Ten must-sees at the New York Transit Museum

Good for: NYC trivia nerds

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Revenue bag for Third Avenue Transit Corporation Operators
Buses are one of the only parts of the city's transit system where you can still pay the fare with cash as fare (the rest of the system, aside from bridges and tunnels, uses MetroCards exclusively). This stylish tote from the 1950s would have been used by bus operators to move cash from their vehicles to a counting center or bank. Now, says Shubert, "it's all automated for security reasons." In "Show Me the Money," you can see an image of the vacuum that attaches to the fare box and sucks the coins out.
Where to find it:
"On the Streets," ongoing.

1932--33 R4 subway car, no. 484
Shubert is fond of the quirky interior of this car, which ran on IND lines from 1933 until the 1970s. "The sea green walls, striped seats, bulbous lights that shed a pleasant light, white handholds...it's just a beauty, because it's so unusual." Check out the advertisements posted throughout the car—they're period-appropriate, and feature celebs like Lucille Ball. The museum changes out its stock of vintage cars every so often, and uses some of the vehicles for its popular Nostalgia Rides, which let participants take a spin on the old-timey carriages (the next ride travels to Coney Island; July 23 10am--5pm; $20--$50).
Where to find it: Platform level, ongoing.

1963--64 R33S subway car, no. 9306
This vehicle was designed specifically for the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing, Queens; nicknamed a "Bluebird," the car has a turquoise, gray and black color scheme with orange accents on the logo. "I love the logo," notes Shubert. "The typeface has that '60s modern look to it; everything's on a slant [perhaps] because everyone is on the go."
Where to find it:
Platform level, ongoing.

Subway Sadie poster
One of Shubert's favorite pieces in the museum's archives is a poster for the film Subway Sadie, released in 1926. "It has great copy," she says, citing the description of the main character as "a subway gal with limousine taste." In fact, the institution's cat—yes, there's a cat, and she sometimes hangs out on the platform—is named after this artifact. "She's a working cat; she has rodent-control duties," laughs Shubert.
Where to find it: Platform level, ongoing.

Vintage Penn Station postcard
The museum also operates an annex at Grand Central Terminal; this postcard, which is on loan, is on view there. "I love the feel evoked by this specific illustration," enthuses Shubert. The drawing depicts the interior of McKim, Mead and White's Beaux Arts building, which was torn down in 1964. "The soaring spaces are captured—the people in the foreground are dwarfed by this immense and beautiful building," Shubert says.
Where to find it:
"The Once and Future Pennsylvania Station," New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex, Grand Central Terminal, E 42nd St between Lexington and Vanderbilt Aves.

New York Transit Museum, Boerum Pl at Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn Heights (718-694-1600, mta.info/mta/museum). Tue--Fri 10am--4pm; Sat, Sun noon--5pm. $6, seniors and children 3--17 $4.

While you're there...

Pop into the gift shop and snag cool gifts, including boxer shorts printed with the subway map ($30) or a necklace made using a 1953 token ($100).

You'll have a new appreciation for sandhogs (the dudes who dig the subway tunnels) after seeing "Steel, Stone & Backbone: Building New York's Subways 1900--1925" (main level). The permanent exhibit looks at the first phases of construction on the transit system, cataloging the hazards that its creators faced (and, in some cases, the accidents that happened during its construction).

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