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Monday, May 19, 2014

Old Plans for the BMT Chambers Street Station

Source:  "Chambers Street Station, or Sec. #1 of Route #9-0, BMT Division" by David E. Rogoff, in
NY Division Bulletin, Vol. 2, No.3, July-August 1959.

A discussion regarding the very interesting map will hopefully follow in the future.

  This hand drawn map appeared in an early edition of the NY Bulletin many years ago.  The New York Municipal Building and the large subway station underneath have interesting facts about them and they are tied somewhat with an interesting transport policy at the time.  Construction started in 1907 on the building but the station contractor experienced difficulty due to a water and soil condition.  Construction of the station had to be stopped but resumed in 1911.  It seems that building construction took place before the final plan for the station was decided upon.  More about this in the future....the building opened in 1914.


  The page above, written by David E. Rogoff,  (reference sited above) provides very interesting information regarding the previous track diagram.  For example, the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge was built but never had tracks on it and when the southerly extension to the line was built (To Broad Street), it was via Nassau Street and not William Street..  Notice the unusual platform layout to the station as well.  In the diagram above, the "N"'s represent entrance platforms while the "X"'s represent exit platforms.  Also note that today, Park Row does not exist on the eastern side of the building because Police Plaza is in its place.  Not shown above, but the IRT Lexington Line Brooklyn Bridge Station is under Centre Street, a few feet to the west.  I will try to write something about the transportation policy of linking the three bridges by loop lines in the future.
 This picture was taken a few days ago.  You are facing east on Chambers Street.  To the back of the photographer is Broadway.  The building to the left with the green scaffold is the historic "Sun Building".  Mrs Lincoln, the president's wife used to shop there.  To the right, the building with columns is the "Tweed Court House".  Behind it is "City Hall".  Notice the Municipal Building has a large arch.  Years ago, traffic ran through it.  I believe I posted a map showing that one of the downtown streetcar lines passed through the arch.  The line that did pass under the arch had only one track going through and it was never electrified with a conduit rail.  The line in later years had to be run with battery cars.  In front of the building is Centre Street with the Brooklyn Bridge Station under the Street and the BMT Chambers Street Station under the building as shown above.  The Third Avenue El's "City Hall" station was on the other side of the Municipal Building.  To the right (south) of the Municipal Building is the Brooklyn Bridge and here existed many years ago the BRT BMT Park Row Terminal for Brooklyn El trains and streetcars.  The "basement" of the Municipal Building was the last stop of the BMT Culver Line (Subway Section) for many years.

   Notice the arch in the Municipal Building.  The building is separated into two wings, a north and South Wing.  I believe the south wing is 1 Centre Street while the north wing is 100 Centre Street.  The south wing has a arched roof arcade at street level that leads to a mezzanine.  A similar arcade existed on the north side as well.  In 1937 and 1938,  a new mezzanine and street entrances were opened at Reade Street, at Foley Square. This is a very picturesque area of court houses that appear as backdrops on many criminal TV shows.  The former north arcade was closed of and sealed.  City offices or stores are found now at street level on the north side of the building and the underground section is now an archive.  When you enter at the north entrance, if you look near the City Store, you can see glass circles imbedded in the sidewalk that provides natural light to the archive.

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