11 December 2014

East Coast Adventure: New York Transit Museum

Aside from the Cloisters, another place in New York City that we visited (and I haven't photographed yet) was the New York Transit Museum. It is located in Brooklyn, in an unused subway station. Hence, one needs to go downstairs underground to visit this museum. It was very educational, tackling the history of the New York Transit system, as well as displaying historical trains and other instruments that are important in running the city's transportation.

The first part of the museum displays the historical aspect when it comes to the construction of the subway system. I didn't know much about this until I visited it, when I knew that it was actually the immigrants from Europe who formed the backbone of the workforce when the subways were being dug and constructed. There were several deaths, and plenty of accidents. After all, it's an old system, and riding the metro nowadays still show the age of the underground structures.

The historical displays were then followed by scientific displays, which, I believe, would interest younger visitors of the museum. There are plenty of interactive displays showing how electricity is running the system, among other things. There were plenty of generators that one can spin and therefore see physics in action.

There were plenty of other displays about the various instruments and equipment that are important in running the whole system, such as working trains, electric monitors, and other gadgets that I don't really know how to operate.

Of course, there are historical equipment as well, such as these old ticket booths, and yes, there are displays about the tokens that were used back when there was no Metrocard yet in operation.

Of course, not everything is about subways. There are exhibits on the bus too, which was the one that replaced streetcars eventually. New York used to have streetcars, but those were eventually phased out.

But the part of the exhibit that I liked the most was the downstairs level, where there are the tracks, containing the historical subway cars that were used over time. I loved the fact that these cars were restored to their original condition, complete with the ads that were time-appropriate. I am glad that visitors can actually go inside and sit in these historic cars; I would expect otherwise that people were not allowed to do this due to conservation issues. Anyway, I did enjoy my visit, and definitely recommend it to transportation fans, and other people who are interested in a piece of history of New York City.


  1. I love the old ads, like you say, it really add to the exhibit.

    1. Zhu,

      I am not sure whether your dragon is a fan of moving machines or not, but if ever you guys find yourselves in New York City, this might be a good place to visit. :)