenue and street life (a la Newkirk Plaza). We have the ROW! Institutions in Brooklyn, like Kingsborough and Brooklyn College, need the infrastructure to grow and serve the City as a whole.

Jan. 03 2012 08:33 PM
Frank

Please fix access to the map

Jan. 03 2012 08:10 PM
W Hohauser

The map is stuck in a loading loop. Some bad code in there, sort of like how this city builds it's transit options. Most of the major subways were built in a low density city, therefore much cheaper to do. Look at the problems people are having with the 2nd Ave subway construction. Large scale projects require trade-offs, some temporary, some permanent. People just are not willing to deal with it.

Jan. 03 2012 07:35 PM
The real from Manhattan

Next time get some actual new yorkers to talk about this stuff, not a bunch of tourists who don't know the facts. Joe Brennan would make a far better interview than this bunch of johnny come lately hipsters.

Jan. 03 2012 07:34 PM

A fun piece and I love the idea of the interactive map.

However, it's just sloppy reporting and misleading to include references to the private spur under the Waldorf and to the 1844 Atlantic Avenue Tunnel when discussing planned but never completed parts of the subway transit system. Both were part of mainline railroads and neither was ever part of the IRT, BRT, BMT, or IND. By including them, you slip from educating your listeners to misleading and misinforming them.

Jan. 03 2012 06:55 PM

We are sorry that some of you have had trouble viewing the map. It does require a fairly updated browser. You might want to check to see if you have the latest version of your web browser, and if not, update it. That should solve the problem. Thank you!

Jan. 03 2012 06:25 PM
Maree from Paree from DUMBO

What map? Pretends to download but there's nothing there.

Jan. 03 2012 06:03 PM
Randyo

The map does not download properly. It appears momentarily and then disappears. I've tried it with several search engines and none of then seem to work.

Jan. 03 2012 05:56 PM
Sainted_Mother from New Yawk, New Yawk

Link to Staten Island grated against Robert Moses' nerves. Verrazano was purposefully built too steep for subways.

At current costs in excess of $1B/mile ... "3 or 4 miles" to Yankee Stadium is a bit much. It will be great when 2nd Ave subway is finally done, will give a break to crowding / use of 4/5/6.

Oh, and they'd get 2 more trains an hour thru the Lex Line _if_ people didn't hold doors / crowd on. Dwell time is all.

Jan. 03 2012 05:12 PM
John Isaksen from Hudson Valley

<Sigh>

It's annoying to see the oft-repeated "FDR's Private Train" myth perpetuated here on WNYC. The true story of the tracks under the Waldorf can be found here - on Joe Brennan's website:

http://www.columbia.edu/~brennan/abandoned/gct61.html

Jan. 03 2012 04:37 PM
Rob Gourd from New York, NY

Map has stopped working again!!

Jan. 03 2012 04:33 PM
Rob from NYC

Map isn't working again!!

Jan. 03 2012 04:30 PM
Seth

I am not able to get the map. Just black text of station names and lines against a blue screen. Is something wrong with the site?

Jan. 03 2012 04:08 PM
Fred from home

Then prove it, just saying it doesn't prove anything. then why is that signal block facing the wall ? this has been argued for years at the web site Subtalk and now Subchat,
everyone has a theory let's really find out one way or the other ..... solid proof.

Jan. 03 2012 02:48 PM
Henry Man from Lower East Side

Second System was planning to send the 7 along the PW LIRR ROW to Little Neck, extend the F to the city line and extend the Jamaica El. The Archer Subway was supposedly going to go further to Southeastern Queens.

Good work, just needs more research.

By the way, the lower level platform at 42nd Street is marked at Columbus Circle.

Jan. 03 2012 02:41 PM
Leo Ruiz

Map still not working!

Jan. 03 2012 02:11 PM

There is no station behind the wall at Euclid Ave and no station at 76th St. This is an absurd urban legend given credence by that control board, ordered at a time when it was still planned that the subway would continue under Pitkin Ave and into Jamaica.

Jan. 03 2012 01:39 PM
Mark F from Worth Street Station (abandoned)

Surprised you didn't talk to Joe Brennan about his "abandoned stations" page .... http://www.columbia.edu/~brennan/abandoned/ ... everything you ever wanted to know is there.

--Mark

Jan. 03 2012 01:26 PM
John Lane from NYC

I wonder why the MTA don't plan on bring the Second Av. "T" line up to 161 st. Yankee Stadium where it would Meet 3 other lines the C.D.& 4. It's just going to end at E125 st. with out meeting another line ? it would be another 2 or 3 Miles more to meet the other lines.

Jan. 03 2012 12:24 PM
Fred from home

Fascinating,Question: the Euclid Ave control board shows a 76th St subway station, is there or isn't there a station sitting behind a cinder block wall with a signal facing that wall ? rumor has it that this is an unfinished station and has the rail fans in arms about it being there or not. it would be nice to lay this rumor to rest once and for all to just get behind that wall.

