My jaded children have been to New York a few too many times for their liking. Because my parents are slowly retiring to the city (yes, retiring to the city; people often do a double take on that but I always say, “Well, when you live in Miami Beach where should one retire?”), we have an available apartment and free babysitting, so we go fairly often. At the end of our April vacation, we popped down for a long weekend. But then we needed to entertain the children.

“Let’s go walk the High Line.”

“How about we go to MOMA?”
“Not without Nana.” (My mom, the artist, was not in New York for our visit.)

“Let’s try the Cloisters.”
“Looks boring.”

“Shall we go to the Bronx Zoo?”
“Too far away.”

When asked for suggestions, they had two: Coney Island (not yet open on weekdays) and Economy Candy (which they lost the opportunity to visit because of their atrocious behavior. Yes, my kids behave atrociously at times. Why do I suspect that doesn’t surprise you?).

Finally I came up with an idea so crazy, no one could say no. We’d go to Brooklyn. (Yes, technically Coney Island is Brooklyn, but it’s, well, you know, Coney Island.) I wanted to visit the NYC Transit Museum. And no one could come up with a reason not to go, so off we went.

Obey the Law

I truly thought this would be a half hour visit and that primarily the kids would be interested. Not so. After two hours, the kids were ready to leave but Adam and I were still exploring. The physical aspects of the museum are interesting as it’s in a defunct subway station, and as all the signs say, that third rail is still live, so don’t touch it! The upstairs is about the history of transit in New York–not just the subway but busses and horse carts and trolleys and every other public means of transport. There are hands-on electricity exhibits and photos of how the subways were carved out. There’s a bus you can sit in and short movies to watch. I took lots of notes, as much of this is relevant to Modern Girls.
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Downstairs, though, was my favorite part: original subway cars from 1910 to today (and while I got a kick seeing the subway cars used when I lived in New York in the 1980s, they looked woefully wrong without the graffiti). The old styles were cool enough that you had to wish they were still around, but the best part was all the original ads still up in all their sexist, racist, xenophobic glory. I guess somethings have improved with time.

New York Transit Museum
Tuberculosis Ad
Vintage Ad
Must They Die in WWIII?
Watch Out!

Meanwhile, I need to come up with some new ideas for our next trip to New York. Because if I offer up the Transit Museum, I’ll just get a “But we’ve already done thaaaattttt!” Aren’t kids a joy?