Photo courtesy Spotify
New York City’s iconic yellow MetroCard has been a trademark of the subway since 1992, the year it was introduced. The slim, plastic cards eliminated the burden of carrying subway tokens — and so, the MTA officially discontinued the use of the coins in 2003.
New York City’s beloved MetroCard has served us reliably (for the most part) ever since then. But now, with its impending phase out expected to be completed by 2023, we thought it would be appropriate to take a look back at the various iterations of the MetroCard over the years.
There are plenty of ones that advertise upcoming shows, various New York City institutions and important events like the Super Bowl and the NBA All-Star game. There are simply too many to list, so we’ve honed in some of our favorites over the years:
11. David Bowie Metrocards
In true New York City fashion, in April 2018, David Bowie took over the Broadway-Lafayette and Bleecker Street subway stops. A collaboration between Spotify and The Brooklyn Museum, the stations were covered in Bowie-themed subway ads, images of fan-made works and wall-sized depictions of pieces currently on display at the museum’s new David Bowie Is exhibition. The underground experience included unique Spotify codes to brings fans closer to Bowie’s music, as well as limited edition, keepsake MetroCards that were be available for purchase inside the Broadway-Lafayette station. These MetroCards each display one of five Bowie personas including Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, and Thin White Duke. The “takeover” will be on view until Sunday, May 13th, and MetroCards wered selling on eBay with “Buy Now” prices ranging from $9.99 to $299.
10. Barbara Kruger MetroCard
On Wednesday, November 1st, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority released 50,000 limited-edition MetroCards, featuring American conceptual artist and collagist Barbara Kruger’s bold lettering that has formerly been displayed on buses and train stations, among other places.
Distributed randomly at four New York City stations (Queensboro Plaza, Broadway-Lafayette Street, East Broadway and the B/C station at 116th Street), the cards are being presented in conjunction with site-specific works that Kruger is conceptualizing for the Performa Biennial. They are available in two sets, which ask a series of short, poignant questions like “Who is healed?,” “Whose justice?” and “Who speaks?”