One of the more unusual quirks in the NYC subway network had been alleviated by late 2012. After the IND Sixth Avenue Line was constructed in the 1930s, a free transfer was provided in 1957 between the new line and the downtown IRT Lexington Avenue Line, the #6 train, at Bleecker Street. And so it remained for decades.

The MTA finally decided to provide a connection to the uptown 6 a few years ago, and after over three years of construction (that wound up closing the sidewalk and making traffic detours on Houston Street for quite awhile) the new connection was finally made, making the station fully functional.


The new connection to the uptown #6 was made without a lot of new subway decoration or fanfare. There’s some colored neon lighting in hexagonal patterns on the ceiling but that’s about it.

However, the MTA also saw fit to give the IRT Bleecker station a nice new makeover, adding new tiled walls with brick patterns that closely matched the 1904 original, and touchups for the brilliant blue Grueby Faience pottery station ID plaques. They are described in more detail on FNY’s Original 28 subway stations page. These are original Heins and LaFarge design elements.


There’s still something of a rough-and-ready quality, as one of the pottery trim elements has been cut through at a station exit.


Categorized in: Forgotten Slices Subways & Trains Tagged with:


  1. Tal Barzilai says:

    The idea for making a transfer to Broadway-Lafayette Street from the uptown portion of Bleecker Street is not something. The only difference is when they were actually going to build, which wasn’t until recently. I did find it awkward to see a subway station like this one where a free transfer was only available from one side but not the other before this was done. Making this connection did involve a mezzanine that wasn’t even used in the entire station before this.

  2. therealguyfaux says:

    I believe the reason for the decorative element of the hexagons in the ceiling at the Bleecker St station is to depict the subways as a “hive of activity,” i.e., it is supposed to resemble a honeycomb; after all is said and done, i.e. the commuting, something sweet results– one gets to work or one gets home. At least I believe that’s what the artist said in some press throwaway by the MTA. (Of course, that would also imply that most NYer’s are drones, too. May have been a bit subtle for a bureaucracy like the MTA to grasp.)

  3. Michael says:

    “colored neon lighting in hexagonal patterns on the ceiling” is a light sculpture by ? Villarael

  4. Dan S. says:

    >>> When the IND Sixth Avenue Line was constructed in the 1930s, a free transfer was provided between the new line and the downtown IRT Lexington Avenue Line, the #6 train, at Bleecker Street.

    Actually, the transfer between the IND and the downtown IRT was instituted in 1957 (according to Wikipedia). There were just about no free transfers between subway divisions (IRT/BMT/IRT) prior to 1948.

    • Kevin Walsh says:

      Noted …

    • Allan Rosen says:

      I thought the free transfers began in 1940, after system unification, not 1948.

      • Dan S. says:

        The three “divisions” (IRT/BMT/IND, which is what I of course meant to write above) of the subway system were kept mostly separate from each other until 1948, when the fare increased from 5 cents to 10 cents. The transfers at places like Times Square, Union Square, Herald Square, and Queensboro Plaza
        were meant initially to lessen the impact of the fare increase, so that people wouldn’t have to pay 20 cents to ride subway lines of two divisions. At least that is what I have read.

        I believe the only transfers instituted in 1940 were at 155th and 161st Streets, the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium stations, to/from the IND Concourse line, and the ones at Franklin Ave. and Rockaway Ave. (then the terminus) to/from the IND Fulton St. line. The (limited) transfer at Jay St. was added in 1944 when service on the Brooklyn Bridge ended.

        • andy says:

          Correct. When the fare went to a dime in July 1948 the following locations became free transfers between more than one division: 168th Street-Broadway (IRT and IND), 59th Street-Columbus Circle (IRT and IND), 59th Street-Lexington Avenue (IRT and BMT), Times Square (IRT and BMT), 34th Street-Broadway (IND and BMT), 14th Street-Union Square (IRT and BMT), 14th Street-8th Avenue (IND and BMT), Park Place-Chambers Street (IRT and IND), Chambers Street-Brooklyn Bridge (IRT and BMT), Fulton Street-Broadway Nassau (IRT, IND, and BMT), Court Street-Borough Hall (IRT and BMT), Broadway Junction-Eastern Parkway (IND and BMT), Metropolitan Avenue-Lorimer Street (IND and BMT), and 74th Street-Roosevelt Avenue/Jackson Heights (IRT and IND).

