New Yorker Reveals How to See the 'Ghost Station' Hidden in the Subway System

A man has revealed exactly how to see a "ghost station" in the New York subway system, which was one of the first ever opened.

Ariel Viera, who describes himself as an urban explorer, shared a clip to his TikTok page, @arielviera, on Saturday, as he headed to the subway.

Viera shared a glimpse of the deserted City Hall station, near the modern-day Brooklyn Bridge / City Hall stop, in Manhattan, at the end of the number 6 line.

In the clip, Viera said: "This is how you see the ghost station in the New York city subway system. Now, don't panic. This is the last stop of the 6 train at the City Hall Brooklyn Bridge stop. But stay on it. If you stay on it you're getting in for a very nice treat, a station that has been featured in many countless classic movies, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

He shares the history of the station, saying: "This station was opened in October 1904, as you can see the subway car is empty. It ran all the way until 1945 because this station is one of the most beautiful in the entire New York City subway system. The entire, vaulted ceiling was designed by Rafael Guastavino, and it is a gorgeous station that we're going to see right here through the window."

As Viera films the empty train, he continues: "So I'm giving you a little background as we wait to see it. It's kind of cool, I'm so excited I wish I could walk through it, actually show it to you. Maybe one day in the future. There were a few plans of what to do with the station, one of the plans was to convert it into a restaurant, but then in 1995 they actually proposed to the New York City mayor to make it into part of the New York City Transit Museum. He denied it because he said that it was vulnerable to attacks, it was a big security risk."

As the train passes the vacant platform, Viera says: "Keep your eyes open. Here it is." He films through the window of the carriage, showing a station which retains hints of its former glory.

Viera delved deeper into its history, saying: "Let's take a small interjection to show you something cool here at the Manhattan Municipal Building, which is where the station is located (underneath.) You can see over Guastavino tile (same as in the abandoned City Hall Station.) Great example and these tiles are famous all around New York City, and they're also in Grand Central Terminal and a few other major New York city skyscrapers."

And he seemingly explained why it closed, saying: "So the reason they actually stopped this (service to the station) was because of this screeching noise. By 1945 they realized this was causing too much issues. The platform was too curvy, so it's actually a loop.

"So now we're going to turn back and get a ride back to the station we started in. The Brooklyn Bridge / City Hall stop. So that's how you see it. Stick onto the last train in the 6 train, stay beyond the last stop and you'll see it and you'll get back to where you started."

The footage has amassed more than 1.2 million views since being shared, and can be seen here. But in the comments, Viera stressed: "I don't condone trespassing of any kind. Please respect the rules of the subway system."

Commenting on the clip, Elena revealed: "I accidentally went there because I was wearing earphones and didn't know it was the last stop until I looked round and I was by myself I freaked out."

Cyberexboyfriend noted: "It's a shame it's the prettiest station but tg safety gap makes it unusable."

Buuq exclaimed: "It looks like you traveled through time omg."

While Allie Sun added: "Pre-COVID if you were a member of the transit museum, they had opportunities to go on tours there."

Architectural magazine Metalocus explained more about Guastavino's role, saying: "In 1900, New York architects Heins & LaFarge hired Guastavino to help construct City Hall station, the underground showpiece for the IRT, the first part of the then-new New York City Subway. The station, although elegant, was never convenient or popular, and after it closed in 1945 it became a legendary abandoned Manhattan underground relic, the secret of subway buffs and urban spelunkers."

The Interborough Rapid Transit subway (IRT) was the first line to open on October 27 1904, according to website Nycsubway.org, which described City Hall as "the showpiece" of the new system.

"Unusually elegant in architectural style, it is unique among the original IRT stations. The platform and mezzanine feature Guastavino arches and skylights, colored glass tilework, and brass chandeliers," it said.

Map of New York Subway 1907.
A map of the New York Subway from 1907. City Hall station and its loop can clearly be seen. Museum of the City of New York/Getty Images

The website cites a different reason for the closure, explaining the 400-foot-long platform, on a steep curve, was originally built to accommodate the length of a five-car IRT train, as was standard design.

As the population of the city increased, as did the need for longer trains, but City Hall's unique design meant it was impractical to lengthen the platform.

The website said: "The new longer trains had center doors on each car, and at City Hall's tight curve, it was dangerous to open them."

City Hall station was closed on December 31, 1945, with commuters now using the nearby Brooklyn Bridge station.

But as Viera demonstrated, the track is still very much in use for the 6 train to reverse direction heading back to the Bronx.

Newsweek reached out to Viera and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for comment.

Number 6 train on New York subway.
Number 6 train on New York subway. A man has explained you need to take the number 6 train past the last stop to see a disused station. Michael Nagle/Getty Images