181st Street (IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line)

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181st Street
"1" train
New York City Subway rapid transit station
181 Street 1 train 2 vc.jpg
Station statistics
Address West 181st Street & Saint Nicholas Avenue
New York, NY 10033
Borough Manhattan
Locale Washington Heights
Coordinates 40°50′56″N 73°56′02″W / 40.849°N 73.934°W / 40.849; -73.934Coordinates: 40°50′56″N 73°56′02″W / 40.849°N 73.934°W / 40.849; -73.934
Division A (IRT)
Line IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line
Services       1 all times (all times)
Transit connections Bus transport NYCT Bus: M3, Bx3, Bx11, Bx13, Bx35, Bx36
Bus transport GWB Bus Station (at 179 St)
Structure Underground
Depth 120 feet (37 m)
Platforms 2 side platforms
Tracks 2
Other information
Opened May 30, 1906; 110 years ago (1906-05-30)
Accessible The mezzanine is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, but the platforms are not compliant ADA-accessible to mezzanine only; platforms are not ADA-accessible
Wireless service Wi-Fi and cellular service is provided at this station[1]
Passengers (2015) 3,779,275[2]Increase 0.8%
Rank 135 out of 422
Station succession
Next north 191st Street: 1 all times
Next south 168th Street: 1 all times

181st Street Subway Station (IRT)
MPS New York City Subway System MPS
NRHP Reference # 05000224[3]
Added to NRHP March 30, 2005

181st Street is a local station on the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line of the New York City Subway. Located at the intersection of St. Nicholas Avenue and 181st Street in Washington Heights, Manhattan, it is served by the 1 train at all times.


Track layout
to 191 St
to 168 St

The West Side Branch of the first subway was extended northward to a temporary terminus of 221st Street and Broadway on March 12, 1906 with the station at 181st Street not yet open.[4][5] The 181st Street station opened on May 30, 1906, and on this date express trains on the Broadway branch began running through to 221st Street, eliminating the need to transfer at 157th Street to shuttles.[6]

In 1948, platforms on the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line from 103rd Street to 238th Street were lengthened to 514 feet to allow full ten-car express trains to platform. Previously the stations could only platform six car local trains. The platform extensions were opened in stages. On April 6, 1948, the stations from 103rd Street to Dyckman Street had their platform extensions opened, with the exception of the 125th Street, which had its extension opened on June 11, 1948.[7][8]

Station layout[edit]

G Street level Exit/Entrance
(Elevators in mezzanine. Note: Platforms and street level are not accessible)
M Mezzanine Fare control, station agent
Platform level
Side platform, doors open on the right
Northbound "1" train toward Van Cortlandt Park–242nd Street (191st Street)
Southbound "1" train toward South Ferry (168th Street)
Side platform, doors open on the right
Street stair

This station, which is 120 feet (37 m) below the surface, has four elevators and a footbridge connecting the two side platforms at the northern end of the station. When the station opened on May 30, 1906,[6] there had only been two elevators on the station's east side, but in 1909, two more elevators were added to the west side.[9] There is evidence of manually-operated double-deck elevators as well as two closed footbridges toward the southern end of the station.[10]

There is only a set of emergency stairs for emergency egress in case of a fire, so all riders must take an elevator at to enter or exit the station except in emergencies.

The station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.[3] As part of the Multiple Property Submission of the Historic Resources of the New York City Subway System, the 181st Street Station is significant in the areas of transportation, community planning, engineering, and architectural design.


There are two exits to this station at either eastern corner of St. Nicholas Avenue and 181st Street. The northeast-corner entrance is inside a building and the southeast-corner entrance is on the street.[11]

The station serves Yeshiva University and the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal.[11]

Ceiling collapses[edit]

During construction[edit]

Station view before the 2009 ceiling collapse

During the station's construction in the mid-1900s, the Fort George Mine Tunnel was being built to take the Interborough Rapid Transit Company's Broadway–Seventh Avenue line through upper Manhattan. Due to the steep terrain, the tunnel had to be mined using explosives. During construction on October 24, 1903, a 300-ton boulder, weakened by such an explosive, gave way, killing 10 miners.[12] Six miners were killed instantly, while eight were injured; four later died of their injuries.[13] The dead miners consisted of eight Italian immigrants, the foreman from Italy, and an electrician from Germany.[14]

2009 collapse[edit]

On August 16, 2009, at around 10:30 pm, a 25-foot section of the bricks lining the roof of the station collapsed onto both uptown and downtown tracks and platforms. It fell from the 35 foot high curved ceiling. Nobody was injured at the time of the incident.[12] This caused suspension of the 1 service between 168th Street and Dyckman Street stations in both directions for eight days. The MTA was providing free shuttle bus service between 168th Street and Dyckman for that period.[15][16] Full end-to-end service on the 1 was restored on August 24, 2009, except that trains were skipping the 181st Street station.[16] The station reopened to passengers on August 31, 2009.[17][18]

There was also a partial ceiling collapse at the same station in 2007, according to Judith M. Kunoff, Chief Architect for the NYC Transit Authority.[19]

According to NY1, the repairs to the station cost $30 million and did not start until the end of 2012.[20]

There is also an additional closed passageway at the south end of the station that leads to the at the southeast corner of 174th Street and Fort Washington Ave.

