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Station: 96th Street (IRT West Side Line)

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IRT West Side Line
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Overview

Opened: 10/27/1904

Express station with four tracks, two island platforms; two disused side local platforms. 96th Street was built in a similar fashion to the Contract I express stops at Brooklyn Bridge and 14th Street: two island platforms for the express trains and two shorter side platforms for the local trains.

Until 2010, access to the station was provided from stairways along the sidewalks of Broadway to the side platforms; access to the center island platforms is via a crossunder passage running underneath the platforms. Because of the location of a large sewer line under 96th Street, no mezzanine was built at this station, thus requiring the underpass.

Before the advent of ten-car locals the side platforms were used for local trains; since it would have been operationally logical to use the center island to allow local passengers easy transfer to the express, the local trains may never have used the side platforms exclusively for service, and in any event the practice did not last long. At Brooklyn Bridge and 14th Street, these side platforms were walled off, but at 96th Street they were kept open because they were used to access the underpass which provided access to the island platforms.

The station was renovated in 1950 to accommodate longer trains. It was both extended (with a second entrance on 94th St. created) and widened (the tracks were moved and the platforms were widened). You can see differences in the walls and ceiling at the south end, and you can still spot a seam in the platforms where they were widened. The creation of the new entrance at 94th St. led directly to the closure of 91st Street, as it would have been impractical to lengthen it for 10-car local trains with 94th Street so close by.

A new headhouse structure was built in the median of Broadway, which opened in 2010. New stairways and an elevator were provided to each island platform. Riders no longer need to go down and back up to enter or exit the station.

North of 96th St. Station, the express tracks descend to head under 104th Street to Lenox Avenue and the Bronx while the local tracks remain on the upper level. After the express tracks turn off, a new center track starts at approximately 100th Street.

There is a structure in the median of Broadway on the north side of 96th Street that seems like it might have been a headhouse for the station similar to the one at 72nd Street. Was there once direct entrance to the platforms from the street via this headhouse? Photographic evidence of this intersection indicates that the structure post-dates the year 1924; and anecdotal evidence from 1947 notes that the building was used as a "comfort station" (a.k.a. public restroom). The conclusion on the matter, then, is that this building is not and never was used as a subway entrance; nor was it even built by the IRT company. The structure is now a community center called the West Side Broadway Mall.


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Station Diagram

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Click to enlarge.

Photo Gallery


Image 7880
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Photo by: David Sagarin/Historic American Engineering Record
Collection of: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
Location: 96th Street

Image 30486
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Photo by: David Pirmann
Location: 96th Street

Image 51522
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Photo by: Brian Weinberg
Location: 96th Street

Image 70098
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Photo by: Bob Wright
Location: 96th Street

Image 70495
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Photo by: Pablo Maneiro
Location: 96th Street

Image 87308
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Photo by: Brian Weinberg
Location: 96th Street

Image 98956
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Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld
Location: 96th Street

Image 101492
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Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld
Location: 96th Street

Image 101801
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Photo by: John Barnes
Location: 96th Street

Image 110287
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Photo by: David Blair
Location: 96th Street

Image 112617
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Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld
Location: 96th Street

Image 112889
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Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld
Location: 96th Street

Image 113512
(108k, 1024x768)
Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld
Location: 96th Street

Image 115931
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Photo by: David Blair
Location: 96th Street

Image 128012
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Photo by: David Pirmann
Location: 96th Street


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