Secret NYC Tunnels: The Unknown Underground World of the City

The NYC underground transit system has been around for a couple of years, almost 112 years to be exact! When something has been around and in use for that long, it has probably got a few secrets to hide. This list is here to bring some of the top secrets of the NYC subway to light.

How to Price a Ride
Any tourist to New York would have to do some extensive research to find the price of a ride on the subway, and may even have to get in line to pay at a ticket machine before they know. The natives of New York, well they just grab a slice. It’s not an official price measurement but for some reason for the over the last 50 years in NYC, the price of a ticket and a single slice of pizza have been relatively, if not exactly, the same. The reason for this principle, known as the New York pizza connection, remains a mystery but its accuracy allows it to still be one of the most famous examples of street side economics to this day.

A Crime Against Oral Hygiene
Beginning in 1953, the subway system started using tokens as their form of currency because their turnstiles couldn’t deal with multiple coin types. When using tokens, it quickly became a criminal practice to try to steal them. The most effective way to do this, believe it or not, was for a criminal to use their mouth to suck them back out of the turnstiles. Booth clerks quickly caught on and thought up a quick solution involving a mix of chili powder and pepper spray in the token slots. Now days, Metrocards have not only made this form of crime obsolete, but can even be used as an alibi due to their individual swipe tracking.

Money Train’s a Comin’
For 55 years until 2006, the MTA ran an armored money train that collected all the transit system fares through the use of armored money cars. These trains would run six nights a week picking up funds from 25-40 stations on their routes, returning the funds to a secret room on 370 Jay Street. These cars were a force to be reckoned with always coming in two car trains, one full of money and the other full of thirteen armed collecting agents!

The Secret Subway
Walking through Brooklyn Heights, you may have noticed a brownstone townhouse that might appear just a little suspicious. That is because it is actually a fake cover for a subway ventilation and emergency exit shaft maintained by the MTA. The fake townhouse in Brooklyn is just one of many scattered throughout New York, but it is not the only secret building the subway is hiding. There is also a secret subway platform under the Waldorf- Astoria building that is used as a sort of VIP platform and has even been used by FDR.