The abandoned subway tunnel beneath Rochester’s Broad Street has become one of the most popular sites for students of architecture and design to test their creative chops. You may remember the ROC Low Line; an underground park designed by a team of RIT students. Soon after that we reviewed a more serious plan to install an underground shopping mall and entertainment venue called Broad Street Underground.
Yet another thought-provoking concept and set of renderings have been shared with us. This one elaborates on the idea of using the interior space as a nightclub, with various (wet and wild) public spaces…
I often get asked if there are tours of the Rochester subway. The short answer is no. The longer answer is while there is no official tour of the “subway,” every October there is usually a tour of the “historic Erie Canal aqueduct.” And it’s coming up this weekend…
Rochester’s old subway tunnel hasn’t seen a passenger car come through here in nearly sixty years. But lately, redevelopment ideas are arriving with unbelievable frequency. A few weeks ago we were talking about the ROC Low Line; an underground park designed by a team of RIT students. This week, another local group has come forward with a different plan. And these guys want to take theirs beyond just an academic study. Stand clear of the yellow line folks – here comes the “Broad Street Underground” concept…
Over the years there have been many proposals for the reuse of Rochester’s abandoned subway tunnel. Some would like to see the tunnel preserved and turned into a living museum open to the public. Others would like to turn back the hands of time even further, converting the tunnel back into a water canal – as it was part of the Erie Canal pre-1920s.
Even today as the City continues to take steps towards the latter option, new ideas continue to surface. The most recent concept comes from RIT’s architectural program, and a very interesting student project being called the ROC Low Line…
Hopefully you caught yesterday’s story, “Rochester’s Adventure in Optimism” about the defunct Rochester subway. If you missed it give it a read. Originally published in the City Newspaper in 1983, the article mentioned the sole surviving subway car, car #60, and the effort to bring it back to Rochester and restore it to working order. Yesterday I received a more detailed explanation of those restoration efforts from Otto M. Vondrak, one of the trustees of the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum in Henrietta, NY. Here’s the story of subway car #60 from Otto…
Sean Kirst began his career as a writer for City Newspaper (he’s now a columnist at Syracuse’s Post Standard ). He says he fell in love with the haunting feel of Rochester’s subway tunnels and was intrigued to learn the subway began taking off just after World War II. But at a critical moment, the system was basically dismantled by community leaders who were already thinking “interstates.” Sean dug into the story and wrote a fairly in-depth story entitled “Rochester’s Adventure in Optimism.” It was published in City Newspaper on June 2, 1983. Thirty years later, City Newspaper has graciously allowed RocSubway to share the story with you again, here…
Last Halloween I posted a ghastly warning about the abandoned Rochester subway tunnel. That warning was sent to us by a reader who claimed he knew people who once lived and died in the tunnel, and that he now feels a strong “spiritual pressure” whenever he returns there.
Jeffrey’s not the only one who feels these strange vibes from the subway tunnel. RochesterSubway.com often receives stories like these from people who claim to have been followed, or chased, out of the defunct subway. Though rarely do we get to see physical evidence of the ghoulish bouncer.
Last week Aaron Killeen sent in this mysterious photo (shown below) and gave a spine-tingling account of a night inside the Rochester subway, which he says he and his friends will not soon forget…
A few months ago two of my readers (I’ll call them Tim and Jeff) contacted me to find out if RochesterSubway.com gave tours of the abandoned subway tunnel. I explained that while I wasn’t in the business of giving tours, I would be happy to go down there with them when the weather warmed up. Tim and Jeff were both on board and I soon posted an “event” on the RochesterSubway.com Facebook page to invite others to join us—cause “safety in numbers” is my credo. Anyway, I figured I’d get 3-6 people to come along and it’d be a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Soon enough that little Facebook event had attracted 43 Yes’s and 55 “Maybe’s”. Oh shit!
Okay so Halloween is fast approaching. I hate the stinking day myself for reasons I won’t get into. But I recognize that most people like a good ghost story so I thought I’d share this. I regularly ask people to send us personal stories and experiences from the Rochester Subway and last summer an individual named Jeffrey Smith sent us a rather blunt warning about the abandoned subway tunnel. Claiming it to be hallowed ground, Jeffrey warns, “Leave it alone, don’t mess with it. It is fine the way it is, we don’t want your stupid shops or anything like that in it. I refuse to go within 100 yards of any of the entrances because of the strong spiritual pressure I feel going there…”
Remember the movie Stand by Me? As I recall there’s barely a plot… four young teenage boys search the countryside for the body of a reported missing person. Along the way they drink, they smoke, they nearly get run off of a railroad bridge by a speeding locomotive yada yada yada. Everyone who’s seen Stand By Me loves it for the same reason—it beckons to a time in our lives when we’re just drifting along in search of a good thrill. A few weeks ago I got an email from a guy named Russ and his story immediately brought back images of that Corey Feldman flick. Russ’ story may never be made into a Stephen King novel or a Hollywood movie, but it takes place inside the Rochester Subway tunnels—between 1965 and 1968—and it’s just plain fun.
Take it away Russ…
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.