When John Mazzello topped out the skyscraper that bore his name in 1906, he insisted that it be connected to the nascent subway system, and he had the pull to make it happen. Officially the Cicero Square station, work began in 1907 and Mazzello, ever the micromanager, insisted on hiring designers and architects to make “his” station a grand statement. His stinging primary election loss to Mayor Robert Van Wyck and Tammany Hall may have contributed to a desire to “outdo” the ornate City Hall station.

Cicero Square Station was never finished. Mazzello died at his desk in 1908, and without his personal influence, Mayor McClellan canceled the project. Himself no friend of Mazzello’s, McClellan ordered the Cicero Street Station sealed. It was further forgotten when, in 1931, the Mazzello Building itself was razed to make way for new construction.

The station remained a closed-off and half-finished oddity, known only among a handful of urban explorers, until the night of October 20, one hundred and eleven years to the day after the first stone had been laid.

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