Saturday, April 05, 2014

A museum underground

This is not your average subway station... it's actually the entrance to the New York Transit Museum! After visiting the MTA Annex Gallery/Store in Grand Central Terminal (GCT link) for years, I finally made it to the actual transit museum in Brooklyn. 

Don't miss the parade of vintage trains in the lower level of the museum! Get a kick out of browsing old transit maps (when it wasn't all consolidated into the MTA), history about the world fair train (orange and blue are world fairs colors), and old advertisements inside the trains (various products, shows, and even WNYC).

perhaps my favorite part of the artifacts: slugs! I don't remember whether I ever used the subway tokens before. I'm sure when I first visited NYC, my parents or relatives shuffled me through subway turnstiles while they placed tokens into the machines. When I was finally old enough to walk around NYC (and old enough to get horribly confused by the local vs express trains), I only remember the metro cards.

Other educational sections of the museum talked about the beginning of the tunnels and history of the different modes of transportation in New York. Horse drawn carriages, buses, cable cars, underground, elevated trains, and trains all helped people get from place to place. 

The store has about the same amount of merchandise as the Grand Central annex. I like to suggest the transit store (Brooklyn or the GCT one) for visitors because the items are iconic NYC without being too touristy. My personal favorites are: transit umbrella, transit round boxes with the number or letter of a particular line, transit posters (same ones you see in the subway trains), and the GCT anniversary commemorative items (stationery, magnets, etc). Have a favorite station? You may be able to find a tile or a magnet of it!

I ride the subway frequently and take it for granted most part. Reading through the history, engineering, and advancements in transit at the transit museum gave me a new appreciation for what the earlier New Yorkers started and built for us, generations later. I hope other subway riders get a chance to visit this whimsical museum and learn a bit about their trusty subway ride. 

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