Wednesday, December 6, 2017

NYC Subway Holiday Train

After a false start, the stars were in alignment for us on Sunday. A couple of years ago I heard New York City's MTA pulls out vintage subway cars on Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is usually a busy time of year, but seeing a gap in our calendar this year, and temperatures in the 50s, I filled it with a day trip to New York City.

For those of you not in NYC, subway tickets currently cost $2.75 a ride. A ride is as long as you stay underground, so for us we could ride the train from 10 AM until 5 PM if we wanted for the same $2.75 each. We rode for about two hours, that was long enough.

HERE is a nice post with great pictures taken Thanksgiving Weekend.

The basics are the past few years the holiday train has run from 10 AM to 5 PM on the Sundays during Christmastime. They run between 2nd Avenue and 96th Street. Here is where it gets tricky -- it starts on the F line on 2nd Street, and ends up on the Q line at 9th Street. It is not a regular subway line, instead it is on the S line. When it reaches 2nd Avenue, riders can stay on the train or mingle on the platform. At the other end (96th Street) riders must disembark and wait. In each direction the ride is about 35 minutes long, meaning there is an additional 25 minutes of hanging out time at the ends.

The train leaves the 2nd Avenue station at 10 AM, 12 noon, 2 PM, and 4 PM. 

The train leaves the 96th Street station at 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM, and 5 PM.

What did we do? We waited at the 42nd Street (Bryant Park) station for the F train. The information on the MTA website talks about trains going Uptown and Downtown. The station talks about trains going North and South. Really? We waited on the wrong side of the platform, and in this case you had to go up a flight of stairs and back down again in order to catch the train in the opposite direction. Don saw it out of the corner of his eye and we raced breathlessly to the correct side.

We caught the train at 12:15 PM. It was on its second round trip for the day. The train was festively comfortably filled. We had space to walk between the different cars (though perhaps not the best idea since in those days the space between cars was was mighty exposed).

A number of people dressed in period attire, ranging from the 1930s to the 1970s. Enough dressed up that Ashley declared she wants to do this again next year, but next time we should dress up, too. some of the costumes were amazing. I thought of Brianna and friends who cosplay Disney, and Stacy and friends who cosplay 1940s. The event looked even more fun with a costume.

Views of the cars:

We also enjoyed looking at the old ads and signs.

Filtered cigarettes are better for your health!

Miss Subway? How long did that contest last?

Not even sure what Lipton is trying to say with this ad.

The man on the right is tired.
He takes a potion and not only is he now alert, he has a goatee and mustache.
Ashley is wary of this product.

Only a nickle to send a letter overseas? Sign me up!

Ashley was a bit apprehensive to ride something this old. I said I would agree with her if we were flying in an airplane that old (though I would still do it given the opportunity at an affordable price), but here the worst problem we would face is getting stuck on ground level. Then I saw this man, and his co-workers having to manually open and close doors. Hmm... maybe she does have a valid concern after all.

A little maintenance work while we wait.

In addition to those working, and those in period attire, there were plenty of people taking pictures (with much fancier equipment than mine) for the media, or (like us) for themselves. 

On two of the eight cars were musicians. Their cars were understandably even more crowded.

The return trip (leaving at 1 PM) was much more crowded than our original ride. On the first part of our trip we could sit and walk between cars. After 1 we could only change cars by exchanging cars at a station. Normally not something I would advise, but this train was moving pretty slowly, and it took a lot of effort to close the doors. We had plenty of time to jump between cars this way.

While hanging out at the 2nd Avenue station we met photographer David C Falco. He was dressed in period attire and taking pictures of people using a 1930s/1940s style camera fitted with a Polaroid camera. I saw his picture on the internet and heard from a friend of a friend that he is a nice guy. When he said he takes Polaroid souvenirs for $20 I decided it would be a fun memento. 

A parting shot. There were 8 cars. Two classics from the 30s and 40s, and one from the 1970s.

I see this turning into a family tradition. From here we walked around NYC, saw The Tree, visited Santaland at Macy's, saw the windows, and enjoyed Christmastime in the City before the City became too crowded. All in all a good day.

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