Monday, November 26, 2018

New York Transit Museum

Entrance to the museum
Don and I continued our tour of nostalgic New York Transit with a much anticipated trip to the New York Transit Museum. For several years I have wanted to visit this museum, but life did not take me in that direction. Plus, it is in Brooklyn -- which feels like another country when your trips to New York City take you almost exclusively to Broadway so your daughter can share her artwork, and collect autographs from Broadway stars.

The museum is great. It reminded me of when Don and I visited the London Transit Museum before Ashley was born (hence, before this blog). I yearned to visit the one in Paris, only to discover Paris does not have a transit museum. Having lived in Paris as an exchange student in 1990, and recently returning, I would love to ride "vintage" cars and learn about how the Paris metro system has evolved. I hope someone steals my idea and creates one.

In New York's museum they first guide you down a tunnel-like room to describe how the subway system was built. Even after studying the plaques and following the paths, I can't imagine how disruptive that must have been to a booming metropolis with over a million people living in it at the time (over eight million today).

At the end of the tunnel is a bright room. When we were there they had an exhibit on subways in cartoons that was fun. There were exhibits on the history of the classic token along with its price increases (from 15 cents to $1.50 each ride) to the evolution of the Metro Card, which replaced the tokens, and made price increases easier (now at $2.75 a ride).

The highlight for the kids (and adults who feel like kids) is going inside the old cars. I hope they rent out the space for cosplay photo shoots and weddings.

I also thought about my great-grandmother (Gigi) and pictured her riding the Elevated Trains when she lived in New York City as a young girl.

Thought of my parents riding this train to go on a date to the World's Fair in the mid-1960's. The light blue trains required a separate exit token, I suppose to help pay for the line they put in to get people out to the World's Fair. These cars were later painted a graffiti-proof red (they did not explain what made them graffiti-proof) and were redubbed the Red Line until they were retired with much fanfare in the early 20th century.

Even with a half dozen cars in use on the holiday train, there were not any empty spaces. I wonder where they store the other trains? I did not see some of the trains I remembered from when we rode the holiday train last year. I can't imagine what is involved with moving old trains around, even with the museum being located inside an abandoned subway station.

Some pictures from the museum to entice you to visit on your own.

Also saw ads for cigarettes.

Holiday Train

Our only disappointment for the day was that we did not stick around for Andy's 3 PM tour. Instead was walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and took the PATH from the World Trade Center to the Grove Street Station and made it home a few minutes late for 5 PM worship. Next time we'll bring my parents and aim to go for his tour (free with museum entrance, which is only $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors).

After Paris, I see locks everywhere.

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