For whatever reason I’ve never bothered to post photos of this station, despite myself and Ntwrkguy being the first to explore the place mere hours after it closed.
In the early 2000s, the MTA began ‘simplifying’ the J/M/Z tunnel through lower manhattan. This former 4 track route was being cut back to 2 in service tracks (the former southbound ‘express’ and local tracks), with a third being the former northbound (Queens bound) local track.
I say “Express” because all of the stations on this route had platforms for trains on the middle ‘express’ tracks to stop on.
The goal of the simplification project was to allow for the abandonment of two former Queens bound platforms – at Bowery and Canal.
Canal Street’s History
The Canal street platform was a particularly strange one. The two ‘express’ tracks ended here. At the south end of the station there was a walkway where passengers could cross between the Brooklyn and Queens bound platforms. This passageway was blown out in 2002 to make way for the new alignment of the Queens-bound track (into the former stub ended Brooklyn bound express track).
By 2004 the former Queens bound platforms were closed to the public. We were the only crew actively exploring subway tunnels at the time, and those who occasionally went tunneling didn’t know these platforms were being abandoned – so it was a relatively easy win to get in first.
What we found were platforms left exactly as they were when the last passenger train rolled through: signs still in place, minimal graffiti.
We also found a subway entrance that seemed to have been abandoned in the late 1990s. The old token booth was left in place, and intact. This was a non-standard token booth, covered in orange tile very similar in look to those found at the Broadway/49th street station (which was renovated with them in 1973)
Today the station still sits in silence. The last time I tried to visit, the lights were still on, and I could see a strange combination of a seated man reading a paper and a shirtless man wandering around the platform, seemingly bored. Workers? Cops? Crazy people? I wasn’t about to find out – I don’t run subway tunnels to socialize.