Cover Inspiration: My Favorite NYC Secret!
Many readers have asked where the inspiration for the abandoned subway scene in my book The Secret Half came from and if it is a real location. The scene they speak of is where CJ takes Ani on a dark spelunking adventure down into the “subterrania” of the New York City Subway System that ends at an abandoned station under City Hall.
The answer is…
YES, it’s real! It is one of the best-kept secrets of New York City’s hidden history. It’s called The City Hall Subway Station. This is one of my favorite places in New York City (and CJ’s too).
The City Hall Subway Station has been shut down for nearly a century (only used as a turn-around loop at the end of the line), but it remains one of the most beautiful works of style and craftsmanship in the metropolis.
The info below originally appeared at the end of LightBridge Book One First Edition (Destiny’s Call) but was cut for the Second Edition – retitled The Secret Half: A Supernatural Coming of Age Story. So, I thought I would post it here because I think it is an interesting and magnificent piece of New York history.
The City Hall Station and its Maker
The City Hall Station is the original southern terminal of the first line of the New York City Subway built by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT). Opened on October 27, 1904, the station was designed to be the showpiece of the new subway system.
Though it was (and still is) considered to be one of the most beautiful subway stations in New York for its unusually elegant architectural style, passenger service was
discontinued on December 31, 1945, for practical reasons, and then reduced in use to a turning loop for number 6 trains. The station’s exquisite combination of strength and beauty, which remains hidden to the bulk of New Yorkers and visitors alike, is attributed to Rafael Guastavino.
Who Was Rafael Guastavino?
The visual elegance of Guastavino’s work provides indelible impressions of New York City. Each year, thousands of tourists visit NYC and its historic structures such as Grand Central Terminal, Carnegie Hall, and the Great Hall on Ellis Island, but until recent years, few were aware that the man responsible for these famous buildings was Rafael Guastavino (1842-1908), a Spanish immigrant who integrated centuries-old construction techniques into modern architecture. Guastavino’s designs—with their great spans of curving, expressive spaces—combine grace with sturdy, enduring construction.
Rafael Guastavino and later his son, installed the trademark masonry floors, ceilings, vaults, domes, stairs and acoustic products in churches, museums, railroad stations, state capitols, libraries, concert halls, government and university buildings, private homes, and highway structures. In all, his firm created nearly 400 structures in New York City, many of them among the most famous and distinctive in the country.
NYC’s hidden history! Mastery, mystery, and majestic beauty meet to make magic!
The City Hall Station has withstood the test of time and is still as beautiful as ever!
This short slideshow I put together includes some rare photos of the subway under construction. I particularly love the photograph of the workmen posing in the tunnel.