Urban Archive

View this collection and hundreds more
in the Urban Archive App.

Download on the App Store Launch App

The Centre Street Loop got its start in 1908 with the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company's first Manhattan subway track: the terminal at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge.

The Loop was the first of two BMT Brooklyn Loops designed to connect various Brooklyn Subway lines without requiring new and inefficient terminals in lower Manhattan. Under its original design, the Loop would connect the tracks of Broadway Elevated coming over the Williamsburg (now the BMT Jamaica Line) with Brooklyn Bridge trains originating in Brooklyn. The loop was never completed as planned, and was instead incorporated into the BMT Nassau Street Line.

These photos document the construction of the tracks that today carry the J and Z trains, and capture glimpses of Manhattan's Civic Center before the completion of the Municipal Building and other prominent structures around Foley Square and City Hall Park.