Abandoned Stations by Joseph Brennan. Copyright 2001, 2002.

14 St platforms

14 St side platforms

Passenger service: possibly 1904 - possibly 1910.

Existing abandoned portions: 2 platforms (each behind a wall, on a track in service).

Touring: 4 5 6 trains to 14 St. Although the platforms are walled up, when the local track is clear, the platform edge is plainly visible. Be sure to go up to the mezzanine on the downtown side, to see the permanent exhibit of wall decoration from the closed platforms.

construction and operation

The first subway in New York had five express stations on its four track main line: Brooklyn Bridge, 14 St, Grand Central, 72 St, and 96 St. 14 St is one of the three with side platforms in addition to the island platforms between the express and local tracks (see the Brooklyn Bridge page for comment). The side platforms may have closed as early as 1910, since they were not lengthened to accommodate longer local trains, as they were at local stations.


14 St station is much distorted in shape as the line runs around the reverse curve from Fourth Ave into Union Square East. The downtown island platform has an especially sharp curve, and comes to a narrow point at the south end. The location of the side platforms can be spotted, when the local track is clear, because the platform edges were not removed when the platforms were walled up.

The island platforms were extended in 1910 to handle longer express trains. The downtown platform was extended northward into space originally occupied by a siding that was removed. The uptown platform was extended at both ends, and the siding to the south is still there today. At the same time, more stairs were provided to new extensions of mezzanine level. The side platforms had already been written off as useless by this time. The full length of the station is about 900 feet, because of the offset platforms, while an IRT train is only 510 feet.

Gap fillers were installed at a few points on the sharp curve of the downtown platform in 1914. Also known as moving platforms, they slide out to fill the space at the points where doors open, and made it possible to open all the doors. More were added in 1916, and also on the South Ferry outer loop. When the modern design of subway car came into service, with doors located at different points, the gap fillers were relocated, probably in 1955 for the local side and 1962 for the express side.

The uptown platform was walled up, but you can see where it was because the platform edge was not cut back. The red and white stripes mean there isn't enough clearance to stand between the wall and a train.

A motion picture frame shot in May 1905 shows the uptown platform open for business. The white circle in the upper right is a block signal at the same point along the track as the signal in the modern photo. Just past the signal in both photos, the lower ceiling is an overpass, which once had an open grill side.

G W "Billy" Bitzer (camera), Interior New York subway, 14th St. to 42nd St., New York: American Mutoscope and Biograph, 1905.

The door on the uptown platform was found open one day in January 2004, and Brian Weinberg took a few photos including this one. Inside, we can see the old wall.

Photo copyright 2004 by Brian Weinberg. From www.railfanwindow.com.

The downtown platform edge is still there too. The black grill hides something now occupying much of the platform space. Above it, notice the open space, which is an open passageway connecting to other subway stations nearby. In it is the exhibit of wall decoration, visible from the platform.

A March 1904 photo shows the newly installed wall decoration over the side platform. The ceramic top border was at the usual height, and the additional wall space because of the high ceiling was finished in plain tile above it. This seems to be the north end of the uptown platform.

Board of Rapid Transit Railroad Commissioners. A cropped version of this photograph is in their Report. . . for the year ending December 31, 1903, New York: the Commission, 1904. This image is from a copy of the complete image from the Joseph Saitta collection, which has the date on the negative, proving that the Report for 1903 included a last-minute 1904 photograph.

And here are remnants of the same wall decoration, on display in the passageway over the downtown local platform. In the red strip near the ceiling, credit is given to the architects Heins and La Farge who designed the finish and to the Grueby Faience company that manufactured the ceramic.

This page originally stated that the eagles had been moved, because of the 1904 photo showing how low the eagles were on the wall. However, an archival photo at A Photographic History of the Stations of New York's First Subway Line shows a different wall treatment where the eagle decoration is high on the wall just as it is here. The owner of that site, Saul Blumenthal, even took some photos from street level during construction in 1997 that show these wall sections being preserved in their original locations.

Photos of 14 St can be found on the New York Subway Resources site, http://www.nycsubway.org.

More photos of 14 St station are at A Photographic History of the Stations of New York's First Subway Line.

More photos of 14 St station are at http://www.railfanwindow.com.

The film short Interior New York subway, 14th St. to 42nd St. can be downloaded from http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mbrsmi/lcmp002.20761 from American Memory, at the Library of Congress. Part 1 starts at 14 St and shows the abandoned platform.

Abandoned Stations