New Yorkers put up with extreme heat and humidity in the summer and bitter cold in the winter. Sometimes it’s necessary to find something to do indoors. On this 13-degree day (-10C), We walked past the entrance to the Transit museum twice, not realizing that the steps leading down to the de-commissioned Court Street subway station was the entrance. They couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate space!
Building the NYC Subway System
The first part of the museum is dedicated to the workers who began building the subway system in the 1880s, to the hardships they faced, the fatal accidents, the unfair labor practices and the dividing of workers by race to divide and weaken them. The majority of the workers were Irish and Italian immigrants and African-Americans.
Facing Terrorism, Blackouts and Hurricanes
NYC transit workers are on the front lines during disasters, evacuating passengers during blackouts, directing them during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, shoveling the snow off of the tracks during blizzards and repairing water damaged systems during the floods caused by hurricanes. Here you’ll see panel boards and television screens from the command center and see wonderful photographs showing the human side of the tragedies and difficult situations.
You’ll hear emergency calls and once-live news reports as you view these exhibits.
The subway system is just one part of the transit system in NYC. A lot of floor space is given to the vast bus system.
The city’s transit system began in the early 19th century, as the city was growing fast and people needed a way to get around. These included trolleys and ferries. In 1814, Robert Fulton invented the steamship specifically for the ferry to Brooklyn.The museum shows how the improvement of transit lead to population growth throughout the city.
Restored Original Subway Cars
Next, you’ll walk downstairs to the subway platform, where subway cars from the past 100+ years are on display. The first we entered was a car built in 1907. This fleet of subway cars remained in service until 1969, running along the #7 line through Queens, NY.
The NYC Transit Museum is a great way to understand the growth and the culture of New York City. Don’t let the rain or extreme temperature ruin your visit to New York. Instead, hop on the subway to the NYC Transit Museum in Brooklyn, NY.
Hands-on Fun for Children
Small children’s imaginations will transport them as they sit in the driver’s seat of a NYC bus (while excited parents take their pictures through the front windshield), stand in a token booth and become the train conductor on a subway train.