Updated November 2018
Do you know about the Holiday Nostalgia Train running in New York City this holiday season? This almost-secret resurrection of vintage trains running along real tracks is back for a limited time. So go catch one while you can!
The New York Transit Museum has teamed up with the MTA to bring the old-fashioned trains from a by-gone era back for some holiday fun. The “R1-9” cars, as they are called, are from the 1930’s and can be enjoyed just as you would take the modern subway today. For a single MetroCard ticket, hop on and go back in time, rattan seats and all!
This year’s Holiday Nostalgia trains will run along the F line between Second Ave and 47th-50th/Rockefeller Center, and then up the Central Park West line where the train will stop at 59th Street/Columbus Circle before making its way up to 125th Street on the A/C/D lines in Harlem. They will be running on Sundays only this holiday season, on:
The trains will depart the 2nd Avenue station on the F line at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., and from 125th on the A/C/D line 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
So how was it?
Fun! Interesting! I went with my girls (and brother and nephew) this past Sunday, we all swiped our MetroCards, and took the Q line train at 11:00 a.m. We had heard to arrive early for some train viewing and photo taking before departure, and that’s just what we did. Indeed, there was a crowd of people already there with cameras out; though, thankfully, it wasn’t obnoxiously crowded.
Once we boarded the train, we were taken back in time with rattan seating, ceiling fans, light bulbs, “drop-sash” style windows, vintage roll signs and original advertisements. The ads were probably my favorite part of the train – Ben-Gay anyone?…Any takers for a spin on the coaster at Rockaway’s Playland? They were lots of fun to see, and to the poor people I kept asking to move so I could take a photo, thank you.
Interestingly, there were also people dressed up in period clothing, who really got into it. This clearly is a “thing”. So the eye candy was everywhere, from the décor to the people.
The kids were able to snag a seat, and my brother and I became straphangers, just like back in the day. At every other stop we would walk down to the next car to check it out – each one with their own decor – and to see all the advertisements. We did have one moment where we stopped for about 7 minutes, but I never felt too nervous, as there was MTA staff everywhere – about 2 per car. They are older trains after all!
Most people were like us, eager to see the vintage trains, while some others were genuinely there to use the subway system and get from point A to point B. And some others you could tell, were utterly confused! Clearly, they did not receive the memo about the nostalgia cars.
If you’re in New York, and looking for a unique activity to do with the kids (or without), check out the holiday nostalgia trains and take a ride back in time.
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