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New York City: Ride in a vintage subway car this December

By JD Rinne
updated September 29, 2021
blog_081204_blog_subway_original.jpg
Courtesy Roxanne Robertson

If you happen to be in New York City this holiday season, consider a ride on a vintage subway car as part of your experience.

Every Sunday in December, the MTA, New York's transportation authority, busts out a subway car from yesteryear—the cars are pre-WWII, usually from the 1930s—and runs it along the V line, which goes from Manhattan's Lower East Side neighborhood to the borough of Queens. The trains have vintage ads, rattan seats, and porcelain-covered hand straps. A ride back in the 30s would have set you back a nickel. This nostalgia-fueled trip is $2 per ride (the regular fare for a single ride on the subway).

Not planning a trip? You can see subway cars from all eras at the New York Transit Museum, open year-round. In addition to the old cars, some highlights are the token machines and turnstiles from the past 100 years. There's one turnstile, meant to inhibit fare jumpers, that looks like some kind of large, Iron-Maidenlike bird-cage (locals used to get stuck in them). The museum used to be a working subway station, and it's neat to see how the space is repurposed—the old subway cars are on real track. There are also exhibits on the construction of the subway and the city's bridges and tunnels; this is an ideal stop for the transportation gurus out there.

See the schedule for the nostalgia train rides. Admission to the Transit Museum is $5.

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