From Curbed:

New York Transit Museum’s vintage subway trains return for the holidays

You won’t want to miss this

As the holiday season approaches, the New York Transit Museum is once again collaborating with the MTA to offer subway rides on its vintage fleet of subway cars.

And this year, in honor of the one-year anniversary of the Second Avenue Subway opening, this year’s holiday trains will run along the F line between Second Avenue and Lexington Avenue/63rd Street and the Q line between Lexington Avenue / 63rd Street and 96th Street.

Beginning Sunday, November 26, riders can “ride back in time” on a special eight-car subway train from the 1930s that is decked out with ceiling fans, rattan seats, vintage roll signs, incandescent light bulbs, and original subway ads of the time period.

Holiday train rides will be around for just five Sundays, running on November 26, December 3, 10, 17, and 24. On the F line, trains depart at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. while from the 96th Street subway station, trains will depart at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. The best part is that it will only cost you the swipe of your MetroCard.

From The MTA:

Holiday Vintage Buses Take You Down Memory Lane

Take a bus ride down memory lane, or time travel to the past for the first time, this holiday season!

MTA New York City Transit will offer rides on its vintage bus fleet on the M42 route beginning Monday, December 4, to Friday, December 22. A variety of vintage buses will operate along the crosstown route between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, weather permitting.

The annual tradition of running vintage, historic buses continues, as coaches make stops from river to river along 42 Street in Manhattan. Whether you’ve been riding the buses since before they were historic, or this is your first time experiencing the holidays in the city, these vintage buses are fun for everyone.

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from The NY Post:

All the history that’s going to die with the Campbell Apartment

With its dress code, high beamed ceiling, and expansive window of century-old leaded glass, the Campbell Apartment is a strange place indeed for a bar brawl.

But a winner-take-all war has raged for six months within the granite walls of this dark and elegant dowager of a cocktail lounge in Grand Central Terminal — a battle that pits old against new, staid against trendy, an Old Fashioned with a stirring rod against black barrel whiskey with muddled raspberries.

This week, old — in the personage of longtime owner Mark Grossich — waved the white flag.

The Campbell Apartment’s longtime owner, Mark GrossichPhoto: Matthew McDermott

“It sucks, it blows, it’s totally unfair,” Grossich said of losing his lease, after 17 years running Campbell Apartment and a half a year fighting eviction in court.

Originally the offices of a Jazz Age financier named John W. Campbell, the space had been a water-damaged, drop-ceilinged shell when Grossich, at a cost of $2.5 million, lovingly restored it to its original, baronial splendor.

Scott GerberPhoto: Chad Rachman

As CEO of Hospitalty Holdings, Inc., which owns Midtown’s Carnegie club and Murray Hill’s Lexington’s, Grossich is a master of the timeless, intimate cocktail lounge, temples to single malt scotch, fine cigars and tufted upholstery.

…on July 28, Grossich must turn over the Campbell Apartment space to its new lease-holder, Scott Gerber, who runs such hip, jangly and galvanic lounges as the Irvington in the W Union Square and Mr. Purple on the roof of the Hotel Indigo on the Lower East Side.

The new guy plans to transform the Campbell Apartment and its “business casual” dress code into something far less stuffy. Something less Brooks Brothers, more limited edition sneakers and Gucci T-shirts. …

Nearly a hundred years before it became a bit of an existential football, the Campbell Apartment was the business and pleasure lair of a millionaire financier named John W. Campbell.

A close pal and associate of William Vanderbilt — then chair of the New York Central Railroad — Campbell acquired the lease for the 25-by-60-foot space in 1923.

It was near Campbell and his wife’s Park Avenue home, and so would be a convenient spot for running his credit-reporting business by day and entertaining clients by night.

Campbell really knew how to trick out a corner office.

Photo: Warzer Jaff

He installed a grand piano, a pipe organ, a faux stone fireplace featuring his Scottish family’s coat of arms, a 30-foot ceiling with faux-wood plaster of Paris beams, and a massive hand-knotted Persian carpet, one of the largest in the world, that would have cost $3.5 million in today’s dollars.

Campbell, who died in 1957, was more a man of numbers than letters, and never ascended to the Astor 400, so there is scant record of him in libraries or old society page clippings.

But Grossich has spoken with his niece, Elsie Fater, who remembers that Uncle John oddly eschewed socks, even while wearing shoes.…

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from Spoiled NYC: MTA Just Announced Vintage Subways and Buses Will Run Over the Holiday Season in NYC

Because it’s officially the holiday season in New York City, there’s news of this from the wonderful folks over at the MTA:

“For four consecutive Sundays in December, subway customers can catch the “Shoppers Special,” a train consisting of eight cars from the 1930s that ran along the lettered lines until the late 1970s.