          • Kevin Walsh says:

            Were those transfers already built into the system and made free, or did they have to reconfigure the stations to make connections?

          • andy says:

            In most of the cases I listed, the transfers were inside the stations but outside the turnstile areas, so the stations simply needed to be reconfigured to permit the transfer. In the case of Broadway Junction-Eastern Parkway, and 74th st-Roosevelt Ave., I believe that paper transfers were needed intially before passageways were built between the stations. At those two locations, there was a combination of elevated and underground stations that became a free transfer point, so so significant construction was needed to make for a barrier-free transfer. In the interim, paper tickets were used. That was also the case at the Yankee Stadium complex at 161st St. for the same reasons.

          • laura says:

            The station is Broadway Junction- East New York. More recently, just Broadway Junction (they dropped the East New York part). But for my 25+ years of taking the A, I never remember it being ‘Eastern Parkway’…. though there *is* an Eastern Parkway- Brooklyn Museum stop near Prospect-Lefferts Gardens in Brooklyn.

  5. Chee Ef says:

    Maybe the hexagonal pattern is in celebration of…the B(ee) Line?

  6. Keystone Pete says:

    What I’m anxious to see, and just haven’t gotten around to it yet, is the new uptown platform on the IRT at this station and the remnants of the portion now presumably closed because, as I assume, they moved most of the platform to the south of where it was to accommodate the transfer to the IND. The Bleecker Street station used to be staggered, with the uptown plat stretching northward and downtown plat stretching southward from Bleecker, with both congruent for only a small portion of their length. I wonder how long it will take for the old platform walls to be filled with graffiti and debris. Of course, it’ not as creepy as 19th Street or Worth, since those ghost stations were original, while the northerly extentions of the Bleecker St. station was added later and the original style not mirrored all the way up…or if it was, it was covered with refrigerator tile. Not the prettiest, but interesting that there is now another abandoned platform on the IRT. Unless I’m mistaken…

    • FivePoint says:

      The majority of the disused platform has already been bricked up at the platform edge (it looks like they adapted the space as offices or storage rooms). The rest has been gated off.

  7. William H says:

    Much of the mezzanine area of the new uptown 6 entrance was apparently built a long time ago and buried. The entrance on Mulberry St. and Houston was under a slab of concrete. When they removed the slab you could walk down finished stairs past yellowed wall tiles into an unfinished token booth area. This is where you now can find the hexagon ceiling light sculpture. Like the uptown 6 connection, other parts of the Broadway-Lafayette station were planned but never finished. There is another mezzanine on the west side of Broadway that is closed off but a stairway was revealed on the southwest corner of Broadway and Houston when the sidewalks were redone two years ago. It’s possible that a connection to the Prince St. BMT station was being planned since it would be a simple excavation of a few walls would make the transfer possible.

    • Kevin Walsh says:

      I was wondering why they couldn’t do a Prince Street connection and make it a real superstation

      • William H says:

        Another entrance on the west side of Broadway would have meant another token booth. Plus the connection might have been decided as redundant due to the connections lower in Manhattan at Canal St. and higher at Herald Sq.

  8. Tal Barzilai says:

    I do know where there are two subway stations that don’t give a free transfer despite having the way for it. If you go to where the 3 stops at Junnis Street and the L stops at Livonia Street over in Brooklyn, there is actually a walkway that goes between the two. However, the MTA doesn’t allow for a free transfer there despite that. All they have to do there is just extend the fare control to make it happen, and it won’t even involve a lot of work there. Just look at the link, and you will see what I am talking about.


    • Someone says:

      Also, there is a non-free ransfer between 47/50 St on the B/D/F/M and 49 St on the N/Q/R.

      There isn’t enough traffic to justify either transfer.

  9. Someone says:

    Well, at least this station has new elevators…

  10. At the very least it is more informative than one of our reality
    Television stars, kim who? Joey what?

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