city hall subway station

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 enjoy 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 our Underground Tour of the New York City Subway.

Abandoned Chambers Street platform

Underground Tour of 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 bringing it back would add a touch of class to our commutes.