The cars, which were ordered for the Independent Subway System (IND), were the first subway cars to be identified by their contract numbers, hence the R1/9 designations.

R1/9 cars, known as ““City-Cars,” have rattan seats, ceiling fans, incandescent light bulbs, and roll signs for passenger information.

Their design of more doors that were also wider and faster, plus increased standing capacity to accommodate crowds, served as the model of modern subway cars, and their dimensions are identical to the latest R160 cars. They were retired from service in 1977.”

“For all intents and purposes, this was the first modern subway car and today’s subway fleets owe a lot to the design,” said Joe Leader, Senior Vice President of Subways.

“They were basic, durable and offered the expected levels of customer comfort for decades after they were introduced into service. We continue to build upon this strong foundation with each new car design.”

Is it just us or do these holiday trains actually make the price of subway ride less… painful on our minds (and wallets)?…

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Original Pennsylvania Station-Interior-Tracks-Demolished-NYC

“A key catalyst to the formation of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission was the demolition of the original Pennsylvania Station in 1963. The new body made it its mission to protect New York City’s architecturally, historically, and culturally significant buildings and sites by granting them landmark or historic district status, and regulating them once they were designated.” (from Untapped Cities: 3/14/2016, “10 Controversial NYC Historical Buildings that were Demolished Or Redeveloped”.)

Pennsylvania Station, although looking much older, was only 53 years old when its demolition commenced in 1963. The glass ceiling had been painted over for safety during World War II and was never undone, lending to the perception of a station in decline. Penn Station’s demolition was precipitated by the bankrupting of the Pennsylvania Railroad, who was forced to sell its air rights. Top Ten Secrets of the Original Pennsylvania Station in New York (from Untapped Cities). Remnants of the original Penn Station abound in the replacement Penn StationThere used to be an underground passageway to Herald Square: “The Hilton Passageway gave access for commuters between Penn Station and the N/R/Q and B/D/F/M trains until the 1970s, when it was closed off due to security reasons. It was reputedly narrow and in a state of disrepair. Today, it is simply blocked off by bricks – you can see the original opening by the change in white bricks along the wall. ” (Untapped Cities). The original coal-fired power plant for the original Penn Station still exists hidden in plain sight: “The original coal-fired power plant of the station, built as a mirror image using the same Tennessee granite as the lost Stanford White masterpiece, still exists on 31st Street. Today, the power plant is a significant state of disrepair, with broken windows. As of 2003, it was reported by The New York Times that the building was used for “storage and backup systems.” While preservationists may fear for is survival, it shares the same block as the Capuchin Monastery of the Church of St. John and may have been one of the main reasons this block was left out of the proposal for the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC). “That’s one of the reasons why we rejected that block,” said David Widawsky, project lead for ARC. “It’s an historic church, and the only piece of Penn Station that’s still standing.”” (Untapped Cities).

How the original Penn Station looked from the outside, courtesy of www.stuffnobodycaresabout.com, picture postcard image from Library of Congress:

Pennsylvania Station hresPennsylvania Station – Entire block Seventh to Eighth Avenues and 31st to 33rd Streets. Architects, McKim, Mead & White, 1901 – 1910. McKim’s masterpiece and the most significant single loss of a public building. Its destruction brought about the creation of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Demolished 1963-65. Replaced by the hideous mouse maze called Penn Station beneath the Penn Plaza office complex and Madison Square Garden.


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The Subway Map: The Last 50 Years, The Next 50 Years

Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 6:00pm – 9:30pm at Cooper Union

Timed to the 111th anniversary of the opening of the New York City subway on October 27, 1904, a group of historians and designers gather for a public symposium focusing on the past and future evolution of one of New York City’s most key graphic works: the subway map. Admission is free, but reservations are requested.

During its first half-century, maps of the subway were based on the three original operating companies (IRT, BMT, IMD). Although the subway was unified in 1940, it was not until 1964 that a new basic design was put forward by R. Raleigh D’Adamo that dispensed with the historical operating companies and introduced the modern nomenclature and color-coding of subway routes. Fifty years ago, in the fall of 1965, the Transit Authority adopted D’Adamo’s design concept. The highlight of the history section of this evening will be the launch of the first digital reconstruction of Raleigh D’Adamo’s highly influential hand-drawn map of 1964, which had been lost until last year. …

  • Introduction by Peter B. Lloyd: Why is the transit map an ‘ínformation design’ problem?
  • Presentation by R. Raleigh D’Adamo on how he created his 1964 map.
  • Presentation by Peter B Lloyd on how the map evolved after 1964.
  • Presentation by John Tauranac: who will show how to make today’s MTA subway map into the MTA subway map of tomorrow
  • Presentation by Eddie Jabbour on present and future transit mapping for mobile devices.
  • Panel discussion on how the subway map should evolve in the future.


