South Ferry/Whitehall Street
|New York City Subway station complex|
The main entrance to the new South Ferry portion of the station in August 2013, before the restoration of the W train in 2016.
|Address||South Street & Whitehall Street|
New York, NY 10004
|Locale||Battery Park and Financial District|
|Division||A (IRT), B (BMT)|
|Line||BMT Broadway Line|
IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line
|Services|| 1 (all times)|
�� N (late nights)
R (all times)
W (weekdays only)
|Transit|| NYCT Bus: M15, M15 SBS, M20, M55, SIM5, SIM15, SIM35|
MTA Bus: BM1, BM2, BM3, BM4, QM7, QM8, QM11, QM25
Staten Island Ferry at Whitehall Terminal
|Opened||March 16, 2009|
|Accessible||Partially ADA-accessible (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line platform only)|
|Rank||27 out of 424|
South Ferry/Whitehall Street is a New York City Subway station complex in the Manhattan neighborhood of Financial District, under Battery Park. The complex is shared by the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line and the BMT Broadway Line. It is served by the:
The complex originally consisted of two separate stations. In 1905, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) opened a double balloon loop at South Ferry, serving the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue and IRT Lexington Avenue Lines. The Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) opened its station at Whitehall Street in 1918. Despite their proximity, the stations remained separate for 91 years.
In the early 2000s, as part of the recovery effort from the September 11, 2001, attacks, a new South Ferry terminal for the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line was proposed. That station opened in 2009, replacing the loop station and providing a connection between the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line's 1 train and the Broadway Line's N, R, and W trains. The new terminal for the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line was severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and the MTA temporarily re-opened the loop station between 2013 and 2017, adding a temporary connection between the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line's loop and the BMT Broadway Line's platforms. The newer terminal reopened in June 2017 following extensive renovations and waterproofing work.
This station complex is the third on the site to bear the name South Ferry. The first was an elevated station located nearby, which was open from 1877 to 1950 and served the former IRT Ninth, Sixth, Third, and Second Avenue elevated lines. The second was the old South Ferry loop station, located above the existing station complex.
Elevator at southwest corner of Whitehall and State Streets. Note: Elevator out of service
South Ferry loops
|Side platform, not in service|
|Inner loop||does not stop here (Bowling Green) →|
|Outer loop||No regular service|
|Side platform, not in service|
|Mezzanine||Fare control, station agent, MetroCard machines, passageway between platforms|
|B2||Landing||Broadway Line escalator landing|
|Northbound||← toward 71st Avenue except late nights (Rector Street/Trinity)|
← late nights toward Ditmars Boulevard (Rector Street/Trinity)
← toward Ditmars Boulevard (select weekday trips) (Rector Street/Trinity)
|Center track||← toward Ditmars Boulevard weekdays (Rector Street/Trinity)|
← late night termination track
weekday termination track →
toward 95th Street late nights (Court Street) →
|Southbound|| toward 95th Street except late nights (Court Street) → |
toward Coney Island via Sea Beach late nights (Court Street) →
toward 86th Street (limited weekday trips) (Court Street) →
Broadway–Seventh Avenue platform
|Track 4||← toward 242nd Street (Rector Street/Greenwich)|
|Track 1||← toward 242nd Street (Rector Street/Greenwich)|
Entrances and exits are located at the following places:
- Two staircases at the west side of Whitehall and Stone Streets, east of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House (National Museum of the American Indian)
- One staircase at the northeast corner of Whitehall and Stone Streets
- Two staircases at the southwest corner of Whitehall and Water Streets
- One set of staircase/escalators and one elevator northwest of the Whitehall Terminal
- One set of staircase/escalator outside of the bus stop at the southeast corner of Water and State Streets
- One staircase on the southwest side of State Street, south of the intersection with Pearl Street
Lower Manhattan transit
IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line platforms
There are two separate stations on the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line, which are individually named South Ferry due to their connection to Manhattan's South Ferry. The name "South Ferry loops" is used for the Old South Ferry platforms, while the newer platforms are called "New South Ferry." The newer island platform station was first used by the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line's 1 service from 2009 to 2012 until it was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, and was again placed into use in 2017. The outer loop platform was reopened on April 4, 2013, to provide temporary replacement service, and closed again in 2017 when the newer station reopened.
