Abandoned Stations by Joseph Brennan. Copyright 2001, 2002.

Lexington Ave (BMT) unfinished platforms

Lexington Ave (BMT) unfinished platforms

Passenger service: Never completed.

Existing abandoned portions: Portion of 1 platform and trackway, uncertain portion of another.

Touring: N R W trains to Lexington Ave. From the platform, look up at the south wall for a doorway leading to the remaining portion of a platform and trackway. Go upstairs to either of the 59 St station local platforms (6 train) and go to the underpass near the downtown end. The underpass is the existing portion of the other uncompleted platform.

construction and operation

The Public Service Commission planned the Lexington Ave subway (4 5 6 today) as part of the Triborough Subway system in 1908, and construction began in 1912. The Dual System plan adopted in 1913 assigned the Lexington to the IRT company, and added another subway, the Broadway line, for the Brooklyn company, crossing the Lexington at 59 and 60 Streets. The Broadway subway was to run to Queens over the Queensborough Bridge. Because the side streets are so narrow, the Queens-bound track was to run under 59 St and the return track under 60 St. There would be a station at Lexington Ave. The crossing would run under the Lexington local track but over the deep level Lexington express track.

The Lexington Ave subway was already under construction, so to avoid disruption later, the Public Service Commission ordered the two single track lines built just from one side of the work zone to the other. Each consisted of a trackway and a platform, of much less than full length, to be completed later when the Broadway subway was put under construction.

The Broadway subway plan was changed in 1915 to route both tracks into 60 St and most significantly to cross the East River by a tunnel just north of the Queensborough Bridge. The Public Service Commission explained in their Report... for the year ending December 31, 1916 that the reasons were that it was cheaper to build both tracks in one street and that the tracks on the bridge would decrease the width of vehicular roadways too much. The bridge had opened in 1909 and existing traffic was well established. A pair of tracks on the upper level for elevated trains (2 Ave El) was built as planned and opened in 1917.

At the time the change was made, the split at 5 Ave had just begun construction, and otherwise the main work done was the pair of undercrossings at Lexington Ave. The 59 St crossing was obviously now useless, and at 60 St, the subway would have to be at a lower grade, on its way to the tunnel. The changed route is of course the existing tunnel used by the N R W trains.

The 59 St crossing was worked into a pedestrian underpass for the IRT station, which turned into a handy way to get between the downtown side and the direct subway entrance to Bloomingdale's department store on the uptown platform. It section is still in use, and the floor level is that of the never-completed BMT station. It was retiled in the late 1990's.

The 60 St crossing was mostly destroyed when the present station was built at a lower grade. A door in the wall across from the platform opens into a remaining space, and suggests the platform level of the original grade, which is the same as the 59 St underpass.


The planned platforms faced each other, possibly to allow a level passage between them. The underpass shown in white has an unviewable trackway space on its south side.

The 1914 issue of Moody's Manual . . . Public Utilities, an annual of corporate information for investors, carried a map showing the Brooklyn Rapid Transit system's planned subway lines under the Dual System. It shows the Queensborough Bridge routing and the separate tracks under 59 St and 60 St.

Scan by Jim Poulos. The complete map can be seen at his web site, http://www.bmt-lines.com.

The door to the 60 St platform is near the Lexington Ave end of the station. The bottom of the tile is the height of the open platform.

The door is always closed...

...except on one day in 2001 when I caught it open. It's clean and dry inside, with a smooth concrete floor. There's some power lines and a few other things, but still plenty of space to move around. They must need a ladder to get in.

The 59 St platform and trackway have been transformed into an underpass with storage rooms on both sides, near the downtown end of the Lexington Ave subway local platforms used by the 6 train. The tile is a good simulation of the old style but dates from the 1990's.

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

See also the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit page, http://www.bmt-lines.com.

Abandoned Stations