Transit Tuesday: NYC Vintage Subway Ride

Take the A Train. Vintage Ride, NYC Subway, December 201


On Sundays in December, with a little luck and timing, you can catch classic New York City Subway R1/9 cars from the 1930s. It’s quite a party on the train, with railfans, musicians, and gawkers all piling on to remember transit’s roots. So climb aboard, and take a rattan covered bench, watch the heavy doors slide closed and the ceiling fans spin ’round. You can also roam the train as it rolls between stations: it’s great people watching.

Vintage Ride, NYC Subway, December 2011.


Air conditioning was not to be found in the NYC Subway until 1967, so you slide open the windows and let the tunnel breezes cool you (or not).  With the windows open, the tracks and walls are that much closer, and the sound of the train thundering through the tunnel is deafening. The grease is thick on the air, and the mechanics of the car sound different, heavier.

Music on the Vintage Ride, December 2011


R1/9 cars remained in service until the late 1970s. Check in late November for the Vintage Ride, which runs regular service from Queens Plaza to the Lower East Side on the M line. Let the music play!

An issue of The Subway Sun – a much more fun way to share NYC Subway courtesy and advertising messages than those used today.

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.