The event is free but please RSVP. Attendees who RSVP will be rewarded with a postcard print of part of Raleigh D’Adamo’s subway map (the downtown segment). This is a Limited print run of 855, available only to attendees who RSVP on Eventbrite.

Located in The Great Hall, in the Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues


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From untappedcities.com, which has an MTA video showing an antique (1930s vintage with replacement custom-built or refurbished parts) train traffic control system still in use at the west 4th Street subway:

“We are not joking when we say that the current traffic control system has not changed since the subway opened a hundred years ago. The same equipment and the same methods are still in use, mainly a master switchboard, hand-written charts updated as trains pass checkpoints, levers used to move tracks in the tunnels, and even an employee relaying announcements through the intercom in a machine-like affectation.

Each control tower houses a relay room with equipment that dates back at least to the 1940s. There, thousands of wires, control panels, and switches, all electromechanical relays that are more than 50 years old, are still in use. The equipment is not supplied by the railroad industry. Instead, the MTA maintains its own repair shop to replace the ancient wires and switches”.

This represents only part of the MTA’s current subway system, which, as the video also shows,  is currently being swapped out for more modern equipment: the long shutdowns and extensive trackwork subway riders are currently experiencing are the side effect of the installation of more advanced and modern computerized train-control systems, which are in use in many other parts of NYC’s subway system.…

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Saturday July 11 & Sunday July 12
11am – 4pm

Four of the Transit Museum’s vintage buses are headed to Governors Island for a summer getaway! Our Vintage Bus Bash will transport visitors back to the 1940s and 1950s. Come see iconic “fishbowl” windows, the first air-conditioned bus in the country, the bus model that Jackie Gleason drove in his role on The Honeymooners, and more. No bus fare needed – this event is free!…

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The New York Transit Museum will also be kicking off its summer of Nostalgia Rides with a journey to Coney Island on vintage Independent Subway System (IND) R 1-9 cars and Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) D-Type Triplex cars.…

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A History of New York City Transportation – From Horsecars to Helicopters
Class tonight 7/6 (now sold out and there is a waitlist) $10 at the Brooklyn Brainery.
By some estimates, for every New Yorker you see walking around on the streets, there’s one New Yorker underground, riding the train. That’s right – 1/2 of New York’s population is on some form of public transportation at any given moment.

This miraculous statistic means that the city we know truly couldn’t exist without its subways, buses, and taxis, but how did all this heavy, stinky, old fashioned infrastructure get built?

This class covers NYC transportation from the early days, when the best you could hope for was a mud-spattered omnibus ride, through the first steam-powered elevated railroads, all the way up to the Pan Am building helicopter shuttle. It also touches on the many ambitious, zany, quixotic efforts to get us from Point A to Point B. Have you ever been sucked through a tunnel?

Cancellation policy

Taught by Patrick Lamson-Hall

Patrick Lamson-Hall is an urban planner at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project. His interests include urbanization in the developing world, alternative transportation, and public space. Before becoming an urban planner he worked as a journalist, a dishwasher, and an anarchist. He’s currently researching historical densities in Manhattan as well as implementing an urban expansion initiative in four cities in Ethiopia. …

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From The NY Post: Confederate Flags Adorn This Times Square Subway Station

Tiny Confederate flags are right under the noses of millions of straphangers passing through the Times Square subway station every day.

The tile mosaics honor the late New York Times head Adolph S. Ochs, a Southerner with “strong ties to the Confederacy,” said Civil War historian Dr. David Jackowe.

The tiles were installed more than 90 years ago when stations were adorned with symbols to honor prominent figures — in this case, the Tennessee-raised Ochs, who was buried with a Confederate flag after his death in 1935.

But commuters are disgusted, especially after last week’s slaughter at a Charleston, South Carolina, church allegedly by Dylann Roof, a Confederate flag-waving racist.

“As a black man, it’s insulting, and it’s racist,” said Cain Steed, 38. “It hurts. It shouldn’t be represented here.”

Isjad Choudary, 20, also wanted them gone.

“Erase! Done!” the student said. “With what just happened, you can see it’s still influencing racist behavior. No way! Kaput!”

Erwin Minerve, 42, said: “Take it down! I want my son to be aware because it’s history, but I don’t want it to be blatantly plastered in our face in the subway like that.”

Although born in Ohio, Ochs had ties to the rebel cause, Jackowe wrote in Civil War Times in 2012.

His mom, Bertha Levi Ochs, was a charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and helped smuggle spies and quinine during the war, Jackowe said.

Ochs would run editorials and pictorial editions devoted to Dixie, Jackowe wrote.

The MTA dismissed any similarity to the flag.

“It is a geometric pattern, not a flag design, and has no reference to anything beyond a pattern,” said spokesman Kevin Ortiz. “Similar patterns in other palettes of colors are found in various subway stations.”…

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