Old South Ferry station (1905–2009, 2013–2017)
|Former New York City Subway station|
Outer loop platform on reopening day (April 4, 2013).
|Line||IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line, IRT Lexington Avenue Line|
|Platforms||originally 2 side platforms, the inner platform is walled off|
|Tracks||2 balloon loops|
|Next north||Rector Street: no regular service|
Bowling Green: no regular service
|Next south||(Terminal): no regular service|
The South Ferry loops consist of two side platforms on curved balloon loop tracks. The outer platform was operational until 2017, when it was permanently replaced by the new South Ferry station. The inner platform was in operation until 1977, and was subsequently walled off. However, free transfers were unavailable between the platforms and each platform was meant to be served by its own line. The most recent configuration using both tracks consisted of the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line on the outer loop platform and the IRT Lexington Avenue Line on the inner loop platform.
On July 10, 1905, the outer South Ferry platform was the first of the two platforms to open and was an extension of the original trunk line of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company. The inner track existed when the station was built, but only as a storage track. When the "H" system of the IRT opened on July 1, 1918, Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line trains used the outer platform while the inner platform was opened for IRT Lexington Avenue Line trains which used the original trunk line in Lower Manhattan.
Only the end doors of each car of the five-car trains could platform at the station, because of the large gap between the middle doors and the platform, owing to the severe curve of the station. This problem was remedied in January 1959 when gap fillers were installed. In 1959, work was underway to construct a new station house.
Services on the Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line, including the 1 and 9 trains (the latter of which was a rush-hour skip-stop duplicate of the former from 1989 to 2005), used the outer platform as a terminal station for more than a century since its inception, except for two relatively short periods of time. The first period was between September 2001 and September 2002 since the main branch south of Chambers Street was impassable after the September 11 attacks.:1–1 (PDF p. 1) The second was from March 16, 2009, when the new South Ferry station opened for 1 train passengers, to April 4, 2013, when the outer platform reopened with a transfer to the BMT section of the station complex. The newer station, located underneath this one, allowed a free transfer to the BMT station whereas neither of this station's platforms originally did.
The platform is smaller than most others in the system, having only 16,800 square feet (1,560 m2) of surface area, and it was originally served from two stairs leading from the Staten Island Ferry's Whitehall Terminal.:1–7 (PDF p. 7) The radius of the curve is only 190 feet (58 m),:1–5 (PDF p. 5) meaning that the platform curves approximately 77.5 degrees between its front and back ends.[a] The platform accommodates the first five cars of a train, but the rear five cars of a 10-car 1 train cannot load or unload.:1–5 (PDF p. 5) In addition, spray nozzles are required to lubricate the track to reduce the friction caused by the tight curve, which slows train operation and generates a loud metallic scraping noise.:1–5 (PDF p. 5)
Because of the curve, gap fillers were required, and are still used, to bridge the gap between the platform and the doors.:1–5 (PDF p. 5) The now-automated gap fillers previously required manual operation, with a foreman and at least two train crew, all of whom could directly see each other; the train crew had to give a signal to the foreman, who pulled a 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 m) tall wooden lever to manually extend and retract the gap fillers. The gap fillers were also unreliable, as they needed 15 days of maintenance for every 6 months in service.:1–5 (PDF p. 5)
The platform featured an oak ticket booth and an oak-cased clock from the Self Winding Clock Company. Evidence of the now-demolished ticket booth is a Beaux Arts design engraved on the ceiling. The platform also features station tiling by Heins & LaFarge, who designed the station plaque in a sans-serif font. The walls are made of small white rectangular tiles, except for the bottom 3 feet (0.91 m), which is marble. There are also fifteen ceramic plaques toward the top of the platform wall, all of which depict a sloop in the New York Harbor to signify the station's location and use. The top of the wall also includes festooned garlands and station monograms, in addition to ceramic trim where the wall intersects the ceiling. The station artwork on the original exit's landing is a 1990 mural, "South Sails", by former MTA Arts & Design director Sandra Bloodworth. During the 2004 Finding Of No Significant Impact for the station, it was determined that the station was eligible for National Register of Historic Places status.:10 (PDF p. 11)
Replacement and restoration
The South Ferry loop station proved to be a service bottleneck. Operationally, the loop station functioned an intermediate station rather than as a true terminal, as trains would simply proceed back to Rector Street without the motorman needing to go to the reverse end of the train.:1–5 to 1–6 (PDF p. 5–6) Additionally, unlike most terminal stations in the system, there were neither layup tracks nor an additional track to store terminating trains, and there were no additional layup tracks along the line until at least 34th Street–Penn Station. This meant that trains could not dwell at the station for longer for 90 seconds (including the 5 to 10 seconds each that it took to extend and retract the gap fillers). Any trains that went out of passenger service at the station could have caused major delays along the rest of the line.:1–6 (PDF p. 6) Finally, trains could only proceed through the station at slow speeds, adding 30 to 60 seconds to travel time compared to a "regular" terminal station with two tracks and a full-length platform. This ensured that 1 trains were delayed at the Chambers Street station, three stops north, for up to two minutes in both directions.:1–6 to 1–7 (PDF p. 6–7)
In order to eliminate this special operation, the new station was built as a two-track, 10-car-long island platform on a less severe curve, permitting the operation of a typical terminal station. The MTA stated that the new station saved four to six minutes of a passenger's trip time and increased the peak capacity of the 1 service to 24 trains per hour (or one every 2 minutes 30 seconds), as opposed to 16 to 17 trains per hour (or one every 4 minutes) with the loop station. The successor station is fully accessible (although its transfer to the BMT Broadway Line is not), with the main entrance located across from the Staten Island Ferry terminal building's entrance.:1–9 (PDF p. 9)
After Hurricane Sandy in late October 2012, the outer loop was brought back into service in order to turn trains uptown after terminating at Rector Street, as the replacement station suffered extensive flooding damage and closed for repairs. After a few months, the MTA decided to reopen the loop station as an interim terminal to restore the connection from 1 service to the Staten Island Ferry. The South Ferry loop station was the first permanently-closed subway station to reopen since the founding of the MTA. The station reopened on April 4, 2013, with a connection to the Broadway Line platforms, and remained open until June 27, 2017.
