Bowling Green is a station on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line of the New York City Subway, located at Broadway and Battery Place (at the Bowling Green), in the Financial District of Manhattan. It is served by the train at all times and the train at all times except late nights.
Northbound ← toward Woodlawn (Wall Street)
← toward Eastchester–Dyre Avenue all times except nights, or Nereid Avenue rush hours (Wall Street)
Southbound → toward Crown Heights–Utica Avenue (New Lots Avenue late nights) (Borough Hall) →
→ toward Flatbush Avenue–Brooklyn College weekdays until 8:45pm (Borough Hall) →
→ termination track (late evenings and weekends) (No service: South Ferry loops) →
Shuttle → No passenger service (No service: South Ferry loops)
M Mezzanine Fare control, station agent
The station has two tracks and two platforms in service: a center island platform that serves Brooklyn-bound trains, and a side platform that serves uptown trains. An abandoned and walled off island platform and track on the west side of the station were formerly used by the Bowling Green–South Ferry Shuttle to the inner platform at South Ferry.
South of the station, the tracks diverge into two sets. One set (the inner tracks) enter the Joralemon Street Tunnel to travel to Brooklyn: this route is used by the 4 train at all times and the 5 train on weekdays until 8:45pm. The outer tracks continue to the closed South Ferry inner loop station, which is used by the 5 train when it short turns at this station during weekends and late weekday evenings.
When the station opened on July 10, 1905, there was as yet no IRT service to Brooklyn, and all Lexington Avenue trains terminated at South Ferry, using the outer-loop platform. After the Joralemon Street Tunnel opened in 1908, some Lexington Avenue trains continued to terminate at South Ferry, even during rush hours, while others went to Brooklyn. This service pattern was soon found to be inadequate for the high volume of Brooklyn riders.
Just three months after the Joralemon Street Tunnel opened, construction began on the third track and the western island platform at Bowling Green. Once they were completed in 1909, all rush-hour trains were sent to Brooklyn, with a two-car Bowling Green–South Ferry Shuttle train providing service to South Ferry during those times. Even after the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line local service began to South Ferry in 1918, the shuttle remained in operation until it was discontinued in 1977 due to budget cuts. The shuttle platform was renovated in 1978 along with the rest of the station. The 1978 renovation covered over the original Heins & LaFarge mosaic "tapestries" that were along the walls.
The 1970s renovation also led to the construction of the eastern side platform, again due to high passenger volume on the island platform. Additional exits were requested and an underpass was built, funneling some of the traffic away from the headhouse exit at the south end. This led to the station's current configuration, with uptown trains using the side platform, and Brooklyn-bound trains using the island platform (similar to the configuration at Broadway Junction on the BMT Canarsie Line). A fence is located along the edge of the island platform, preventing northbound trains from releasing passengers onto the island platform. The fare control now consists of the restored headhouse entrance at the south end, which serves only the island platform, and various other entrances that lead to the eastern side platform and down to a large fare control area in the underpass.
Two elevators make the station ADA-accessible. One connects street level with the fare control area below the platforms and tracks with an intermediate stop at the main northbound fare control area while the other connects the Brooklyn-bound platform with the fare control area below.
The station has three street stairs, an elevator, a set of escalators, and an original control house. At the station's north end at Bowling Green, two street stairs are located at the northwestern corner of the T-intersection of State Street and Broadway. The elevator is at the northeastern corner of said intersection. There is a glass-canopied stairs-and-escalator entrance in front of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House's north elevation, just around the corner from two entrances to the Whitehall Street–South Ferry station on the BMT Broadway Line (which are set into the building's eastern elevation).
At the south end of the station is the original head house, known as the Bowling Green IRT Control House or Battery Park Control House, on the west side of State Street south of Broadway. This subway entrance was designed by Heins & LaFarge and built in 1905 on the west side of State Street, across from the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House. It has turnstiles at street level and stairs down to the island platform.
Along with its twin, the old control house for the 72nd Street station, this building is a reminder of the glory of New York's first subway company, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, predecessor to the current numbered routes. Although most of the original subway's entry points had steel and glass kiosks (for example, Astor Place), important stations like this one were marked with a brick and stone control house, which were referred to as such because they helped control the passenger flow. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Bowling Green station has lightboxes with rotating content. The current exhibition, since April 2015, is "Breaking Ground", featuring pictures taken by Patrick J. Cashin of MTA Capital Construction projects such as the 7 Subway Extension, Second Avenue Subway, and East Side Access. Some of these photos can be seen on the MTA's Flickr account as well.