Man Reveals The Bizarre History Of The Secret Bar Hidden Behind New York Subway

by : Emily Brown on : 22 Sep 2021 14:01
Man Reveals The Bizarre History Of The Secret Bar Hidden Behind New York Subway@hereinnyc/ TikTok

The bizarre history behind a now-sealed door in Times Square subway station in New York City has been revealed by a TikToker. 

Given that Times Square is one of Manhattan’s most popular tourist destinations, its subway station is packed every day with people travelling across the city. In the meantime, millions of people will have walked past the grey door located ‘just steps from the shuttle’, but most probably wouldn’t have questioned what was behind it.


Labelled with the word ‘Knickerbocker’, the grey door is located in a corner of the station and is sealed to prevent people from entering.

Door in Times Square subway station (@hereinnyc/TikTok)@hereinnyc/TikTok

However, TikToker John Friia, who shares ‘fun facts about NYC‘ with his followers, has explained that it used to lead through to the bar of the famous Knickerbocker hotel, which opened in October 1906 on Broadway and West 42nd Street.

Built by John Jacob Astor, Friia explained that in its prime, the hotel was so popular that it earned the nickname ‘the 42nd Street club’. Its popularity was likely helped hugely by Astor’s innovative thinking while building the hotel, which opened a year after the Interborough Rapid Transit opened its first subway line.


In order to attract people coming uptown on the train, Astor installed the door from the platform leading straight to the lower floor of the hotel, making for a quick transition between travelling on the subway and drinking in the bar.

See Friia’s video below:


The New York Times reported that there was a ‘constant stream of strangers through the lower floors of the hotel’, writing at the time that train passengers were drawn to ‘the heralded splendor of this newest Times Square building’.


The corridor that led to the subway platform was described as being ‘furnished with settees and decorated with heraldic banners’, but the entrance to it was sealed as the subway grew and the original Times Square station was turned into a terminus for the shuttle to and from Grand Central.

Friia has been praised by viewers for sharing his insight into the history of the door, with one commenter writing that despite being a New York local, they still ‘learn so much’ from him.

Door in Times Square subway station (@hereinnyc/TikTok)@hereinnyc/TikTok

Another person commented, ‘There’s so much magic still in that city.’


The Knickerbocker hotel was taken over by Astor’s son, Vincent, after the original owner died on the Titanic in 1912, but in 1921 it was transformed into office space.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: Life, New York, Now, TikTok


  1. @hereinnyc/TikTok

    Have you noticed this door?