195 BROADWAY EXIT, Fulton Street

There’s been a lot of “ink” and cyberink spilled lately regarding the new Fulton Transit Center, which is basically a new headhouse with rearranged passageways that links the BMT, IND and IRT in Lower Manhattan. Personally, at first glance, I find the place a bit cold and dystopian, but I realize they weren’t going to build the kind of station I’d prefer, with plenty of mosaic tiling, terra cotta and wood paneling.

The good part is, though, that one such station already exists in the IRT portion of the complex, in the Fulton Street station serving the #4 and #5 trains, opened in January 1905. Colorful plaques depict the Clermont, Robert Fulton’s steamship, as well as engraved signs, ornate station identification, fluted columns, and ornamentation found in Beaux Arts era in which it was built.

This exit led to #195 Broadway, the former home of American Telephone & Telegraph as well as Western Union. The building was completed in 1916, so this entrance/exit was built about a decade after the station opened. It used to be functional, but I’m not sure when it closed; perhaps it was during the just-completed station renovations, and maybe it will reopen sometime.


7 Responses to 195 BROADWAY EXIT, Fulton Street

  1. FivePoint says:

    Considering that the MTA decided to place an escalator directly in front of the former exit, any future reopening seems unlikely at best…

    • Danny S. says:

      Yes, very unlikely. The fact that you have to show ID to even walk through the lobby of that building would also argue against any such reopening.

  2. Ross Coe says:

    I go past that grand entrance 2xday. As it empties onto a new escalator staircase, I don’t see how it could be re-opened. Re-purposed perhaps as a shadow box or window display (am I reminded of something Gimbels-oriented??), but no “This Way to the Egress” signs in its future.

  3. Jeff B. says:

    It is no surprise that there was a direct entrance into the AT&T building. Remember, not so much when that entrance was added, but definitely later on, AT&T, aka: The Phone Company, Ma Bell, et al, was such a force, that people likened it to a branch of the government or a whole other government unto itself. Even into the 70’s and 80’s people felt that way; e.g.: Dr.Kananga in 1973’s Live and Let Die: “…leaving myself and the phone company the only two going monopolies in this nation for years to come.” In addition, in the early 80’s, on an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, Dr. Johnny Fever was running from “The Phone Cops” after smashing a phone to smithereens.

    • Ken B. says:

      In the earllier days of the subway system, well before today’s security concerns, it was common for major buildings to have direct connections into their buildings. Some have been closed, like the one at the AT&T Building and the one at the Knickerbocker Hotel. Others are still in regular use, like the Equitable Building and Rockefeller Center and Lincoln Center.
      Direct connections, both abandoned and in use, are all around us.

  4. Tom V says:

    I wonder if the stairway down to the trains is still open in the lobby of 110 William Street. I recall it lead to the Fulton St. stop for the IRT.

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