is an express station
on the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line
of the New York City Subway
. Located at the intersection of 96th Street
on the Upper West Side
, it is served by the , , and trains at all times.
96th Street station was part of the original IRT subway and opened on the inaugural date of October 27 1904
. At the time, the station served as the terminus of local trains and express service; express trains would run as locals to 145th Street
Design and layout
Currently, 96th Street operates in the same manner as other normal express stations in the subway system. There are two island platforms that allow for cross-platform interchanges between local (outer tracks) and express (inner tracks) trains heading in the same direction, in this case uptown or downtown. However, because the and branch off north of the station from the main line rather than running alongside the , this function is only present at the downtown platforms where the local-express system is in place. Thus, 96th Street functions as both a switching point and an interchange for passengers wishing to transfer for a train to a different uptown terminal.
During normal service, downtown local trains use track B1 and downtown express train use track B2. Uptown express trains (in actuality IRT Lenox Avenue Line trains) use track B3 and uptown local trains use track B4. These track designations are not colloquially used; rather, they come from the chaining of each individual track used to measure distance by train crews on the subway.
Access to the station is from stairways along the sidewalks of Broadway to the extreme north end of the side platforms, then to the center island platforms via an underpass. A former public restroom now being used as a community center in the median of Broadway north of 96th is sometimes mistaken for a former subway station headhouse; however, this structure was built decades after the subway station, and conforms to the design of other public restroom buildings in New York City, rather than to the design of IRT subway headhouses such as 72nd Street.
North of 96th Street station, the express tracks descend and turn east under 104th Street on their way to the IRT Lenox Avenue Line and the Bronx, while the local tracks remain on the upper level. After the express tracks turn off, a currently unused center track starts at approximately 100th Street.
Unused side platforms
The station's configuration, with both island and side platforms, is unusual in the New York City Subway. As originally intended, the island platforms facilitated an easy transfer between local and express trains, while the shorter side platforms provided easy access from local trains to the street. This design was also utilised at Brooklyn Bridge
and 14th Street
on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line
. When the subway first opened, it was possible to open both sides of the train at once but more modern trains made this situation rather cumbersome and thus the side platforms were closed for the sake of convenience.
The station was renovated in 1950 to accommodate longer trains. It was both extended and widened. The extent of the original station is clearly visible, as the renovation was not done in the same style. Differences in the walls and ceiling are visible at the south end. The creation of the new entrance at 94th Street was the direct cause for closing 91st Street station, as it would have been pointless to lengthen it for 10-car local trains with an adjacent station only a few blocks away.
Entrances and exits
As 96th Street is a major transfer point, there are two sets of entrances and exits at the station. For the purposes of this article, entrance and exit are interchangeable unless otherwise specified. It is important to note that unlike more recent stations, these entrance points are not connected; they can only be reached upon exiting the station at one of its ends. These distinctions are noted on the platforms.
96th Street exits: There are two staircases each at the southeastern and southwestern corners of 96th Street and Broadway. Although fare control is at platform-level (on the unused side platforms), there is a free cross-under at this end of the station upon entering the paid area. This is due to an important sewer pipe which prevented engineers from building a mezzanine level similar to other express stations.
94th Street exits: There are two staircases each at the southeastern and southwestern corners of 94th Street and Broadway. There is no free cross-under at this end of the station; however, upon entering the paid area, a cross-under is possible at the northbound ends of each platform.
In July 2006, Manhattan Community Board 7
approved an $80 million renovation of the station. Construction started in 2007. Plans call for a new headhouse between 96th and 95th streets, with staircases and elevators leading directly to the platforms, while the underpass will remain for transfers between platforms. The side platforms will become office and control space, and the entrances removed to accommodate narrowed sidewalks resulting from the roadway being displaced by the new headhouse and its island. Local residents have voiced dissatisfaction with the significant loss of sidewalks adjacent to businesses.
- 96th Street Station is the location of a chase scene in The Warriors.