Last week I had made a stop at the NYC Transit Museum with a dear friend of mine, and being obsessed as I am with the subway – how can I not? – it was honestly quite a bit of fun. Set in a part of a closed off subway station, one of the coolest parts of it, in my opinion, are the old trains, complete with the accurate advertising of that particular time period. I couldn’t help but think of both sets of grandparents taking the subway to work or to run errands, and looking at some of these ads while on the train.
Reading about how the construction crews built the subway, and how it was at the time an unprecedented marvel of engineering was also pretty cool.
Check out a couple of photos.
Check out the interior of a train from 1917. Amazingly, besides a little bit of wear and tear, the train and it’s interior have held up quite well. But i also reminds you of the fact that there’s no way that this stuff would survive today. Someone would end up tagging it with graffiti or scratchiti.
Wouldn’t you want some Campbell’s Soup?
What’s pretty cool about this is that the National Biscuit Company is now a small-ish company by the name of NABISCO. I immediately recognized that and laughed.
Or perhaps you prefer the peerless flavor of Grape Nuts?
Look at the detail of this glass enclosure for the conductor’s booth. The ads and this booth come from a Brooklyn Rapid Transit or BRT train from around 1917 or so.
These patriotic ads were on a train from the 1940s. Of course, after looking at the first ad, you know that there’s no way that it could have been placed in this day and age.
A Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT) train from 1917.
A Guinness ad from the 1950s, I think. I agree with the sentiment – Guinness is a man’s drink.
What I love about this ad for Schmulka Bernstein’s Kosher Cold Cuts is the phone number – Gramercy 5-3040.
I also happened to love the old subway maps – in each you begin to see familiar details that have become part of the modern subway map. All of them are of course, geographically incorrect but they serve their purpose. But perhaps more important is the fact that Brooklyn is always in the house. Always. (I have to check if the MTA actually makes reproductions of these maps for sale. If they don’t, they should – I’d love to have one in my apartment.)
An old Court Street station sign.
I can dimly remember when the MTA was the NYC Transit Authority back in the 80s. This sign is from a more recent train, a train from about 1967 or so.
This made me smile because it’s from a 7 train.
This Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) map dates back to 1917.
For these photos ad a few more, check out the Flickr set here: