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Visiting the New York Transit Museum

One of the most “local” experiences for anyone visiting New York is taking the subway. I always say it’s on the subway that the real NYC life happens. Subway always features funny stories, interesting performances, and eccentric figures. But in addition to the entertainment factor, the subway is available in most parts of the city and runs 24/7. And I love it! I love going everywhere using the subway, I think it’s incredible. It would need a lot of improvement, but I try to focus on what’s good, especially after learning more about the subway’s history through our visit to the New York Transit Museum.

Founded in 1976, the New York Transit Museum is dedicated to telling and preserving the stories of mass transportation – extraordinary engineering feats, workers who labored in the tunnels over 100 years ago, communities that were drastically transformed, and the ever-evolving technology, design, and ridership of a system that runs 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, the Transit Museum’s working platform level spans a full city block and is home to a rotating selection of twenty vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907. Through artifacts, pics, videos, and texts, the museum tells the story of the New York transportation system. One of the exhibits tells how the stations were built in the 1920s when the subway began to be developed. Precarious working conditions and accidents marked the period. My favorite exhibit is the one that shows how the MTA managed the transportation system in the face of various crises – such as September 11, Hurricane Sandy, and a blackout. With photos and videos and testimonials of company employees, you can learn a little about what each of these episodes caused to the city.

At the platform, you can travel through time, visiting the trains from several decades and seeing how everything has been modernized – I love seeing the vintage trains! Inside the trains, you will see ads and maps from each decade. Speaking of advertising, if you’ve come to New York, you know there is always some campaign on good manners and etiquette on the subway. And the New York Transit Museum has a room that brings together several posters from old campaigns. I loved it! And besides the trains, a smaller area is dedicated to the bus system. You can get on a bus and pretend that you are a driver.

I’ve told you a few times that I’m not a fan of museums, but I loved getting to know the city’s transportation system through the New York Transit Museum. It’s a different and incredible thing to do!  Tickets cost $10 (adults) and $5 (children over 2 and seniors over 62). The museum is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm.

Oh, and I could not stop talking about the museum’s souvenir shop, full of subway and New York City-themed products, with options for all ages!

Address: Boerum Pl & Schermerhorn St.

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