A fake townhouse in Brooklyn Heights hides a subway ventilator
If you’ve been paying attention you might already know this, but those blacked-out windows hide the fact that there’s no house behind the façade of 58 Joralemon St in Brooklyn Heights. Instead, there’s a subway ventilator and an emergency exit, stuck there when the original townhouse was gutted in the first half of the 20th century.
There's a mysterious A/C/E lower level track at Port Authority that was never actually used
NYC has a bunch of abandoned subway stations, like the old Worth St and 18th St stops, plus abandoned platforms in otherwise functioning stations (Hoyt-Schermerhorn, for one). But the abandoned track under the 42nd St Port Authority station might be the strangest of them all. It’s unclear why it was built in the first place, since it never operated as part of the IRT or IND systems. It was apparently used for the special Aqueduct Racetrack train, which ran express to the racetrack from 1959-1981, which actually sounds pretty awesome..
There's a Signal Learning School in the 14th St Station
Not everyone who works on the MTA is a conductor. In fact, the conductor isn’t even the guy who drives the train -- he’s the one who makes sure it’s safe to close the doors and leave the station. The train operator is up front. Then there are the signal maintainers, who are trained at the Signals Learning Center in the 14th St and 8th Ave station, which has a signal light that actually changes color outside the door.
There's a NYPL branch in the Lexington Ave/53rd St station
Need a new book for your morning commute? You can stop by the Terence Cardinal Cooke-Cathedral library -- an adorable little public library branch in the Lexington Ave/53rd St station. Without a street-level sign, it’s one of the MTA’s many secrets. You’ll find it at the entrance to the 6 train at 50th St, though it’s temporarily closed for repairs.