Bus service[edit]

The station and the nearby George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal are served by ten local MTA Regional Bus Operations routes and various interstate bus routes.[21][22]

Route Operator North/West Terminal South/East Terminal via notes
Local Bus Routes
M4 New York City Bus The Cloisters or Fort Tryon Park Penn Station Broadway and Fifth Avenue Bus only runs to the Cloisters when the museum is open; it only runs to Fort Tryon Park at all other times.
M5 New York City Bus Broadway at West 179th Street South Ferry Riverside Drive, Fifth Avenue, and Broadway
M98 LTD New York City Bus Fort Tryon Park 68th Street/Lexington Avenue Harlem River Drive and Lexington Avenue Bus only runs during rush hours.
M100 New York City Bus West 220th Street/Broadway, Inwood East 125th Street/First Avenue, East Harlem Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues
Bx3 New York City Bus 238th Street station, Riverdale, Bronx West 179th Street east of Broadway University Avenue
Bx7 New York City Bus West 263rd Street/Riverdale Avenue, Riverdale, Bronx 168th Street station Broadway, Johnson Avenue, Henry Hudson Parkway
Bx11 New York City Bus West 179th Street west of Broadway Simpson Street station, Longwood, Bronx 170th Street
Bx13 New York City Bus West 179th Street west of Broadway Bronx Terminal Market (extended to Third Avenue/163rd Street, rush hours) Ogden Avenue and Yankee Stadium
Bx35 New York City Bus West 179th Street east of Broadway Simpson Street station, Longwood, Bronx 167th & 169th Street's
Bx36 New York City Bus West 179th Street west of Broadway Olmstead Avenue/Seaward Avenue, Castle Hill, Bronx 174/180th Streets
Other bus routes
George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal routes Various George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal


  1. ^ "NYC Subway Wireless – Active Stations". Transit Wireless Wifi. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  2. ^ "Facts and Figures: Annual Subway Ridership". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  3. ^ a b "NPS Focus". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved November 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ New York Times, Farthest North in Town by the Interborough, January 14, 1907, page 18
  5. ^ District, New York (State) Public Service Commission First (1913-01-01). Report of the Public Service Commission for the First District of the State of New York. J.B. Lyon Company. 
  6. ^ a b "Express to 221st Street: Will Run In the Subway To-day–New 181st Street Station Ready.". Retrieved 2016-09-01. 
  7. ^ Report for the three and one-half years ending June 30, 1949. New York City Board of Transportation. 1949. 
  8. ^ "More Long Platforms – Five Subway Stations on IRT to Accommodate 10-Car Trains". The New York Times. 1948-07-10. p. 8. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  9. ^ "The New York Times: Friday April 23, 1909". NYTimes.com. 1909-04-23. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  10. ^ Pirmann, David; Darlington, Peggy. "IRT West Side Line: 181st Street". www.nycsubway.org. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  11. ^ a b "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Washington Heights" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2016. 
  12. ^ a b Dwyer, Jim (2009-08-18). "Subway Station Ceilings Were Built to Last, but Not Forever". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  13. ^ Roess, R.P.; Sansone, G. (2012). The Wheels That Drove New York: A History of the New York City Transit System. Springer Tracts on Transportation and Traffic. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 166. ISBN 978-3-642-30484-2. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  14. ^ "American Experience . Technology . New York Underground . Death Beneath the Streets". PBS. Retrieved 2016-07-16. 
  15. ^ "Subway station repairs to take days". WABC-TV news. August 18, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  16. ^ a b Grynbaum, Michael M. (August 24, 2009). "Service on No. 1 Subway Line Is Largely Restored". The New York Times. Retrieved August 24, 2009. 
  17. ^ "No. 1 Line Service Restored to 181st Street". Metropolitan Transit Authority. August 30, 2009. Archived from the original on September 3, 2009. Retrieved August 31, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Subway Misery Has Express Stop At 181st Street". NY1. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  19. ^ Dwyer, Jim (August 18, 2009). "Subway Station Ceilings Were Built to Last, but Not Forever". The New York Times. Retrieved August 24, 2009. 
  20. ^ Redwine, Tina (October 11, 2011). "Washington Heights Straphangers Annoyed At Long-Delayed Subway Station Repairs". NY1. Retrieved October 12, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Manhattan Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  22. ^ "Bronx Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-29. 

External links[edit]