Herald Square Complex
This complex serves the BMT N/R/Q/W lines with the IND B/D/F and V
lines. In addition, the complex has indoor connections to PATH's
33rd Street station (additional fare required), and
Pennsylvania Station is within walking distance from this station.
Other points of interest that is either just outside the station complex
or with walking distance are: Macy's, Manhattan Mall, Empire State
Building, and the Garment District.
The complex has a series of passageways, and numerous closed/sealed
areas, there are plenty of visible and not-so-visible secrets abound at
this complex. There is also plenty of artwork, including an
interactive "hands on" permanent exhibit on the BMT platforms. The BMT
station came first while the IND and the expansion of the north
mezzanine at 34th /35th Streets, took place in
1940. A renovation took place in 1989, which included a new
transfer passageway on the south side at 32nd Street.
The renovation also retains almost all of the 1940's IND mosaics tablets
along the north mezzanine and concourse areas. Both stations are
express stops, with 4 tracks on 2 island platforms and the complex is
fully ADA accessible by exiting/entering the north mezzanine ONLY.
The south mezzanine is not W/C or ADA accessible.
BMT Broadway Line (on Broadway between 34th and 32nd Streets) opened
4/14/1918: Each platform has 1 staircase to the south mezzanine,
and 3 staircases to the north mezzanine. Unlike the complex maze
of the IND, the BMT side is relatively simple, with on mid-concourse
levels. The south end has a P/T booth that leads to Greeley Square
and West 32nd St/Broadway, it has 3 street stairs.
There is a passageway outside fare control that leads to the PATH 33rd
Street station, and a newly constructed passageway inside fare control
that leads to the IND side at West 32nd Street. Viewing
at the PATH end is artwork hanging over the IND south mezzanine "Halo"
by Nicholas Pearson (1991) shows different planets in their fixed state.
At the south end, the N/B platform is slightly depressed from the S/B
platform; there is also a low overhead ceiling. This suggests that
there may have been a long closed passageway to the north mezzanine
area, but it is unconfirmed at this point. The interactive artwork
on both platforms is titled "REACH New York" by artist and composer
Christopher Janney (1998). It is a fascinating display of soothing
music and reflective light, there are 8 reflectors facing the express
track, and 8 red LED dots facing the local track. As you raise
your hand over one of the reflectors or beams, you "interrupt" the beam,
and a musical chime goes off. Keep waving your hand in rapid
succession, and musical chimes, with the pleasant background sounds
of animals in a tropical forest, soothe your ears and mind. While
some of the beams are not working, most are and you can have fun playing
music and composer while waiting for your train. The "34" mosaic
is retained during the late 1980's renovation and platform extensions
are to the north. The ADA elevators are also at the north end of
IND Sixth Avenue Line (On Avenue
of Americas between 32nd and 34th Streets)
When the IND Sixth Ave line opened, the north mezzanine was
expanded along with a complicated array of ramps, staircases, escalators
and elevators. The platforms are the deepest in the entire
complex, and have escalators that are being rebuilt; one set of
escalators at the south end is being removed and replaced with
stairways. During the 1980's renovation, the walls were covered
with modern red and gray "34" mosaics and tile designs, no trace of the
orange IND tile band is visible anymore. The platform has a steep
hill at both ends; also the elevators are at the far north end.
The south mezzanine is easy to use; there is a staircase to 6th Ave, and
entrance inside Manhattan Mall, and another up staircase to the PATH
station. The north mezzanine is much more complex, all of the
staircases lead to a center mezzanine with 2 up ramps, then another 2 up
ramps to the north mezzanine. One ramp leads to the 34th Street
side while another other leads to the 35th Street side. All 4
escalators lead directly from platform level to the mezzanine area.
Artwork on lower concourse level, at north end: "Yab Yum" by David
Provan (1992) uses rotating steel objects to create a windmill effect
when wind resistance from any N/B train comes into the station.
Each time an N/B train arrives and departs from the station, the wind
rotates the shovel-like object is a clockwise or counter-clockwise
motion. Also at the bottom of the concourse level are preserved
IND directional tablets on both sides. At the north mezzanine, a
brown brick wall travels along from 34th Street to 35th
Street and faces the ramps to concourse level. This is actually
artwork, titled "Radiant Site" by Michelle Oka Doner (1991). There
is an active tower at the far north end of the Uptown platform.
Now the exits and fare control areas at the north mezzanine:
F/T booth is at West side of 34th Street and Broadway; it
has 2 street stairs and is the busiest section in the entire complex (it
is outside Macy's, of course). Another F/T area is at the south side in
front of Manhattan Mall and West 32nd Street/Broadway. A
passageway outside fare control connects theses areas (along with closed
areas to be discussed later), along with access to the PATH system.
This area used to be closed during late night, however because of
required ADA access; the passageway is open 24/7.
P/T booth areas are the east side of 34th Street and 6th
Ave, along with 2 street stairs, and West 35th Street along
with street stairs along Broadway and Sixth Avenue. An outside
fare control passageway connects both areas. One of the IND
tablets from the original 1940's opening is preserved at the 35th Street
end of this passageway and reads "...to H & M Tunnels", the predecessor
to today's PATH system. The H & M stands for Hudson and Manhattan
not the department store of the same, because PATH/H & M trains cross
underneath the Hudson River to New Jersey.
Now for the good stuff, the closed passageways and staircases. There
are numerous of areas inside this complex that were closed over the past
35 years, here are the following and all areas listed below are outside
Walking tour: Start at the Broadway and West 32nd
Street end (by the BMT side a Greeley Square), and use the outside fare
control passageway to the PATH area. Make a right behind the
newsstand and walk down the passageway to 34th Street.
Enter the system here and explore the rest of the station.