There is a little known subway provision just north of 57th street & 7th avenue station on the present day N/Q/R lines.
North of the station, all present subway service goes down into 2 tracks leading to Queens. However, these 2 track are surrounded by 4 trackways which extend north to Central Park South, and curves slightly to the west. This tunnel was built by the BMT in the 1920s to show how the route could naturally extend into the Central Park West subway line that was only a proposal at the time. In the wake of the BMT’s bankruptcy as a result of the Malbone Street disaster, the contract to build and operate this new west side line went to the IND.
Even after the unification of the BMT, IRT and IND in 1940, no effort was ever made to connect this provision to the west side line. Instead, two of the 4 trackways were eventually connected to the 63rd street tunnel. At present, these tracks are only used by detouring R trains, or to park and turn the occasional Q or N train. For a short time, the connection to the 63rd street tunnel hosted a special S shuttle train. These tracks will eventually host the Q train when the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway opens.
This spot just plain frustrates me.
When I first walked past it one early morning, it was not the main objective of the mission I was on, thus entering would have been a distraction. Furthermore, we had already seen plenty of homeless people abound, and this place featured a long hallway into who knows where that was full or hobo bits and scurrying rats, along with the smell of bum juice and rotting meat. Not exactly what you want to go play with at 6AM on a Sunday…
So it took me awhile to get back to this spot. I had heard that HOU (nypd homeless outreach unit) had clear the bums out, but what I didn’t anticipate was that the MTA would gate up the entrance and clean the place up real good. I found myself kicking myself for not holding my nose, stepping over the human debris and sleeping zombie corpses, to check this place out when I had the chance.
One day I will get to see every part of this spot, but clearly, that won’t be soon…