Court Square Complex
Court Square is a complex with three
connecting stations and 4 subway lines.
The name Court Square is derived from the Long island
City Courthouse on the east side of Jackson Ave at 44th
Drive (into Thomson Ave), the park in front of the courthouse
and the two adjoining streets on the sides of the court
building. The 3
subway stations were constructed separately (with no free
transfers allowed between stations), but in close proximity to
each other within the boundaries of . The G
runs underneath Jackson Ave , the E and
M lines run underneath 44th
and the 7 line, the only elevated
line in this complex, runs over 23rd Street.)
original Court Square station name was assigned to the
G stop on
Jackson Ave, now truncated from the rest of the NYC
Transit System in Queens and is the only full length subway
route which does not run into Manhattan. These three stations
were constructed between 1916 and 1933.
Court Square and the three stations’ origins:
In 1913, the City
of New York purchased the nearby Steinway Tunnels from August
Belmont and proceeded to construct a new subway line between
Manhattan and Queens as part of the Dual (IRT/BMT) contracts,
passing through what would not be part of the IRT elevated
portion of the Court Square complex.
In 1916 the new IRT subway stop, 45th
Road-Courthouse (one word) Square, opened for passenger service.
This station was the Flushing line’s first elevated stop
and is located on 23rd Street between Jackson Ave and
In the 1920’s when the City of New York planned to
compete against the IRT with their new Independent system (IND),
they built two new subway lines in Long Island City, one along
Jackson Ave towards Brooklyn, the other along 44th
Drive from Manhattan where the lines would merge towards Queens
Plaza. On 8/19/1933,
two new IND stations opened, Court Square on the GG line and 23rd
Street-Ely Ave on the E (and later, F) lines.
These IND stations comprise the second and third stations
in the Court Square complex.
The second station, Court Square (opened in 1933) would
be part of the GG line, the only full length regular subway line
which does not run to/from Manhattan (and the current G line,
still does not run to/from Manhattan).
The third station, 23rd Street-Ely Ave would
be the last stop in Queens before trains run under the East
River and then across 53rd Street in midtown
Manhattan. For the
next 57 years, these three stations were not connected until
Citibank constructed an office tower on 44th Drive
between Jackson Ave and 23rd Street, right in close
proximity to all three stations. The officer tower, dubbed
Citigroup or Citibank building, opened in 1990 while a short
time later – as part of the Citibank building – a new
underground transfer was built, connecting the 23rd
Street-Ely Ave station with the Court Square station along with
a new full time entrance from the Citibank building to a fare
control area along the transfer passage and between these two
December, 2001, when the 63rd Street connector
opened, the G line was cutback to Court Square on weekdays only,
because the new V line increased capacity along the Queens Blvd
compensate for this service reduction, two new airport-style
people movers were installed along the passageway between the
G stations along with a new out-of-system (MetroCard
only) transfer between the E/G/V stations underground with the 7
station above ground.. The
G used to run to 179th Street during
late nights while a long term track project affected late night
R service when it ran 24/7 between Brooklyn, Manhattan and
Queens), numerous weekend General Orders (for trackwork),
necessitated the G to run between Court Square and Brooklyn only.
The cutback became permanent due to track capacity in Queens and
due to Manhattan being the bread and butter of the system.
7 Line (Formerly 45th
Road-Courthouse Square) On 23rd Street
at Jackson Ave-
This station was renovated in 2012 with new prefabricated wall
panels, new platform concrete, new canopy windscreens, and a new
mezzanine with ADA access.
This station has two tracks, side platforms, one
mezzanine, and three elevators.
There is no evidence of a second mezzanine at the
northern end of this station.
The prefabricated wall panels have mesh fencing every
5-10 feet, allowing customers to view the buildings and street
next to the station as they wait for the next 7 train.
Windscreens cover 80 percent of the 11 car (approx. 570’)
at south end has full time booth, one stair to each platform
upstairs and two stairs to street level.
One street stair at the Northwest corner of 23rd
Street and 45th Road was removed to install an ADA
elevator to the Manhattan-bound platform.
Inside fare control is the transfer passage downstairs to
the G and E/M stations, all in an enclosed glass passage.
This entrance is maintained by a private business.
Artwork at this station has yet to be installed.
G line (Court Square) On Jackson Ave
at Court Square – Opened 8/29/1933:
This underground station has two track, one island
platform and four stairs from mezzanine to platform. South end
of mezzanine was expanded with ghost booth and sealed mezzanine
area near the 7 line entrance. The
North end has passageway to E/M trains, 7 turnstiles
(with ghost booth) and one exit gate, open 24/7.
This mezzanine has exits to Court Square (east side of
Jackson Ave, in front of Courthouse) and 44th Drive
at Jackson Ave (new entrance when the 1990 free transfer passage
opened), in front of Citibank building.
On the platform, crew and supervisory offices cover what
may be at least one closed staircase from platform to mezzanine.
North end does not have any evidence of closed
Just south of the station is an interlocking system between here
at 21st Street-Van Alst stations, trains pass through
a 3rd center track at least one time to and from the
Court Square terminal while they relay back to Brooklyn.
Between the G mezzanine and E/M mezzanine is
the (approx.) 600 feet long free transfer passage.
The full time entrance leads to the lower level of the Citibank
building and the street exit leads to 44th Drive.
Shuttle buses to the International Design Center of NY
(IDCNY) buildings on Thomson Ave stop in front of the 44th
Drive entrance. This
entrance is wheelchair accessible via. elevator to street.
E/M lines (Formerly 23rd
Street-Ely Ave) – on 44th Drive between
21st and 23rd Streets - Opened 8/29/1933.
This station has two tracks and two side platforms.
Station name tablets remain unchanged since the 1933
opening, making it one of two stations with the original IND
name tablets untouched after a station name change (the other
station is Woodhaven Blvd-Slattery Plaza, now Woodhaven
Blvd-Queens Mall).The IND tile ban at this station is burgundy
red with black borders.
E trains stop here at all times while
M train stop here
between 5:45 AM and 11:30 PM weekdays only.
The exit at the North end leads to the former full time entrance on
44th Drive near 23rd Street - - one
exit-only staircase remains.
South end has a full time booth with two street stairs and
a typical IND mezzanine area where there are steps up and down
to reach the fare control area.
Original 1933 directional tablets have “to Jamaica” “to
Manhattan” at the north mezzanine, and “S. Side 44th
Drive” at the south mezzanine.
There are two artworks commissioned at this
complex. The first
artwork installed is “Temple Quad Reliefs” by Frank Olt. Four
large ceramic murals celebrate the world of architecture and are
set in mural backgrounds.
They are on the platforms and the north mezzanine of the
E/M station area.
The murals are subtitled “The Gothic Circle” which
inspires NYCT customers in their daily travels, and “The Greek
Temple Quad”, which is a symbol of welcome and comfort.
The second artwork is Stream by Elizabeth Murray (2001) which
was installed along the passageway between the G and E/M
bright colors of this artwork evoke the many commuters who use
this passageway. Ms.
Murray has a similar artwork at the lower mezzanine area of the
Street-Lexington Ave (4/5/6/N/Q)