Over the last few weeks I’ve been in some classic New York buildings, including 30 Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building and the Port Authority building. What I found interesting about these three buildings, beyond their massive size, was that subways open directly into their lobbies (Update 5/24/11: As one commenter notes, the Empire State Building doesn’t actually have a subway that opens into it — not sure where I came up with that). Curious, I emailed my friend and self-styled NYC transit expert Ian Westcott to see if he’d ever seen a full list. Reprinted with permission, here’s his reply:
Oh man, good question! There are a bunch of them I think. I don’t believe there is a list anywhere though.
A few off the top of my head:
- Canal St A/C/E has an exit into the AT&T building
- Jay St-Metrotech A/C/F/R has an exit into 370 Jay, which used to be an MTA building but is currently abandoned
- 34th St N/Q/R/B/D/F/V exits into Manhattan Mall (there is a closed passageway underground, owned by the mall, that once connected to Penn Station)
- South Ferry 1/Whitehall R exits into the Staten Island Ferry terminal
- 28th St 6 exits into the New York Life building
- Penn Station & Grand Central subways have numerous connecting exits, obvs
- Wall St 4/5 exits into a couple buildings
- There’s an exit into a Duane Reade at 42nd and 8th (A/C/E, PABT)
- Astor Place (6) exits to Kmart
- Clark St 2/3 – the elevators exit into a strip mall in the ground floor of the Hotel St. George. That’s one of my favorites actually, it’s really weird.
I think they’re more common in older buildings where developers saw subway access as a thing of value and not a source of riffraff. Nowadays if a building encompasses a subway exit it usually shunts it off to the sidewalk (see Union Sq, Broadway/Lafayette, etc). Also there are numerous cases of entrances that were bricked over by the property owner and are now flat walls or utility closets.
Up at 50th there’s even a library branch in the subway.