The reconstruction of the Manhattan Bridge caused radical service changes at the station. The B was re-routed to its current route down Central Park West via the Seventh Avenue station to the Sixth Avenue Line and was replaced by the S to Grand Street. In 1988, the Q became a Sixth Avenue service and ran via the Manhattan Bridge to the Brighton Line, acting as an express in Brooklyn; when the 63rd Street Tunnel opened in 1989, the Q was simultaneously extended to the new terminal at 21st Street – Queensbridge. The B replaced the Q in 1990, and the F replaced the B in 2001 when the 63rd Street Tunnel Connector opened in Queens.
57th Street utilizes a simple two tracks and a single island platform setup common to terminal stations. Except for the removal of exit slam gates at fare controls, much of the station design remains unchanged from 1968 opening. Even the "Next Train" indicator lights are still hanging from the platform ceiling, dating from the period when the station was a terminal. The tower and the crew area still exist. They were abandoned after the 1989 63rd Street extension to 21st Street – Queensbridge, but were back in service in 1998 when trains from Sixth Avenue terminated here due to long term construction work that necessitated a shuttle train from Queensbridge to 57th Street – Seventh Avenue on the BMT Broadway Line. Once all construction work was completed on the 63rd Street Connector to the IND Queens Boulevard Line in December 2001, the tower was permanently abandoned.
This station features one of the last surviving telephone booths, located inside one of the three fare control areas at mezzanine level. The door on the booth is broken. A plaque dedicated to retired Colonel John T. O'Neill, who served as the New York City Transit Authority's Chief Engineer until his death in 1978, sits next to the booth on the west wall. The island platform is comparatively wide. There are six staircases to the platform and eight street staircases spread on both sides of Sixth Avenue from 56th to 57th Streets. The station walls are plain white, with "57th St" appearing on the wall.