33rd Street is the northern terminus of PATH in the heart of midtown beneath Herald Square. The H&M station was the first underground transit station to open beneath Herald Square (the now demolished Sixth Avenue elevated was rattling above the square beginning in the 1870s) on November 10, 1910. The original station was closed in December 1937 in order to accommodate the building of the IND 6th Avenue Subway line's 34th Street-Herald Square Station. This line's local tracks run on the outside of the PATH tracks, and express tracks run in a boar tunnel deep underground, down beneath the PATH tracks beneath 6th Avenue. Trains terminated at the previous stop of 28th Street for nearly two years until the current terminal opened in September 1939, closing 28th Street. Today's terminal is one block south of the original terminus and is located from beneath 32nd Street to 30th Street. Although the name of 33 Street was retained and survives to this day, PATH makes no references to Herald Square like the subway station does.
It is clearly a bit more modern than other underground PATH stations. There are no round support columns with decorative moldings at their tops, instead unitarian I-beam columns (like those found at nearly every IND subway station) now painted blue are the norm with lots of blue signs saying 33 on them. On the exit platforms are white 'subway' tiled walls, like most IND stations and white mosaics with red text. One says 33rd-34th Sts with an arrow beneath for that exit, the other for 30th Street. These mosaics are identical to those for the H&M Tunnels for the PATH system on the IND mezzanine at 14th Street. These mosaics make it clear; the IND Subway, not the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad built this station. Signage along the island platform is modernized with simple blue signs saying 33RD (Street isn't written), some with white beneath for directional arrows to the station's two exits.
The station is designed as a rapid and efficient terminus. It is like all terminals on PATH with more than just two tracks, Three tracks end at bumper blocks within the station with an unprecedented four platforms. The two island platforms are used by boarding passengers (and passengers exiting from trains terminating on the middle track). The two side platforms are exit platforms only used by passengers on trains that are are terminating on either of the side tracks. The west island platform, Platform 3 for Tracks 2 and 3 is normally for Hoboken trains. The east island platform for Tracks 1 and 2 is for Journal Square Trains. Permanent and paper signs inform passengers of the train destinations for two platforms. Terminating trains on the two side tracks, open their doors to discharge their passengers on the island platform before opening their interior doors for new passengers. Trains on the middle track will open both doors but will always close the doors first on the side that doesn't correlate to their destination (the conductor can't close the doors on both sides at once). This is the only transit station in New York City with exit platforms. Although a few subway stations were built with extra exit platforms, none are currently in this use.
The main station exit is at the front of the platforms, beyond the bumper blocks for the three tracks. Here ramps at a slight angle (fully ADA compliant) lead up to one very large bank of turnstiles that serve both of the island platforms. The two side exit platforms have their own, longer ramps. These lead up to separate banks of turnstiles that occur closer to the exit platforms compared to the main turnstile area. A separate ramp with railings has been built over the regular ramp on the exit platforms for ADA reasons. This separate ramp includes a door (with a wheelchair operated assist button) in addition to a ADA wide turnstile that normally has its arms open. These then have a blue fence before depositing passengers a bit beyond the main fare control area. Blue No Entry signs keep people off the exit platforms. These platforms until the mid-2000s turnstile modernization program didn't have turnstiles but simply silver slam gates.
The entry and exit area leads to a quite large underground mezzanine. There are plenty of PATH MVMs, plus other blue simpler vending machines for buying QuickCards ($5 fee required) and two ride MetroCards. There are not one but two newsstands in the entrance area as well. The western side of the PATH entrance area is directly over the turnstiles that lead to the southern end of the IND 6th Avenue Line B,D,F,M platforms. The passageway for transferring subway passengers between the southern ends of the IND and BMT platforms wends its way around the PATH station, separated by a mostly glass wall with a silver railing, and goes up steps to be at the same level of the PATH entrance area before continuing up to the BMT mezzanine. The PATH turnstiles (and trains) are even visible by transferring subway passengers. A single wide staircase in the middle of the PATH mezzanine leads down to the subway mezzanine. This means there is a mixture of both PATH signage and MTA signage on the PATH mezzanine. The area of the PATH mezzanine is clearly defined by blue I-beams instead of silver ones. It northwestern end eventually clearly gives way to the subway. Signs say "Welcome to MTA NYC Transit" and "Thank You for riding NYC Transit" lead up to fare control area beneath the west side of Broadway and 34th Street (these subway streetstairs say Subway — PATH on them) and turnstiles into the main northern mezzanine complex for the subway station. The gates to close the connection between PATH trains and the subway are slightly beyond the Welcome to NYC Transit signs, past black boarded up doors and windows with the lettering for the Herald Center and Herald Square still remaining. Just before the subway street elevator that can also be used for step free access to PATH.
To leave the PATH concourse area and go up to the street. On the western side of the mezzanine are three wide staircases (two are connected to the escalator) that lead up a few steps to Lower Level 1 (the Subway mezzanine just beneath is at Lower Level 2) of the Manhattan Mall, specifically JCPenny that occupies the two, lower underground levels of the mall. These each have connections down to the IND mezzanine The two entrances along the street inside Mid Manhattan Mall are all behind glass doors with separate signs for the subway and PATH. They are closed overnight. A staircase (that continues down to the lower level from the intermediate landing) leads up from the southern end of the mezzanine up to 6th Avenue basically at the NW corner of 32 Street. It arrives at street level directly next to the elevator down to the PATH mezzanine (ramps do the rest to the platforms, beyond the bumper blocks). In the middle of the block between 32 and 33 Streets is another entrance. This has two escalators that lead down to Lower Level 1 (for PATH) before continue down and underground to Lower Level 2 for the IND Subway.
At the eastern side of the PATH concourse, near the turnstiles is an additional staircase up to another smaller mezzanine, first is the exit to the one PATH maintained and branded street stair. It is at the NE corner of 32nd Street and 6th Avenue along Greely Square. The signage on it was replaced between 2010 and 2011 with an updated blue sign that says 33rd Street PATH and MTA Subway (it had been the old M Subway logo that shared PATH entrances have said for years and pictures and arrows to go across the street to the elevator). The passageway this staircase leads to continues underground goes back down a few steps and to the small southern mezzanine and entrance to the Broadway N,Q,R BMT Subway Lines.
There is a secondary PATH only mezzanine and exit at the southern end of the platforms. It is open weekdays only from 7am to 7:30pm. Here, a single staircase leads up from the very end of all four platforms (including the exit platforms) to a small mezzanine area. This small mezzanine area is the only way to get to the other platforms without leaving fare control (or going through a train when the doors are open on both sides). On this mezzanine area is a free crossover, an old blue fence and turnstiles. These lead out to a small area outside of fare control with a couple TVMs. Two streetstairs, with a design of simple silver railings, one to each side of 6th Avenue between 30th Street and 31st Streetprovide access to the street. This exit was designed to compensate for the closing of the 28th Street station.
Last Updated: 23 February, 2013