As a fellow photographer grabs a shot of the Heins & LaFarge artwork at Old City Hall Station, a No. 6 train passes through on its U-turn back to Brooklyn Bridge Station. The subway train will not stop. Trains have not taken on passengers at the Old City Hall since 1945 and hence could be aptly described as a ghost station. The sharpness of the curve on this loop, coupled with the extended length of modern subway cars has yielded a yawning gap between the center doors and platform. It was undoubtedly decided that allowing unwitting passengers to step out of the cars on to the third rail below would be bad for business.
While the station is only accessible through a very limited set of Transit Museum tours, there is another way to catch a glimpse of the finest station in New York City's first subway line. At the southern terminal for the No. 6 Train (Brooklyn Bridge) an obliging conductor (if you ask nicely) may allow you to stay on the train while it makes its routine U-Turn to the Brooklyn Bridge north-bound platform. On this loop, the train passes through Old City Hall station. The incandescent lights in the station will probably be off – but with strong midday sun, portions of the station shine beautifully with the natural light entering from the skylights above.