I think I may have found a new favorite place in New York City; in Brooklyn, to be exact.
I was wandering around the other day and I checked Google Maps on my iPhone and as I was navigating my way around, I noticed that the New York Transit Museum was highlighted on the map. I was right around the corner, so I walked over. The funny thing is that I couldn’t find the entrance to the museum until I realized that it’s the actual subway stop at the Court Street station. You literally walk down the subway steps and there is the museum. It’s two floors below street level.
On the first level there are lots of items from the past including turnstiles from almost every decade, there are old buses that are deconstructed and you can sit in them and get the feel of driving them.
The purpose of the museum is to “interpret and preserve the history, sociology and technology of land-based public transportation systems in New York City.” There are small replicas of stations from the past and rebuilt trolley models and the best part of all is down below. One platform below the main platform is a trip into the past. Old train cars from the past are right there on the tracks. The old cars are in almost perfect condition. There are cars from 1915 and 1925 and 1938 and so on. There are cars from the 1960s and the red cars you’ll remember from the 7 Line.
Vintage ads are all still in the cars, so you really feel as if you are going back in time when you enter the cars, ghosts of the past fill your mind, just seeing the worn seats and turnstiles makes you wonder and think of all the people who have used the mass transit so many years ago.
When I picture the past, I usually think of sepia tones, but the bright colors of the old cars are amazing.
The older the trains, the more comfortable they seemed to be. There were ceiling fans before air conditioning was introduced and as the years moved on, the trains became less luxurious and more plastic.
The older subway cars reminded me of the old trains you see on westerns, you know, the trains used for long distance travel across the country.
This red and blue car was quite striking.
The New York Transit Museum is located at the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street in Downtown Brooklyn and accessible by over 20 bus and subway lines. The entrance to the Museum is down two flights of stairs. A second wheelchair accessible entrance is located on the corner of Schermerhorn and Court Streets.
Tuesday-Friday: 10am – 4pm
Saturday & Sunday: 11am – 5pm
Closed Mondays and major holidays
Children (2-17) $5
Seniors 62+ $5, free on Wednesdays
Museum Members free
Children under the age of 17 must be accompanied by an adult.