The Abandoned Cortlandt Street station and the 9/11 Line

Published on: July 13th, 2006 | Last updated: November 9, 2015 Written by:

On September 11, 2001, the tunnel used by the 1 train in lower manhattan was destroyed through the world trade center site. Debris and iron beams punched through the ceiling of the tunnel, partially caving in the Cortlandt street station and sections of tunnel between stations.



Photos of the destroyed tunnel

Within a year, the tunnel was rebuilt, allowing the 1 train to service South Ferry station once again. The station at Cortlandt though remained closed, as it was right under the trade center site (which took months to clear and then became one large construction site).

We were, of course, curious what remained of the old station, and what changes had taken place in the tunnels leading to it.


The Abandoned Cortlandt Street Station.

When we arrived, the station was walled off from being seen by passing trains. Just inside the wall, the station platforms had been stripped of tiles, benches and trash cans.


What sat above the platforms though was a very eerie space.


The station entrance remained, largely intact, and still covered in gray 9/11 dust.



The token booth also remained.



And on the station walls, search markings were painted, from first responder search crews who searched the tunnel in the days after 9/11.

This entrance, just after 9/11


Back down on the platform, new beams were installed where the station collapsed.


Further into the tunnel, a Revs page was destroyed during reconstruction. You can see some of his distinct handstyle scrawled on the beams.




The emergency exit between Cortlandt and Rector streets contained some very old graffiti, as well as the more ominous 9/11 search party markings.

And finally, at the end of the line just north of (old) South Ferry station, a new tunnel was being built, connecting this subway line to a very new full sized terminal station being built with federal reconstruction money. This station was to replace the old ‘loop track’ south ferry platform, which could only fit 5 subway cars.


*Update: After a ridiculous amount of government squabbling (and money-wasting), the Cortlandt street is rumored to be reopening in 2018 – a full 17 years after it was closed. The new South Ferry station was open for a short time before being destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. It is slowly being rebuilt and may reopen in 2017. Assuming this happens, the ‘New’ South Ferry terminal would have been built, destroyed, and rebuilt again before Cortlandt street.

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  • About The Author

    Bad Guy Joe

    Bad Guy Joe
    Bad Guy Joe knows more about the NYC underground than anyone else on or below the surface of this planet. He has spent nearly 30 years sneaking into NYC's more forbidden locations. When not underground, he's probably bitching about politicians or building something digital. 
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