On June 14, the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn Heights celebrated the NYC subway system's 110th birthday with a morning party for train lovers of all ages.
Families who attended rode historic trains, posed for vintage photos, met costumed interpreters, enjoyed live music by The Deedle Deedle Dees, and sang "Happy Birthday" to the subway.
The Interborough Rapid Transit subway opened Oct. 27, 1904 with one line extending from City Hall to 145th Street. It started with only 28 stations, but the subway system now encompasses 468 stations and more than 800 miles of track.
As custodian and interpreter of the region's extensive public transportation networks, the Transit Museum shares, through its education programs, this rich and vibrant history with younger audiences.
For the first time in the museum’s history, vintage R1/9 subway cars dating all the way back to the 1930s shuttled passengers back and forth between the museum and the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station. The cars that inspired Billy Strayhorn’s “Take the A Train,” R1s went into service on the Eighth Avenue line (A,C,E) as part of the new city-owned Independent Subway (IND) in 1932.
Costumed interpreters in other vintage cars on the museum’s decommissioned Court Street station platform brought transit history to life, interacting with young straphangers and sharing fun facts about the subway. Creative kids discovered the art of subway station mosaics and created unique patterns and designs with glass tile in a craft project called “Miles of Tiles.”
A band led by Lloyd H. Miller of the Deedle Deedle Dees got straphangers dancing and swingin’ throughout the event, and the party concluded with a singing of “Happy Birthday” and chocolate cake for all.