The inner platform opened for IRT Lexington Avenue Line passengers on July 1, 1918. Service from that line was moved from the outer platform, and the outer platform was used for trains on the newly opened Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line. This platform has an even sharper curve than the outer platform, and only the center doors opened here, with special arched openings in a wall between the platform and track at the locations of the doors.
In the late 1950s, when the IRT division began to use mostly R-type cars which could not have only the center doors opened, 5 trains (which ended at South Ferry evenings and weekends only) and 6 trains (which ended at South Ferry late nights) were rerouted to the outer loop. The Bowling Green–South Ferry shuttle, which ran weekdays and at first also late nights, continued to use the inner loop, running to the west platform at Bowling Green until 1977, when the inner platform was closed and Lexington Avenue trains stopped using the outer loop. Specially modified R12 cars were used starting in the late 1960s until the service ended. These cars had two different door controls; the first opened the outer two sets of doors while the second opened the center set of doors only. There was no free transfer between the inner loop and the outer loop platforms, which meant that passengers must pay another fare when moving from one loop to the other.
No regular service has been at the inner loop station since February 13, 1977, although the inner track is still used as a turning loop for 5 trains when they terminate at Bowling Green on weekday evenings and weekends.
South Ferry station (2009–2012, 2017–present)
|New York City Subway station (rapid transit)|
A 1 train at the platform on reopening day
|Line||IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line|
|Services||1 (all times)|
|Platforms||1 island platform|
|Opened||March 16, 2009|
|Closed||October 28, 2012|
|Rebuilt||June 27, 2017|
|Next north||Rector Street: 1|
|Next south||(Terminal): 1|
The South Ferry station, which serves the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line exclusively, has two tracks and one island platform, and is the only IRT platform currently in use. The new station's platform has a slight curve, but unlike the loop stations, can fit all 10 cars of a full-length train without significant platform gaps or gap fillers. The two tracks end at bumper blocks at the south end of the platform. This station was built as a replacement for the loop station, which was relegated to being used for turn-arounds once the new station opened. Unlike the loop station, this station is accessible only by IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line local trains, and does not connect with the Lexington Avenue Line. It allows 24 trains per hour (or one every 2 minutes and 30 seconds) to terminate at the station.
The new station offers three street entrances, with the main entrance located across from the Staten Island Ferry terminal;:1–9 (PDF p. 9) the loop station originally had only one entrance within the terminal itself before it reopened with a connection to the South Ferry–Whitehall Street complex in 2013.:1–7 (PDF p. 7) It also added a free transfer to the Whitehall Street–South Ferry station on the BMT Broadway Line. Landscaping for Peter Minuit Plaza, which is above the station, was completed in May 2010.
