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Secrets of the New York Subway

The New York Subway is great – a wonder to many who travel in New York or even see it in all its glory and splendor behind a screen in some block buster movies it features in. It is the talk of many local New Yorkers and visitors alike. But even with the many times it crosses the minds of New Yorkers and with how often they frequent the subway system enroute to work, there are still a lot that remain hidden. The New York Subway system has a ton of secrets that it has kept perfectly hidden from the general public. These secrets go way beyond knowing just which train cars and seats to avoid. I bet you dint know that about 40% of this great means of transport is above ground and offers great views to attractions in New York City. But you are in luck. Below are some of the New York Subway secrets revealed.

A hidden station below City Hall

A hidden station below City Hall The New York subway, after years of massive changes, expansions and reconstructions has left entire stations unused along with dozens of platforms. Right under City Hall, is a station that was abandoned. It was opened back in the year 1904 and was probably one of the most beautiful station there was at the time. With beautiful skylights, brass chandeliers, colored glass and Guastavino tiles on its arches, there is no arguing with the beauty it oozes. The station, however, was closed in 1945 and has been for the most part been forgotten. Some efforts are currently being made to have it reopened. In the meantime, it is one of the best attractions in New York City.

MTA was not the Pioneer Subway in New York

MTA manages the New York Subway This probably comes as a shock to many New Yorkers. But the truth is, congestion in the streets of New York did not start in 1904. The nightmare was there long before the opening of the subway. As such, and in a bid to help the congestion, Alfred Beach a devoted inventor, with a car, a tube and a fast revolving fan made a single track and car line in the early 1970s. It ran right below Broadway from Warren to Murray using a technology similar to that of the pneumatic mail system. Beach lied to the authorities on his reasons for digging the tunnel and went on to transport more than 400,000 New Yorkers in the period it was operational. The Financial crash cut off his funding forcing him to stop the service. The line was discovered during the construction of the City Hall station.

The Early Subway System Was run by 3 Competing Companies

New York Subway signage If you are keen on the stations and trains, you will notice that they are not all equal. There are those that are narrower and those that are way prettier than others. Have you ever wondered why? Well, when the subway system was first created, officially, it was run by three different companies until 1953. These companies included Interborough Rapid Transit, the Independent Subway and The Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit. Today, they are all under one management – MTA.

Conductors have to point at a Zebra board before the doors open

Conductor pointing at Zebra board New York Subway Ideally, pointing is rude and could very easily earn you a beat down if you do it to a violent crowd in New York. With the New York Subway conductors however, it is allowed. As a matter of fact, it is one of the requirements of the job they have. Every time a train comes to a halt the conductors have to point to the black and white board on the platform wall to indicate that indeed the train has stopped in a safe spot and that the doors can open safely. These boards have been around since 1914. The finger pointing habit however started in 1996 and was inspired by the Japan subway system.

Brooklyn Height is home to a fake townhouse

Brooklyn Heights attractions in New York This fake townhouse at 58 Joralemon Street is not blacked out by an old angry and lonely hermit nor is it blacked out for the purposes of privacy. It is blacked out since it acts as an emergency exit for riders on tunnels 4 and 5. What is behind the two metal doors remains a mystery that MTA is not willing to provide insight on citing national security. The Buzzing and Whirring sounds from the inside will have to do since it is not likely it will be a new addition to the attractions in New York any time soon, or ever. Attractions in New York are meant to be open books – or at least that is what we expect. However, on your New York vacation, you will notice that there is more than what meets the eye. This mystery factor makes NY sightseeing all the more exciting and worthwhile.
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