Vintage subway car at the New York Transit Museum with fabric “straphangers”. Photo courtesy New York Transit Museum.
New York City’s straphangers may like to complain about the state of the subway or its unreliable service, but in the digital age, we’re enjoying many technological amenities such as train arrival clocks, air conditioned cars and underground Wi-Fi. Yet, there are many quirky and fun features from the old subway system that we wished the MTA would bring back. From straphangers to woven seats, here’s a round up of nostalgic vintage features that were once common sights.
For more subway history and fun facts, make sure to also join us on a future Underground Tour of the NYC Subway:
Underground Tour of the NYC Subway
11. Champagne and Bagel Bar Car
As part of a campaign to clean up the subway system in the 1960s the NYC Transit Authority (before it was incorporated into the MTA) introduced a “bar car” in 1962 on a subway running between Times Square and South Ferry. The bar car gave straphangers a taste of first class luxury with plush carpeting, draped curtains and pastel lighting.
As riders made their way downtown or back up to Times Square they could enjoy a glass of champagne and a pretzel or bagel. Though the bar car was only a one time publicity stunt, we think that brining it back would add a touch of class to our commutes. Read more about the “bar car” here.