There have been quite a few incarnations of the New York subway system in its more than 100-year history. Tracks have been moved, lines altered, and stations demolished or left to rot. Fortunately for urban explorers, this means lots and lots of leftover infrastructure to explore, photograph, and map.
Among the jewels of New York’s many forgotten sites for the ferrophile is City Hall station, originally built as the southern terminal of the IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit) system and a showpiece of New York’s spanking new subway in 1904. The station sports intricate tiled designs along the walls, elegant archways and stairways, and even expansive skylights.
Underneath New York’s Riverside Park, this Amtrak train tunnel was originally intended to expand park space for the neighborhood’s residents when it was built in the 1930s. With the growing popularity of cars and trucks, however, the tunnel quickly fell into disuse and in subsequent years was best known for its gigantic homeless shanty town.
Cincinatti, on the short list of my favorite northern cities for being the most gothic (yes, it beats New York, don’t start with me), has a subway system that never was.
One of the antiquated oddities of modern American transportation infrastructure, the Cincinnati subway system was constructed in the early 20th century, but never opened due to post-World War I inflation and rising building costs, leaving the largest abandoned subway tunnel in the United States to molder. There are three uncompleted stations, and some entrances spread around downtown Cincinnati, but no tracks have ever been laid. The subway remains nothing more than a rumor even to native Cincinnatians to this day.
And of course we have the Russian Metro. The other one. Call it “Metro, Too.”
This one is the stuff of legends for the urban exploration set. Steeped in decades of rumor, hearsay, and innuendo is possibly a kernel of truth: a top-secret subway system built below Moscow’s already massive metro. Codenamed D-6 (by the KGB, no less), the project was purportedly started under Stalin and exceeds the Moscow subway in length and depth, connecting the Kremlin with a government airport, FSB headquarters, and an underground city, along with other strategically important places around and beyond Moscow.
See a bunch of other neat underground shit here, and get to planning those trips!