Jan. 03 2012 12:22 PM
JOSH NY

The map answeres a lot of questions in my mind about extra tracks/ missing stations. Great article amd map!

Jan. 03 2012 12:20 PM
Tokumbo Shobowale from NYC

Great story. I love the concpet of the map but have been unable to make it work either on my desktop or ipad.

Please check for usability via various operating systems.

Thanks

Jan. 03 2012 12:18 PM
Paul

A question was asked about the "six tracks at 155th street"

I believe these tracks were part of an elaborate system that allowed express and local service to the Polo Grounds baseball field without disrupting normal traffic to and from the Bronx. The layout also permitted "staging" of trains without disrupting games at Yankee Stadium and Polo Grounds.

Mr Cunningham would know for sure.

Jan. 03 2012 12:06 PM
G

Map is not working on my computer. Mac OS 10.4.11 power pc.

Jan. 03 2012 11:48 AM
BDB from Manhattan

The far west side could have had light rail out of Penn Station and along the High Line. Instead it has a Rails to Trails project.

Jan. 03 2012 11:44 AM
ncg from Nassau County

map doesn't seem to work. My father in law was once head of the tunnel authority at the MTA. How do I reach Joe Cunningham or Moses Gates? i would like to schedule a lecture at my library.

Jan. 03 2012 11:43 AM
EJB from Manhattan

With the tunnel-boring machine, and some political willpower, perhaps the system can be extended beyond the "stubway". I dreamt that the "7" line was extended to New Jersey,as the Mayor proposed; then, it kept on going to Los Angeles, over the Mariana Trench, to Tokyo.
More realistically (but only a little more), how about an extension of the "R" or "7" train a couple of more miles to LaGuardia, and a Far West Side subway line?
Of course, considering the current political climate, we are more likely to get more funding for highways, resulting in increased fuel consumption, fracking, etc...

Jan. 03 2012 11:25 AM
Marvin Taylor

This is very cool. But, wasn't there also an early plan, in the mid-19th century, to have a train that connected the east and west sides along 110th Street?

Jan. 03 2012 11:13 AM
Rochelle Braunstein from Manhattan

When I hit the link to the MAP, a list of subways appears and then, in a flash, disappears. How can I correct this?

Jan. 03 2012 10:25 AM
michael bacon from Jersey city

What map? I see a sky of blue. Michael

Jan. 03 2012 10:14 AM
Leo Ruiz

Map Does NOT work

Jan. 03 2012 10:06 AM
Anarcissie from Queens

You can thank car-centric Robert Moses for a lot of the failure to extend the subways. For instance, when the Van Wyck Parkway was being built, he used his influence to prevent a train line that would have gone directly from LaGuardia to what is now JFK. Likewise, many people wanted to provide for tracks over the Verazzano Bridge, but Moses, combined with racist NIMBY politics on Staten Island, prevented that from happening. As Blue Mirror says, it was never an issue of money; it was an issue of politics and priorities.

Jan. 03 2012 10:04 AM
Jacob Mason

This is fascinating. However, you've left off a few important items. First, there were solid plans and funding in the late 1990s for an extension on the N line to LaGuardia airport. It was only due to intense NIMBY opposition that the plans were cancelled and millions of people are still forced to slog on the bus to the airport.

Also, there were way more plans for north and east queens than shown on the map:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d9/1929_IND_Second_System.jpg

Jan. 03 2012 09:50 AM
joestrike from Manhattan

The easiest of these ghost stations to visit is the City Hall station: just stay on the number '6' downtown Lexington Avenue local past its final stop at the Brooklyn Bridge station. The train loops through the closed-up (and brightly lit) station on its way to the uptown local track to begin its northbound trip. (Since it's a closed loop there's no risk of winding up in a train yard overnight.)

It's not quite a ghost station, but the size of the cavernous J' train station adjoining the 4-5-6 Brooklyn Bridge station gives one an idea of the traffic that must've passed through here long ago when trolleys from Brooklyn brought people over the Bridge where they transferred to the NYC subway system.

Jan. 03 2012 08:51 AM
Aloysious

They don't make a big enough spoon for me to eat this kind of stuff up.

Jan. 03 2012 08:09 AM
shemko

@clay
They're not as close as they look on the map.

Jan. 03 2012 07:37 AM
clay kaintock

I wonder why a direct link from lower Manhattan to Staten Island was never considered.

Jan. 03 2012 07:11 AM
BlueMirror

This map is one objective measure of what went wrong with New York City: it wasn't an issue of "money;" it was about priorities. Money went into highways instead of into subways and into transportation for industry.

Jan. 03 2012 02:44 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The Morning Brief

Enter your email address and we’ll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.

Sponsored

Latest Newscast

 

 

Support

WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public

Feeds

Supported by