Our family’s favorite mode of transportation, hands down, is the subway. Our daughters love the turnstiles, they know they have to always ‘watch the gap’ and enjoy counting the stops that take us to our different destinations. They’re also fascinated by the fact that we happen to live in (sometimes deafening) earshot of the 2nd avenue subway line construction site. So when I found out that the NY Transit Museum in Brooklyn, which is housed in a 1936 Brooklyn Heights subway stop, was holding a scavenger hunt, we quickly headed over there to check it out (by subway, of course).
Upon arrival, we headed straight to the lower platform for the Great Subway Search. The girls were given a list of symbols, signs and subway features to find on their fleet of vintage cars which date all the way back to 1904. Placards all along the platform, detail the history and progression of the city’s subway line. The girls ran in and out of the cars of different eras checking off items on their lists, making note of the differences in seats, décor, doors, signs, fans, and strap handles. Each car is adorned with billboard ads of the time; from proud soldiers encouraging Americans to Buy War Bonds to bygone New York breweries, and the pop-culture art and slogans help to paint a vivid portrait of a moment in time.
The long-term exhibits on the main floor were equally interesting. The girls loved Fare Collection where they were able to see the evolution of turnstiles dating back 100 years, and try them out too. We saw pictures of how tokens changed their look over time, before being replaced with today’s familiar metro card. They had a ball at On the Streets: New York’s Trolleys and Buses, a simulated traffic intersection. They wandered about traffic lights, meters, fire hydrants and enjoyed climbing aboard a bus and taking turns being passenger and driver.
We walked through Steel, Stone, and Backbone, and learned about the building of the subway system. The Clearing the Air section helped us better understand different fuel technologies and their impact on our environment. Friendly museum guides walked the children through the multiple interactive stations and explained the various ways that fuels are used and how we can reduce harmful emissions.
If your child loves to wave at a city bus or tries to tug you down the subway steps instead of hailing a taxi, make it a point to check this museum out. Upcoming weekends family programs include ‘Transportation Inventions’, ‘Transit Time Capsule’ and ‘Design a Bus’
More information can be found at the Museum Website calendar for family programs
Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, Mina was an HR Recruiter for years. Now her time is spent happily juggling the demands of two young daughters while trying to expose them to the endless adventures the city has to offer.
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