On September 11, 2001, a terrorist attack destroyed the World Trade Center, located slightly to the north of South Ferry and the Battery. Since the entire WTC site was destroyed in the attacks, this meant that the segment of the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line that ran through the WTC, including the Cortlandt Street station two stops north of South Ferry, was also destroyed.:1–1 (PDF p. 1) This resulted in service changes to the 1, 2, and 3 routes and led to reduced service in Manhattan and Brooklyn until the WTC section of the line reopened in September 2002.:1–2 (PDF p. 2) Concurrent with the rebuilding of that section of the line, MTA officials recognized the need to build a more efficient terminal for the 1 and 9 trains at South Ferry, since it was anticipated that the line would be heavily used in the long-term aftermath of the attacks. This also coincided with the renovation of Battery Park.:1–2 (PDF p. 2)
In 2003, money was allocated for the new station's construction,:69 and in 2005, construction commenced on the new station. The station was originally budgeted at $400 million, with most of the money being a grant from the Federal Transit Administration earmarked for World Trade Center reconstruction. Initially, the station's construction had been opposed because of the high cost and low perceived time savings. Community leaders acquiesced after being told that some of the money was going to be used to renovate Battery Park, and the South Ferry Terminal Project was allowed to proceed.:slide 2 (p. 1)
The FTA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact on August 30, 2004.:PDF p. 1 During planning, the FTA evaluated several alternatives, including extending the existing loop platform northward; building the terminal with an extra track and platform; building a two-track terminal underneath the loop; building a two-track terminal directly under Water Street, to the east; building a two-track terminal along the waterfront under South Street, to the southeast; building a three-track terminal below the BMT Broadway Line's Whitehall Street station, under the namesake street; and building the terminal diagonally under Peter Minuit Plaza. Of these seven options, the last one was chosen because any other alternative would have been either too expensive or logistically infeasible.:3–4 (PDF p. 4–5)
The project was split up into three parts: construction of bellmouths, a fan plant, and track junctions from the existing line; approach tunnels to the station; and the station itself.:1–8 (PDF p. 8) The bellmouths' construction would require that 270 feet (82 m) of the original tunnel would have to be rebuilt to accommodate the new junction. The fan plant, located to the east of the existing line, would facilitate ventilation from the new deep-level station, which would be located below three exiting subway lines (the loop platform, the IRT Lexington Avenue Line's Joralemon Street Tunnel, and the BMT Broadway Line's Montague Street Tunnel).:1–8 to 1–9 (PDF p. 8–9) The two new approach tunnels would be single-track tunnels connecting to a cavern where a double crossover switch would be installed.:1–9 (PDF p. 9) The new 76,820-square-foot (7,137 m2) station, located at a depth of 50 feet (15 m), would contain a 600-by-25-foot (182.9 by 7.6 m) platform, a new mezzanine level, escalators, and an elevator.:1–9 to 1–10 (PDF p. 9–10)
In late 2005, New York City authorities announced that builders working on the new station had found the remains of a 200-year-old stone wall. After archaeological analysis, it was widely reported to be the oldest man-made structure still in place in Manhattan. Four walls and over 250,000 individual artifacts were found in the excavation of the subway station. A portion of one wall was placed on temporary display inside Castle Clinton.
In December 2008, news sources reported that the new station was essentially finished. However, the following month, the opening was delayed because the tracks were too far from the edge of the platform, and the gap between the platform and the train did not meet ADA standards. Other delays were attributed to leaks in the station, which were caused by the station's high water table. The problem was corrected and the station opened on March 16, 2009, a year behind when it was originally set to open. At $530 million, the new South Ferry station ended up being $130 million over budget. It was the first new subway station completed since 1989 when the IND 63rd Street Line stations opened.[b] On April 16, 2009, MTA Capital Construction awarded a $19.2 million contract to Tully Construction Company to reconstruct Peter Minuit Plaza.
After the station opened, a long portion of the excavated historic wall was embedded permanently into the wall of the entrance to the newly constructed station. "This wall most likely is a portion of the gun batteries that once protected the city in the late 17th and 18th centuries and gave rise to the modern park name," said Robert Tierney, chairman of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The city and the New York City Transit Authority plan to work together to preserve the remains, which were described as "an important remnant of the history of New York City."
The station's mezzanine and escalator shafts feature monumental artwork titled See it split, see it change, which consists of fused glass wall, stone mosaic, and a stainless steel fence. The artwork, by Doug and Mike Starn, depicts Manhattan topography and was installed in the mezzanine over a period of three years. At the time of the work's installation, it was the most expensive MTA Arts for Transit work ever installed, with a price tag of $1 million.
On October 29, 2012, the new South Ferry station suffered extensive flooding damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. The station was flooded in up to 80 feet (24 m) of salt water, submerging it from the track level to the mezzanine, and turned the station into a "large fish tank," as then-MTA chairman Joseph Lhota described it. As a result, this section of the complex was closed until further notice. The MTA estimated that repairs would cost $600 million and might continue until 2016. The terminal for the routes serving the station was moved back to Rector Street until the old loop station could be put back into service. The old loop station reopened on April 4, 2013, as a temporary replacement until the new station could be restored to revenue service. The connection between the loop station and the rest of the station necessitated the temporary removal of a 20-foot (6.1 m) section of the See it split, see it change artwork.
