Hudson Terminal
Hudson Terminals 1912) (14596469577) (cropped).jpg
Hudson Terminal towers in 1912
LocationManhattan, New York
Line(s)Park Place – Hudson Terminal
OpenedJuly 19, 1909
ClosedJuly 6, 1971
Electrified(DC) Third Rail
Former services
Preceding station Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Following station
Exchange Place
toward Park Place
Park Place – Hudson Terminal Terminus

Hudson Terminal was a rapid transit station and office-tower complex in Manhattan, New York City. The terminal, which contained five tracks and three platforms, was located in the Lower Manhattan neighborhood of Radio Row and served the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad (H&M) . The two 22-story office skyscrapers above the terminal were among the world's largest when the H&M terminal opened in 1909.

In 1962, as part of the construction of the World Trade Center, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey took over the H&M railroad, rebranding it as the PATH, and agreed to demolish Hudson Terminal to make way for the World Trade Center. Hudson Terminal closed in 1971 and was mostly demolished by 1972. It was replaced by the original World Trade Center, a business complex of seven buildings dedicated to international trade, and its PATH station.


Original H&M plan

In January 1905, the Hudson Companies was incorporated for the purpose of completing the Uptown Hudson Tubes, which were under construction between Jersey City, New Jersey, and Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The Hudson Companies would also build the Downtown Hudson Tubes between Exchange Place, in Jersey City, and Hudson Terminal, at the corner of Church and Cortlandt Streets in Lower Manhattan.[1] The Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Company was incorporated in December 1906 to operate a passenger railroad system between New York and New Jersey via the Uptown and Downtown Tubes.[2][3] The system was originally designed to connect four of the five passenger railroad terminals that lined the western shore of the Hudson River waterfront: Hoboken, Pavonia, Exchange Place and Communipaw (the last of which was ultimately not connected); Weehawken was not included. It augmented the extensive ferry crossings.

Following the announcement of the Downtown Tubes, the rate of real estate purchases increased around Hudson Terminal's future location.[4] The terminal would consist of a pair of office buildings located above the tube's spacious eastern terminal.[5][6][7] Land acquisition for the buildings started in December 1905,[8] The office buildings were developed starting in 1907. At the time, there was a lot of office space being developed in Lower Manhattan, even as the area saw a decrease in real-estate transactions.[9] However, by 1908, tenants had started moving into the towers.[10]:326 The Beaux-Arts train terminal opened on July 19, 1909.[11][12]

An advertisement for the Hudson Terminal

The Downtown Tubes had opened on the same day as the Hudson Terminal station.[11] Upon opening, the tubes were instantly popular with New Jersey residents who wanted to travel to New York City.[11] By 1914, passenger volume at Hudson Terminal had reached 30,535,500 annually.[13] Passenger volumes nearly doubled by 1922, with 59,221,354 passengers that year.[14]

H&M ridership declined substantially from a high of 113 million riders in 1927 to 26 million in 1958, after new automobile tunnels and bridges opened across the Hudson River.[15]:56 The State of New Jersey was interested in getting the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to take over the railroad, but the Port Authority long viewed it as something unprofitable and had no interest in doing so. In the late 1950s, the Port Authority proposed to build a "world trade center" in Lower Manhattan along the East River.[16][17] As a bi-state agency, Port Authority projects required approval from both the states of New Jersey and New York. However, a viable proposal regarding the World Trade Center project was not reached until late 1961, when Port Authority executive director Austin J. Tobin made a proposal to shift the World Trade Center project to Hudson Terminal on the west side of Lower Manhattan. In acquiring the H&M Railroad, the Port Authority also acquired Hudson Terminal and other buildings, which were deemed obsolete.[18] On January 22, 1962, the two states reached an agreement to allow the Port Authority to take over the railroad and build the World Trade Center on Manhattan's lower west side.[19]

The new World Trade Center PATH station opened on July 6, 1971, and was located to the west of the original Hudson Terminal.[20] The original station was demolished in 1972; however, some portions of the track level were kept as part of the original PATH station.[21] The last remnant of Hudson Terminal was a cast-iron tube embedded in the original World Trade Center's foundation, located near Church Street. It was located above the level of the new PATH station, as well as that of the station's replacement after the September 11 attacks. The cast-iron tube was removed in 2008 during the construction of the new World Trade Center.[22]

Railroad station

The station was served by two unidirectional single-track tubes, located underground and connected by a loop to speed train movements. The loop fanned out to include five tracks and three platforms (two center island and one side platform), similar to the arrangement of the first and second (temporary) World Trade Center stations on the PATH.[15]:59–60 Each of the platforms were able to fit eight-car trains, and all of the platforms were straight so as to minimize the gap between train and platform.[12][23] However, the curved approach tracks to and from Hudson Terminal were much smaller than those at the World Trade Center station, which was able to fit ten-car trains. As a result, when the World Trade Center station was built, each of the tubes swung outward using a large jughandle curve around the original Hudson Terminal approach tracks before approaching the World Trade Center platforms. Additionally, the World Trade Center platforms were located under Greenwich Street, which traveled at a slight angle compared to the original Hudson Terminal station under Church Street.[15]:60

