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Station: 42nd Street-Port Authority Bus Terminal (8th Avenue)

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IND 8th Avenue/Fulton Street/Rockaway Line
Court Street
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E.GIF Jamaica Center -- Parsons-Archer · Sutphin Blvd.-Archer Ave.-JFK · Jamaica-Van Wyck · Union Turnpike-Kew Gardens · 71st-Continental Aves.-Forest Hills · Roosevelt Avenue · Queens Plaza · Court Square · Lexington Avenue-53rd Street · 5th Avenue-53rd Street · 7th Avenue-53rd Street · 50th Street · 42nd Street-Port Authority Bus Terminal · 34th Street-Penn Station · 23rd Street · 14th Street · West 4th Street-Washington Square · Spring Street · Canal Street-Holland Tunnel · Chambers Street-World Trade Center


Contents

Overview

Opened: 9/10/1932

Transfer here to: IRT Flushing Line, BMT Broadway Line, IRT West Side Line, IRT Times Square-Grand Central Shuttle

Express station with four tracks and two island platforms in use; abandoned lower level with one track and one side platform on the downtown side. The Times Square/42nd Street complex is the busiest in the system and consequently the platforms here are extra wide to accommodate passenger volume. In order to fit the wider platforms, they are offset from north to south; the southbound platform extends between 40th and 42nd Sts. and the northbound between 42nd and 44th Sts., approximately. The mezzanine of this station extends from 40th to 44th Street. Ramps are in place for access to the mezzanine, which is somewhat unique in that there are retail stores within the fare control (including a record store), as well as various NYCT offices. The tile color is dark purple with black border and there is no IND-style tile name tablet.

Some relative depths of stations in the Times Square complex are as follows, +/- 10 feet.

  • 7th Ave./West Side IRT, 40 feet below street
  • Flushing/#7 IRT, 60 feet below street
  • Broadway BMT, 50 feet below street
  • Shuttle, 20 feet below street
  • 8th Ave. IND, 30 feet below street

In addition to the platforms described above, there is an abandoned lower platform on the southbound side (one track, underneath the downtown local track on the upper level, and one side platform underneath the island platform above). The lower level platform was built along with the rest of the station in 1932, but it was only used from 1959 to 1981 for odd services like the Aqueduct Racetrack special fare trains, and for rush hour E trains for a period during the 1970s. For many years, a crossunder was open between the upper level platforms using a passageway at the northern end of the lower level. Rearrangement of the mezzanine a few years ago allowed passengers to crossover using the mezzanine within the fare control.

It isn't really clear why this lower level was even built. It can only be used by trains running from Queens via 53rd Street (today's E service). Heading downtown on the track from the lower level of 50th Street, switches allow access to the downtown local, downtown express, or lower level of 42nd St. Departing 42nd Street on the lower level, trains can become local or express prior to entering 34th Street; however, trains departing 42nd Street on the upper level cannot cross over until reaching Canal Street. It is likely, therefore, that the extra platform was built to allow some operational flexibility, by permitting trains from 53rd Street to have access to both downtown local and express. Perhaps there was no other suitable location for a crossover switch, or it was thought an extra platform face could allow increased dwell time or time for switches to line up.

An oft-repeated story offers this as a reason the lower level was built: The Independent subway was being built by the city to compete directly with routes owned by the IRT and BMT companies. The #7 crosstown IRT line terminates at Times Square; it is said that the bumper blocks of the #7 are directly against or very close to the eastern wall of the lower level of the 42nd St. IND station. The construction of the lower level therefore blocked any potential extension of the #7 line to the west side of Manhattan. If this is true, it would have been done only in the spirit of crushing the competition, for the IND had no plans to construct a competing crosstown line.

In 1998 and 1999 all but one remaining entrance to the lower level was sealed (the remaining one is under a lift-up trap door at the south end of the southbound platform). A report in the September, 1999 Bulletin of the New York Division ERA reports that the lower level track D-3 from north of 42nd St. all the way to 34th St. is now permanently out of service. Occasionally the existence of the lower level is mentioned as an excuse for why the IRT #7 cannot be extended westward; this new development now renders the lower level useless and it should not pose a problem to run the #7 extension directly through the lower level.

A detailed track map of this area is available, which shows the lower level track and switches described above quite clearly.

Artwork

Losing My Marbles, Lisa Dinhofer (2003)

The Commuter's Lament/A Close Shave, Norman B. Colp (1991)

Photo Gallery - Upper Level


Image 784
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Photo by: Wayne Whitehorne
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal

Image 786
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Photo by: Wayne Whitehorne
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal

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Photo by: Bruce Fedow
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal

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Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal

Image 56359
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Photo by: Gary Chatterton
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal

Image 67544
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Photo by: Roberto C. Tobar
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal

Image 78759
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Photo by: David-Paul Gerber
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal

Image 79890
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Photo by: Gary Chatterton
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal

Image 85757
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Photo by: Paul Ferbrache
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal

Image 96522
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Photo by: Andre Samuel
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal

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Photo by: David Pirmann
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal

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Photo by: John Dooley
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal

Image 122151
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Photo by: John Dooley
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal

Image 122203
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Photo by: Roberto C. Tobar
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal

Image 130451
(88k, 1024x768)
Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal
Artwork: The Commuter's Lament/A Close Shave (Norman B. Colp)


More Images: 1-50 51-82

Photo Gallery - Lower Level


Image 763
(134k, 1008x672)
Photo by: Peter Dougherty
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)

Image 768
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Photo by: Peter Dougherty
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)

Image 1998
(145k, 1024x668)
Photo by: Joe Testagrose
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)

Image 6676
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Photo by: Chris Leverett
Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)

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Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)

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Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)

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Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)

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Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)

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Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)

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Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)

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Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)

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Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)

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Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)

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Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)

Image 95471
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Location: 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (Lower Level)


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