Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Christy's New York City Favorites: New York Transit Museum

Last week I introduced a new series in which I gush about my love for New York City. I've decided to change the name from "New Things to Love in New York City" to "New York City Favorites" simply because not everything I intend to share will be exactly "new". In fact, today I am featuring a bit of NYC history for you, so yeah, definitely not new. Get used to this updated name until I decide to change it to "Christy Brags About Living in New York City" (wait, should I just actually call it that?).

Anyway, today I'm going to take you back to simpler times -- back to the days when men wore fancy hats, I guess.

This is an ad I found in an old train car at the New York Transit Museum. Daniel and I visited this Brooklyn establishment back in January when were trying to find something fun to do indoors. The Transit Museum did us one better by not only allowing us to be inside but also underground.

What looks like a typical subway stairwell is actually the entrance to one of the coolest museums in the city. The New York Transit Museum, located in Downtown Brooklyn, makes public transit fun again. Seriously. There are plenty of exhibits here, but the best is definitely the impressive display of old train cars that you can legitimately walk through while pretending you're on your way to some Great Gatsby party on Long Island.

What I learned most from this experience is that, aesthetically at least, public transit was way better back when the world was less populated. I mean, how pumped would you be if one of these precious trains greeted you Grand Central Station?

But even better than the paint job on these train cars are the advertisements inside them. To be fair, advertisements are still one of my favorite (actually probably least favorite) things about riding the subways of New York City, but these vintage ads honestly take the cake.

Get it? Cake?

They are all-at-once charming and terrifying as was, I'm sure, the entire first half of the twentieth century.

The ads of each train car correspond to the years in which the train was in operation. Fun game: What year do you think they ran this completely uninformative public service announcement about venereal disease?

"But how do I get venereal disease?"

Back then, the Metro Transit Authority didn't take any crap from ANYONE:

And they understood the importance of pageantry:

And cats were revered as HEROES:

But sometimes they were actually seen as well-spoken miscreants of society:

Anyway, if you want to step into history, I totally recommend the Transit Museum. It will make you long for a time when subway cars were as elegant as the Metropolitan Opera, but it will also make you thankful that as a culture we no longer feel the need to put ketchup on lemons.

Head to their website for more details, and while we're on the subject of weird advertisements, what's the weirdest one you've seen lately?


  1. That is so cool! I would love to visit this place the next time I'm in NYC

    1. You definitely should! And you should also drop me a line if you're ever in town too!

  2. Miss Subways - The most beautiful in a sea of impatience and sweat.

    1. I kind of think I could be a contender if that is the criteria.


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