As originally proposed, the station would have included six platforms between the five tracks in a Spanish solution layout, so passengers could exit trains from one side and enter from the other.[5][23]

Transfers were available to the Sixth Avenue Elevated at Cortlandt Street/Church Street, and to the Ninth Avenue Elevated at Cortlandt Street/Greenwich Street.[12] Another transfer was added when the Independent Subway System (IND) built the Hudson Terminal station on its Eighth Avenue Line in 1932. The IND station was operationally separate from the H&M station but was connected via passageways.[24]

The station tunnels contained provisions for an extension northward[25] to what is now the 34th Street–Herald Square subway station.[26] If this extension had been built, it would have tripled the maximum number of trains that could go into the Hudson Terminal station.[25]


This view from the southwest shows how Hudson Terminal was situated on what would become the World Trade Center site. The terminal is at center-left; in the background to its left is the Woolworth Building; in the foreground to its right is 90 West Street.

Hudson Terminal included two 22-story Romanesque-style office skyscrapers, which were an architectural and engineering marvel of its time.[10]:326[5] The buildings were designed by architect James Hollis Wells, of the firm Clinton and Russell., and built by construction contractor George A. Fuller.[10]:326 Located on what would later become the World Trade Center site, the Hudson Terminal Buildings preceded the original World Trade Center complex in both size and function.[27] Each building contained 44,000 square feet (4,100 m2) of office space on each floor.[25] With a total rentable floor space of 877,900 square feet (81,560 m2), some of which was taken by the railroad,[27] Hudson Terminal was billed as the largest office building in the world by floor area.[5][23]

The towers could house a combined ten thousand tenants[28] across 4,000 offices.[5][23] As originally proposed, the towers would have a combined 39 elevators, which could carry 30,000 people a day. The structures' electricity-storage generator batteries would be among the world's largest. The building would use 16 million bricks, 13,000 lighting fixtures, 5,200 doors, 5,000 windows, and 4,500 tons of terracotta, among other things.[5][23]

The buildings were located above the station, at 30 and 50 Church Street, between Greenwich, Cortlandt, Church, and Fulton Streets. This combined rail terminal and office block was the first of its kind anywhere in the world.[27] The facades of the buildings, as proposed, were made of Indiana limestone below the fifth-floor sill, and of brick and terracotta above the fifth-floor sill.[5][23] The sill above the 17th-floor sill would be made of ornamental terracotta.[23]

The two buildings were identically designed, apart from the southern building's larger footprint and floor plan. Both had rooftop gardens. Dey Street ran between the two structures, since the city would not allow that street to be demolished to make way for the Hudson Terminal Buildings.[10]:326 The two buildings were connected by a pedestrian bridge over the street on the third story of each building.[25] A bridge connecting the buildings' 17th floors was approved and built in 1913, soon after the complex had opened,[29][30]

Underground concourse

A three-story underground concourse area connected the two structures.[13] The top story was a 2-acre (0.81 ha) concourse with ticket offices, waiting rooms, and some retail shops.[12][23] The second level had access to the H&M's five train tracks with elevated platforms, while the third and lowest level was for baggage and consisted of an electrical substation. The concourse was carefully planned and designed with a system of ramps descending from street level to the mezzanine, to allow an unprecedented volume of pedestrian traffic to flow in and out of the station quickly and easily.[13][25] According to Sarah Bradford Landau, "At full capacity, the Hudson Terminal could accommodate 687,000 people per day; in comparison, Pennsylvania Station (1902–1910) was designed with a capacity of 500,000."[10]:437


