Abandoned Stations by Joseph Brennan. Copyright 2001, 2002.

Lexington Ave (63 St) north side

Lexington Ave (63 St) north side

Passenger service: Never completed.

Existing abandoned portions: 2 platforms on tracks used for train layups.

Touring: S trains to Lexington Ave. The station is on two levels with the open platforms on the north side of the tracks. On both platforms, doors on the north wall provide access to the rest of what is actually an island platform with another track.

construction and operation

The 63 St tunnel is a long, sad story of modern transit construction. Work on the river tunnel began in 1969, but it was a staggering twenty years before trains began running. The section including the Lexington Ave station (Park Ave to 3 Ave) was contracted in 1976, and the structure was finished seven years later.

The 63 St line was planned together with the 2 Ave subway. Two tracks each would come off the Broadway BMT and 6 Ave subways north of their 57 St stations, coming together under Central Park and running as four tracks on two levels to the Lexington Ave station. East of the station, the north pair (from Broadway) curves north into 2 Ave, and the south pair (from 6 Ave) runs straight to Queens, merging with a pair curving from downtown via 2 Ave.

The Lexington Ave station was built with a wide island platform on each level, to allow transfer between Broadway--2 Ave and 6 Ave--Queens services. The upper level, for downtown trains, has an arch over the platform and both tracks, and the lower level has a flat ceiling.

By the time finish work was being done on the Lexington Ave station in 1984, it was obvious that the 2 Ave subway had stalled and would not open for many years. Therefore, a wall was built the length of each platform, closing off almost half the width along the north side. On the upper level, a false arched ceiling was made over just the track and platform portion that would be open to the public. Oddly the smaller arch was also then hidden above a flatter finished ceiling. The station finish was applied only to the parts now open to the public, so there are no telltale signs of part of the station being closed.


The Broadway BMT subway had ended north of 57 St as 6 trackways when opened in 1919, of which only 2 tracks continued to the 60 St tunnel to Queens. The other 4 trackways-- the center pair and outermost tracks-- curved slightly west before ending, as if to cut over to Central Park West. Construction of the 63 St line in 1971-1978 finally continued the center pair.

The 6 Ave subway had reached 57 St in 1968 as part of the Chrystie St project, using a provision for extension left when the main 6 Ave line opened in 1940.

The new subways disturbed Central Park especially where cut and cover work was needed near Central Park South, but the route runs downgrade and into rock tunnel before the track levels separate and meet under the park. The double deck 4 track subway crosses under the Park Ave tunnels (Metro North) and under both levels of the Lexington Ave subway. Lexington Ave station upper level is about 140 feet below the street.

East of the station, the planned connections to the 2 Ave subway curve off and stop. The southeast curve ends at bare rock. At about 1 Ave, the two tracks come to the same level.

The river tunnel includes a lower level intended for the Long Island Railroad, completed in 1973, and part of the land tunnel to west of 2 Ave, completed in 1978. It has never been used and is inaccessible except by stairs from the subway tunnel.

The escalator access at the west end of the platform is centered on the real platform width. The column is on the centerline.

The open half a platform extends somewhat into the closed side, with the peculiar wall bulge above shoulder height, benches built into the wall, and a wider platform area near the center.

Behind two doors on each platform lurks not closet space but the remaining half of the platform area. "Authorized Personnel Only" may enter.

Abandoned Stations