Opened on September 16, 1908, the station was rebuilt for through service in 1911-1913 to the Centre Street Subway extending to Chambers Street. The subway has four tracks while there was room at Essex Street station for only three tracks and two platforms. The wall platform has pictures of the Williamsburg Bridge being built along with a blue/gray "Essex Street" name tablet, and has bright blue accent tile on the wall.
This is a precursor of the "Dual Contract" stations created by Squire Vickers, the architect of the NYC subway system from 1908 to 1943 (see History), and very likely the first NYC subway signage he designed (or oversaw). It was constructed the same year he began his 35-year career with the subway system and shares many similarities with the signage created under the "Dual Contract" period, which began in 1910. While there are similarities, the Essex Street type is more compressed and lacks the formal rigor of the later design. That said, the border and the wall ornamentation have an elegance the later designs lack.