Hundreds of New Yorkers waited in hours-long lines to get their very own MetroCard emblazoned with the Notorious B.I.G.'s face. It was a special edition MetroCard issued to celebrate what would've been the late artist's 50th birthday.
As any New Yorker knows, it takes a few minutes to get one MetroCard. Multiply that by 50,000 (how many of these cards were available) and you've got super long lines in the sweltering heat. These cards were only available at three Brooklyn stations—Lafayette Avenue, Clinton-Washington Avenue and Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center—at 12:01am on May 21, near Biggie's home in Bed-Stuy, so there was no spacing out to be done.
Some complained of two- to four-hour waits. Some finally got up to the MetroCard machine to find out that it became cash only. Others spotted people buying up stacks of them only to resell them for more money.
The current line of people trying to get a Biggie (B.I.G) MetroCard at the Barclays Center subway entrance. Absolutely insane… pic.twitter.com/jgpTBpCj9Y— Finnley S. (KR Vail#0566) (@FinnleySt) May 21, 2022
The line for the Biggie metrocard started before it’s release at midnight tonight. Only 50,000 available total city wide. 2 fare minimum required Happy 50th birthday Notorious BIG. pic.twitter.com/g3CDPIWkSi— theglamorousnerd (@sonyamagett) May 21, 2022
Had an eventful morning waiting 2 hrs for the Biggie metrocard at 7:30am. Got to the front only to find out the ONE machine selling them was taking cash only SMH 😒 luckily the nice MTA worker in front of me fronted the $$ but DAMN pic.twitter.com/X95SPsL3ZX— Ali (@aliyee923) May 21, 2022
It took 57 hours for them to completely sell out—the last vending machine with the Notorious B.I.G MetroCards sold out this morning, by 9am, according to the MTA.
These special edition MetroCards are released as a way to generate revenue, according to the MTA. (The agency sells space on the cards to advertisers.) This program has existed for many years but in 2012, the MTA renewed it by doing more of these kinds of campaigns that generate a lot of interest, including for Supreme, Game of Thrones, David Bowie, Wu-Tang Clan and Paul McCartney, among others. It's also designed cards for Pride, to honor veterans and has also done an Arts & Design campaign card that resulted in a card with the word "Optimism" on it.
Some of these cards, depending on their subject, have been listed on resell sites for way more than what they were originally purchased for. The Biggie cards are already listed for over $100, including one on eBay listed at a cool $1,200.