The 125th Street station on the #1 Line, the 7th Avenue IRT, sits above Broadway and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard (West 125th Street) It is the sole remaining elevated subway station in Manhattan south of Dyckman Street.
In the distance is the new Columbia University Jerome L. Greene Science Center. Designed by architect Renzo Piano (of the NY Times building) and constructed with the aid of a $250M grant by the Jerome L. Greene Foundation (a prominent Columbia U. graduate, philosopher and investor) to host the university’s neuroscience labs. The new building will serve as the home to over 800 scientists and researchers, including undergraduate students and world-renowned specialists, according to CU. It also includes a community education lab and wellness center.
Why is this station the sole elevated station in most of Manhattan? The answer lies in topography. In 1900, when the IRT subway was designed and began construction, engineers had to make a decision about what to do with Manhattan Valley: run the subway deep beneath it, or keep it level and bridge it over the gap? They chose the latter, and we have a beautiful arch bridge completed for the subway line in 1904.
It’s not the only handsome elevated structure in the vicinity. A block away, a picturesque iron bridge, completed in 1900, carries Riverside Drive above Manhattan Valley.