  1. ^ "$21,000,000 COMPANY FOR HUDSON TUNNELS; Will Also Build Ninth Street and Sixth Avenue Subways. FOR CENTRAL PARK ROUTE? Rapid Transit Board Hints at It in Recommending McAdoo Underground Routes to Aldermen". The New York Times. 1905. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  2. ^ The Commercial & Financial Chronicle ...: A Weekly Newspaper Representing the Industrial Interests of the United States. William B. Dana Company. 1914.
  3. ^ "$100,000,000 CAPITAL FOR M'ADOO TUNNELS; Railroad Commission Agrees to Issuance of Big Mortgage. McADOO EXPLAINS PROGRESS The Work Very Expensive, but Going on Rapidly -- New Bonds to Take Up Old Issues". The New York Times. December 12, 1906. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  4. ^ "BUYING BY SPECULATORS NEAR TUNNEL TERMINAL; Frequent Purchases on Dey, Fulton, and Vesey Streets -- Territory West of Broadway Commanding More Attention -- Ownership Covering a Century Ended Last Week". The New York Times. February 26, 1905. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "HUDSON TUBE TERMINAL PLANS ARE ANNOUNCED; Largest Office Building in the World at Manhattan End. HOW CRUSH WILL BE AVOIDED Incoming and Departing Crowds to Use Separate Platforms -- The Tubes Nearly Finished". The New York Times. December 23, 1906. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  6. ^ "NEW HUDSON TUBES ARE ALMOST READY; Two More McAdoo Tunnels to Pennsylvania Station Will Be Opened Next Week. JERSEY CITY IN 3 MINUTES Pennsylvania Railroad Tunnels Ready for Track-Laying -- Trains Will Run in Them in a Month or Two". The New York Times. July 11, 1909. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  7. ^ "M'ADOO TO EXTEND HUDSON TUNNELS; Jersey Central Road to Benefit by a Branch to the Jersey City Terminal. MAIN LINES READY IN MAY When the Bores Are Completed All the Railroads with Jersey Terminals Will Have Connections". The New York Times. October 21, 1908. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  8. ^ "SITES TO BE TAKEN FOR TWO GREAT BUILDINGS; Tunnel Project at Church and Cortlandt Streets Now Affects an Area of 62,000 Square Feet -- World's Largest Skyscrapers to be Built". The New York Times. November 19, 1905. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  9. ^ "Real Estate in 1907.; Shrinkage of Nearly 40 Per Cent. in the Number of Conveyances in the Borough of Manhattan". The New York Times. January 5, 1908. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d e Landau, Sarah Bradford; Condit, Carl W. Rise of the New York Skyscraper: 1865–1913.
  11. ^ a b c Taft, William H. (July 20, 1909). "40,000 CELEBRATE NEW TUBES' OPENING; Downtown McAdoo Tunnels to Jersey City Begin Business with a Rush. TRIP TAKES THREE MINUTES Red Fire and Oratory Signalize the Event -- Speeches by Gov. Fort and Others -- Ovation to Mr. McAdoo". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d "UNDER THE HUDSON BY FOUR TUBES NOW; Second Pair of McAdoo Tunnels to Jersey City Will Open To-morrow. BIG CELEBRATION PLANNED Speeches, Decorations, and Fireworks -- New Tubes Under Cortlandt Street Ferry -- Shore Section Open Aug. 2". The New York Times. July 18, 1909. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  13. ^ a b c Droege, John Albert (1916). Passenger Terminals and Trains. McGraw-Hill. pp. 157–159.
  14. ^ "315,724,808 Came or Left City in 1922". New York Times. April 15, 1923. p. E1. Retrieved May 30, 2010.
  15. ^ a b c Cudahy, Brian J. (2002), Rails Under the Mighty Hudson (2nd ed.), New York: Fordham University Press, ISBN 978-0-82890-257-1, OCLC 911046235
  16. ^ Levinson, Leonard Louis (1961). Wall Street. New York: Ziff Davis Publishing. p. 346.
  17. ^ Grutzner, Charles (January 27, 1960). "A World Center of Trade Mapped Off Wall Street" (PDF). The New York Times.
  18. ^ Grutzner, Charles (December 29, 1961). "Port Unit Backs Linking of H&M and Other Lines" (PDF). New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved May 30, 2010.
  19. ^ Wright, George Cable (January 23, 1962). "2 States Agree on Hudson Tubes and Trade Center" (PDF). New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved May 30, 2010.
  20. ^ Burks, Edward C. (July 7, 1971). "New PATH Station Opens Downtown" (PDF). New York Times. p. 74. Retrieved May 30, 2010.
  21. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Hudson Terminal". Abandoned Stations. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  22. ^ Dunlap, David W. (October 26, 2008), "Another Ghost from Ground Zero's Past Fades Away", New York Times, retrieved March 1, 2012
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h Shoppell's Homes, Decorations, Gardens. Co-Operative Architects. November 1907. p. 15.
  24. ^ "Gay Midnight Crowd Rides First Trains in New Subway". New York Times. September 10, 1932. p. 1.
  25. ^ a b c d e "To Open the Downtown Tunnels to Jersey on June 1" (PDF). New York Press. January 17, 1909. p. 1. Retrieved May 1, 2018 – via
  26. ^ "M'ADOO WOULD BUILD A WEST SIDE SUBWAY; From 34th St. Down Broadway, Linking Penna. Tubes with All Downtown and His Own". The New York Times. September 16, 1910. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  27. ^ a b c Condit, C.W. (1980). The Port of New York: A history of the rail terminal system from the beginnings to Pennsylvania Station. The Port of New York. University of Chicago Press. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-226-11460-6. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  28. ^ "DIRECTORS QUIT NEW YORK LIFE" (PDF). Chicago Tribune. April 9, 1908. p. 4. Retrieved May 1, 2018 – via
  29. ^ New York (N Y. ) Board of Estimate and Apportionment (1913). Minutes of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment of the City of New York. M. B. Brown Printing & Binding Company. p. 3030.
  30. ^ Journal of Proceedings. 1913. p. 3611. Retrieved May 2, 2018.

Further reading

Coordinates: 40°42′43″N 74°00′43″W / 40.712°N 74.012°W / 40.712; -74.012

External image
A 1967 photo of the Hudson Terminal
  • The relations of railways to city development: papers read before the American Institute of Architects, December 16, 1909, New Willard Hotel, Washington, Part 3, page 42.
Preceded by
Ellicott Square Building
Largest office building in the world
by floor area
Succeeded by
Manhattan Municipal Building