Hudson Terminal was a rapid transit station on the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad (H&M) in Manhattan, New York City. The terminal, which contained five tracks and three platforms, was located in the Lower Manhattan neighborhood of Radio Row. The two 22-story office skyscrapers above the terminal, built to serve the H&M station, 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 and its PATH station, a business complex of seven buildings dedicated to international trade.
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. 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. 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. The terminal would consist of a pair of office buildings located above the tube's spacious eastern terminal. Land acquisition for the buildings started in December 1905, 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. However, by 1908, tenants had started moving into the towers.:326 The Beaux-Arts train terminal opened on July 19, 1909.
The Downtown Tubes had opened on the same day as the Hudson Terminal station. Upon opening, the tubes were instantly popular with New Jersey residents who wanted to travel to New York City. By 1914, passenger volume at Hudson Terminal had reached 30,535,500 annually. Passenger volumes nearly doubled by 1922, with 59,221,354 passengers that year.
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.: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. 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. 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.
The new World Trade Center PATH station opened on July 6, 1971, and was located to the west of the original Hudson Terminal. The original station was demolished in 1972; however, some portions of the track level were kept as part of the original PATH station. 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.
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.: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. 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.: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.
Transfers were available to the Sixth Avenue Elevated at Cortlandt Street/Church Street, and to the Ninth Avenue Elevated at Cortlandt Street/Greenwich Street. 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.
The station tunnels contained provisions for an extension northward to what is now the 34th Street–Herald Square subway station. If this extension had been built, it would have tripled the maximum number of trains that could go into the Hudson Terminal station.
Hudson Terminal included two 22-story Romanesque-style office skyscrapers, which were an architectural and engineering marvel of its time.:326 The buildings were designed by architect James Hollis Wells, of the firm Clinton and Russell., and built by construction contractor George A. Fuller.: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. Each building contained 44,000 square feet (4,100 m2) of office space on each floor. With a total rentable floor space of 877,900 square feet (81,560 m2), some of which was taken by the railroad, Hudson Terminal was billed as the largest office building in the world by floor area.
The towers could house a combined ten thousand tenants across 4,000 offices. 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.
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. 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. The sill above the 17th-floor sill would be made of ornamental terracotta.
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.:326 The two buildings were connected by a pedestrian bridge over the street on the third story of each building. A bridge connecting the buildings' 17th floors was approved and built in 1913, soon after the complex had opened,
A three-story underground concourse area connected the two structures. The top story was a 2-acre (0.81 ha) concourse with ticket offices, waiting rooms, and some retail shops. 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. 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.":437
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- A 1967 photo of the Hudson Terminal
|Preceding station||Hudson and Manhattan Railroad||Following station|
toward Park Place
|Park Place – Hudson Terminal||Terminus|
Ellicott Square Building
| Largest office building in the world
by floor area
Manhattan Municipal Building