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Thread: New York Transit Museum Reopens

  1. #1

    Default New York Transit Museum Reopens

    September 15, 2003

    Museum Stands Clear of Time's Closing Doors

    By ANDREA ELLIOTT

    New Yorkers tend to ride the subway because they must.

    Then there are people like Howard Fein and his son, Robert. They ride the subway for fun.

    Being a transit buff is often a solitary thing, the Feins concede, but it felt a touch less lonely yesterday as the pair wearing matching T-shirts emblazoned with the purple circle of the No. 7 subway line joined hundreds of other transportation enthusiasts at the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn. The museum gave a free preview to the public over the weekend before it officially reopens tomorrow after two years. During that time, the museum's wiring and plumbing were renovated and several exhibits added.

    "We'll be here as long as they'll allow us," said Mr. Fein, 44, of Queens, as he and Robert, 7, hurried past photographs of New York's subway history and toward an open bus inside the museum, which occupies a former subway station at Schermerhorn Street between Court Street and Boerum Place.

    "The first few times we came here, when he was 2 and 3, this was all he wanted to do drive the bus," said Mr. Fein, alluding to the wheel at the front of the bus, which a very small boy was wildly steering. The Feins were disappointed when the museum closed for renovation, and they were elated to hear at a "bus rodeo" last summer, when buses from different eras were on display in Brooklyn that it was opening again.

    On this visit, Robert breezed past the child at the wheel and toward a plastic-encased engine at the back of the bus. He and his father quickly discussed the mechanics of electricity flow between subway stations.

    "I would like to work a train," Robert later said. "Drive one."

    While not all children may be as transportation-minded, those present yesterday whizzed around the museum with the excitement of ants descending on newfound crumbs. They charged through nearly century-old subway turnstiles, eagerly turned the levers of a model diesel hybrid electric engine, the kind now found in 10 of the city's buses, and hopped on to subway cars dating to 1904.

    Hopping on with them was Mel Cohen, 76, who sat inside a 1907 Brooklyn Rapid Transit subway car, the train of his youth.

    "This wooden jalopy is mine," Mr. Cohen said as he sat, arms extended, on the dark green car's wicker seats. The wood-paneled car was parked on a subway track inside the museum, which displayed subway cars from decades throughout the 20th century.

    Mr. Cohen, who lives on Long Island, reminisced about days when he would hop the Myrtle Avenue Line on his way to the Paramount Theater to hear Frank Sinatra sing for $1. Or the times when he and his brother put a nickel inside the revolving door entrance and then both slipped in through the space.

    "Hey, a nickel's a nickel," he said.

    Above him, in the space occupied in modern subway cars by advertisements for community colleges and chiropractors, an ad read: "For a refreshing bath, Fairy soap is white and pure, made of choice materials. 5 cents."

    "When you dated a girl, you had to take her on a trolley or train," said Mr. Cohen, sitting across from his current date, Annette Saslow, 75, of Long Island.

    Ms. Saslow, who lived in the Bronx in her youth, joked that at the time because of a slower transportation system she might have been "G.U." to Mr. Cohen, or "geographically unavailable." Now both drive cars.

    Upstairs, on the street, people milled around eight parked buses from different eras, the oldest dating to 1917. The newest was one of 260 of the city's 4,800 buses that use compressed natural gas, a cleaner-burning fuel.

    Nathaniel Davis was impressed by something else. A bus driver, he stood outside a 1950's-era Jackie Gleason bus, named for the television series "The Honeymooners," in which Mr. Gleason played Ralph Kramden, a bus driver.

    Mr. Davis, who is 56 and lives in the Bronx, peered up at the seat and the large plastic wheel and shook his head. "They were truly bus drivers," he said. "I drive my bus with one finger. It's all power steering."


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company


    http://www.mta.nyc.ny.us/mta/museum

  2. #2

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    Tuesday, November 4, 2003

    New York: Transit Museum bigger and better


    Anthony Santiago, 6, of Brooklyn, New York, pretends to drive a city bus at the Transit Museum.

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Isabelle Prince prefers to ride the city's buses.

    "I don't like subways," the 4-year-old confessed Saturday. "They're too squeaky."

    Even finicky commuters like Isabelle, though, can find something of interest at the city's refurbished Transit Museum. After two years of renovations, the nation's largest urban mass transit museum is back on track.

    The two-level, 60,000-square foot museum re-opened in September. Located in a former subway station in Brooklyn, it provides an unprecedented overview of the nation's busiest mass transit system, tracing the evolution of its trolleys, trains and buses.

    The renovation included the installation of interactive exhibits, along with new galleries and a computer resource center.

    From 1936-46, the museum was an actual subway station. It sat vacant for 30 years after it was decommissioned, but found new life as a museum in 1976.

    Visitors are greeted at street level with the first bus that served New York riders back in 1907. The green double-decker bus officially sports the regal name of "Queen Anne."


    A museum-goer looks at the "Queen Anne," the first bus that served New York riders back in 1907.

    Grit and grime

    But other exhibits feature more of the grit and grime that most people associate with subways. "Steel, Stone and Backbone" details the backbreaking work of the men -- mostly southern blacks, along with Irish and Italian immigrants -- who excavated the subway tunnels.

    "These were men actually digging with picks and axes," said Roxanne Robertson, museum spokeswoman, pointing to a pile of wooden crates that represents the dynamite used to carve out the tunnels. "The subway system was built on manual labor."

    For kids, an opportunity to sit behind the wheel of a city bus is irresistible. Marek Barnette, 4, wrapped his tiny hands around the big, black steering wheel of a bus in the museum.

    "I don't want to drive a real one," he said. "It's too scary."

    Another exhibit, "On The Streets: New York's Trolleys and Buses," provides a 175-year history of the city's above-ground transportation. One of its major attractions is a simulated traffic intersection, complete with flashing "Walk/Don't Walk" signs.

    Guests can also check out turnstiles of every vintage, from the original in 1904 (when fares were a nickel) to the current version ($2). Folks too young to remember subway tokens can see what they looked like throughout the 20th century.

    A favorite among New Yorkers is the museum's gift shop, which offers everything from railroad lanterns and station signs to men's silk underpants adorned with the city subway map.

    IF YOU GO ...

    LOCATION: Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, near the following subway stations: 2, 3, 4, or 5 to Borough Hall; A, C or F to Jay Street; A, C or G to Hoyt-Schermerhorn. Phone: (718) 694-5100.

    HOURS: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; weekends noon to 5 p.m.

    ADMISSION: children $3, adults $5.


    Copyright 2003 The Associated Press

  3. #3

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    Transit Museum

    #6: The 6th avenue stations were the most elaborate.

  4. #4

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    Regal.

    BRT? I thought the IRT-BMT-IND trio was it.

  5. #5

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    The BRT was a holding company that bought up the railroads of Kings County. It went into bankruptcy in 1918 and reorganized as the BMT.

    Early Rapid Transit in Brooklyn.

    A bewildering assortment of railroads. I found out who Norton was, and what seeing the elephant meant. The earliest railroad to Coney Island was the Brooklyn, Bath, & Coney Island Railroad, today's West End Line. In1862, it was a horse-drawn line.

    1888 map of railroad routes

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  7. #7

    Default glub glub glub

    gurgle glub glub glub




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