Best old-school-decrepit subway station (2008)

Chambers Street J-M-Z stop

Ah, time machines! That fantasy of H.G. Wells, the dream of eager physicists tinkering all night with their particle accelerators and theories of relativity! But would-be New York time travelers need only a MetroCard to venture into the past. Just mosey downtown and swipe yours through the turnstile at the Chambers Street J-M-Z stop, then descend to the platform and journey back in time to a grand era of New York decay. For this is indeed the city's best old-school-decrepit subway station. From the rusted staircases that lead to nowhere, to the corroded walls and abandoned platforms, the musty double-height ceilings, dank brown corners, and cracked-tile pillars—the station is a gloriously dilapidated cavern that evokes both the city of the troubled '70s and a Roman ruin: Popeye Doyle would look at home here, and so would the ghost of Vespasian. And all right under Manhattan Borough Hall. Stop by soon if you've never seen it—before some "do-gooder" at the MTA decides that New York is too fancy these days for such a pleasing hellhole.


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