The station underwent renovations, signal room relocations, and extensive waterproofing work. The $194 million contract was awarded in November 2014 to Judlau Contracting,:39 and the station underwent extensive reconstruction until its reopening. Some undertaken tasks included the installation of retractable floodgates at exits and entrances, the sealing of vents, manholes, hatches, conduits, and ducts, and the cleaning up of the station.:39 These improvements necessitated the closure of the station complex's main entrance for almost a year starting in October 2015.
The renovation cost $345 million.:39 The station reopened on June 27, 2017, four years and eight months after Hurricane Sandy. The opening occurred in time to accommodate new service patterns due to a long-term weekend closure of the Clark Street Tunnel, which diverted weekend 2 trains to South Ferry for one year.
BMT Broadway Line platforms
Whitehall Street–South Ferry
|New York City Subway station (rapid transit)|
|Line||BMT Broadway Line|
|Services|| N (late nights)|
R (all times)
W (weekdays only)
|Platforms||2 island platforms|
|Opened||September 20, 1918|
|Accessible||ADA-accessible to mezzanine only; platforms are not ADA-accessible|
|Former/other names||Whitehall Street|
|Next north||Rector Street: N R W |
|Next south||(Terminal): W |
Court Street: N R W
Whitehall Street–South Ferry on the BMT Broadway Line has three tracks and two island platforms. The outer tracks continue south into the Montague Street Tunnel to the BMT Fourth Avenue Line in Brooklyn, and are used by late-night N trains and daytime R trains. The center track, used to terminate late-night R trains from Brooklyn and weekday W trains from Queens, merges with the outer tracks at both ends of the station.
The station is deep because of two factors: the line goes under the East River directly southeast of the station, and the station exists immediately to the south of the shallower Bowling Green station, which crosses the Broadway Line. The fare control area and transfer to the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line platforms are at the extreme south end of the station, with additional exits at the north end.
South of this station, a pair of bellmouths exists, allowing for a connection to a never-built East River tunnel south of the Montague Street Tunnel, going towards the proposed DeKalb Avenue bypass, using the old LIRR Atlantic Avenue Tunnel or under another street in Brooklyn. Further south is a flying junction joining from Broad Street on the BMT Nassau Street Line (no regular service).
Notable places nearby
- Downtown Manhattan Heliport
- Staten Island Ferry's Whitehall Terminal
- Ferries to Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Governors Island
- Other places in the neighborhood
- The 190-foot (58 m) radius indicates that a full circle of that radius would have a circumference of 1193.805 feet. A typical five-car IRT train is about 257 feet (78 m) long, as opposed to a ten-car train that is 514 feet (157 m) long. The proportion of the train's length to the full circle indicates that the arc is 77.5 degrees.
- However, the South Ferry station did not qualify as a completely new subway station, as it was connected to a pre-existing station. On the other hand, the 34th Street–Hudson Yards station, which opened in 2015, is the first completely new subway station since 1989, since it is standalone and does not connect to any pre-existing stations.
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- "South Ferry Station on Track to Reopen this Summer after Hurricane Sandy Repairs". TWC News. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
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- "W Subway Timetable, Effective November 8, 2020" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
- "Figure 5: South Ferry Terminal Project Conceptual Site Plan" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
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- Stookey, Lee (1994). Subway ceramics : a history and iconography of mosaic and bas relief signs and plaques in the New York City subway system. Brattleboro, Vt: L. Stookey. ISBN 978-0-9635486-1-0. OCLC 31901471.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to South Ferry – Whitehall Street (New York City Subway).|
- South Ferry Terminal Project — Official MTA South Ferry Station Project Page
- MTA's Arts For Transit — South Ferry (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line)
- MTA's Arts For Transit — Whitehall Street (BMT Broadway Line)
- nycsubway.org – IRT West Side Line: South Ferry (loops)
- nycsubway.org – IRT West Side Line: South Ferry
- nycsubway.org – BMT Broadway Line: Whitehall Street–South Ferry
- nycsubway.org — See It Split, See It Change mosaic by Doug and Mike Starn (2007)
- nycsubway.org — Passages mosaic by Frank Giorgini (2000)
- Abandoned Stations — Bowling Green & South Ferry platforms
- MTA Video Release: Old South Ferry Reopening Preparations, Metropolitan Transportation Authority; April 3, 2013; 7:39 YouTube video clip