A Tale of Two Loops Update: South Ferry Loop closing soon!

After a combined 108 years of service, the original South Ferry loop station will close once again! Whether it’s tomorrow, Wednesday, or Friday, for that matter the station will close to make way for the replacement station which was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. So today, I took a ride downtown to old stop for old times’ sake. Sadly I didn’t get on the Ferry services, the Governors Island and Staten Island Ferry, that are upstairs due to time constraints. While I will miss it’s eccentric nature, I will so not miss the screeching!

If you want to read the original blog posting click here

So long old South Ferry and thanks for the memories!

 

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Awaiting Departure

 

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Getting On

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Going to miss the classic tiles!

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Train Departing in 5,4,3,2…

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Pulling away from the past into the future

 

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My Holiday Tradition: The Nostalgia Train

Sorry for the long drought of writing, it’s been a busy few months and little to nothing to write about. This time though I’ve something that has been in the making for ages. It’s the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) annual holiday train.

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Train about to be turned around at Queens Plaza

The Arnines: A subway history.

This recent addition to the New York Holiday scene, consist of subway cars that date back to the 1930’s. The cars are know by their official names as the R-1 through R-9 series or arnines in subway buff speak.

They were 1,703 cars built for the Independent or IND system. The cars are the standard for every subway train design since then. Subsequent generations of MTA rolling stock can trace their design roots from car length, the amount of doors, ceiling height and even the seating layout, to these beauties. The cars can handle up to 228 people during the height of rush hour.

The cars ran from 1933 when the Eight Avenue Line, today’s A-C-E service opened until 1970 when the trains were finally retired due to old age. An overwhelming majority of the cars were scrapped but 19 have made it to the present day, a majority of which are still with the MTA. Eight of the cars are now in use for trip.

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Really Bright Interior! 

 

The consist is usually a combination of the following: 100-381-401-484-1000-1301-1575-1802. 100 is usually the lead car since it is the actual first car from the entire batch. 1575 which was re-done to look like it’s cousin the R-10, is usually in the middle of the pack and has a distinct light gray, gray-green and orange color scheme. The rest of the cars are painted green, although in historic photos, they were usually painted black.

 

 

 

Between their retirement and the centennial, the Arnines were used mostly for fan trips which were either open to the public or to exclusive members of the New York Transit Museum.

(203k, 1024x678)<br><b>Country:</b> United States<br><b>City:</b> New York<br><b>System:</b> New York City Transit<br><b>Line:</b> IND Crosstown Line<br><b>Location:</b> Smith/9th Street <br><b>Route:</b> Fan Trip<br><b>Car:</b> R-1 (American Car & Foundry, 1930-1931) 103 <br><b>Photo by:</b> Joe Testagrose<br><b>Date:</b> 10/30/1971<br><b>Viewed (this week/total):</b> 6 / 16857

Car 103 on a Fan Trip In Brooklyn. Photo by Joe Testagrose from nycsubway.org

The yearly tradition of rolling out vintage trains for the Christmas season dates back to the subway’s centennial in 2004.  In previous vintage runs, they were limited to just five cars. At the time they were running multiple trips on many lines and my dad and I only did one trip along Broadway N-Q-R-W line in Manhattan.

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Old Destination Signs 

Interest must have hit a peak because in 2007 the trips were restarted and moved to the Sixth Avenue Line were they run today between the 2nd Avenue-Lower East Side and Queens Plaza stations on Sundays.

Also a special Holiday jazz party on the rails is usually held on the 3rd or 4th Sunday depending on the schedule which is cool since you really feel like your back in time. People also get dressed up like it’s 1935 again!

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I see him every year with the same paper. 

 

So back in 2012, after years of not riding the train, I decided one Sunday to take it and I wasn’t disappointed. Since then it’s been tradition  for me and I’ve met friends and even been featured on someone’s blog when I dressed up one year. The trips also show a unique cross-section of New Yorker’s from train buffs, to classic clothing enthusiasts, jazz musicians and everyday people who want a break from the mundane. So while some look at the tree or the display windows I’m downstairs riding the arnines!

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Yeah that’s me two years ago in train car 1575 with it’s funky 50’s interior. I still have the outfit!

Tips and Schedule  

One round trip run time is just over an hour. The best stations to use are either terminal, Broadway-Lafayette Street, West 4th Street-Washington Square, 34-Herald Square, 42nd Street-Bryant Park, 47-50th/Rockefeller Center, Lexington Avenue/53rd Street and the former 23rd Street-Ely Avenue (now Court Square-23rd Street).

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Big fan of the split view at 47th-50th Rockefeller Center

I do not advise 14th, 23rd Streets and the 5th Avenue/53rd Street station stops due to their layouts which can prevent you from catching the train. They only have one so if you miss it you’re stuck. On the weekends, there is no direct service to get you from Queens Plaza to 23rd Street or even 5th Avenue/53rd Street to 23rd Street so plan accordingly.

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Louis Mendes, another regular really gets into the spirit  

The only time those stops could be used is on the first or last trips of the day. In regards to timing the first run leaves at 2nd Avenue at approximately 10:04 a.m. and the last tain leaves Queens Plaza at 4:44 p.m. but trains on regular service will have priority to leave the terminal stops first to avoid delays. So use the schedule provided by the MTA website as a guideline, especially when you are catching the train mid-route.

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Passenger

The best part is when the train goes under the East River in which the train kicks up it’s heels. All the windows and the walk through doors are opened so you really hear the noise and sounds of steel on steel.

The Jazz party is fun but if you plan to dress up try not to make it complicated it’s the most popular run and it gets very crowded, which makes the train very hot!

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Guitarists  

Cameras are allowed provided you don’t flash the train operator. Leave the tripod at home.

Pro Tip: The train usually stays at the 207th Street Yard in Upper Manhattan during the runs. So after the last run, listen to the announcer who will notify you of the route.

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Train heading back to the yard along the 8th Avenue Line 

The Nostalgia Train will run December 11th and the 18th. Due to Christmas and New Years Day landing on a Sunday they will not run the trains on those days. So take a ride if you can!

One Last Thing (or Two or Three) 

My good friend John and I usually find things to do so last week we went to the Brooklyn Museum to a very cool exhibit on Sport Photography called “Who Shot Sports” here is a link to his quick blog post which makes this one seem like a dissertation!

Also big thanks to the nycsubway.org who have been the repository of all things subway online when you can’t make it to the Transit Museum. They have thousands of pictures and articles on local transit history which is where I received some of my source material.

I’m not sure if I will post something in the next few weeks so if I don’t have a safe holiday season and see you in the New Year!

 

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Toot Toot!

Of Orchid’s and Cherry Blossoms.

It’s Spring in New York City and that means that days are getting longer, the trees are finally looking green and as always our allergies are kicking into high gear. Yet as an amateur photographer, capturing the changes in the seasons have been a welcome change compared to my usual urban focus. Spring is also so synonymous with re-birth or nature, that watching the slow flowering around the city has been a beautiful experience.

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Nature up close allergies and all.

The first pictures come from the New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid show. Marking the unofficial start to the season, the theme for this one was orchidelirulm, named for the Orchid mania that swept through Britain during the 19th century. Orchids were extremely popular and remain so to this day as being some of the most diverse flora ever produced on Earth.

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Some of the Orchid’s on display at the Orchid Show 

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Orchids account for an estimated 6-11% of all seed plants in the world. 

 

The second shot is from Sakura Park in Morningside Heights. named for the Japanese word for Cherry Tree, The park bloomed early last month, the first trees were planted in the early twentieth century, and are part of the 20,000 cherry trees planted by the parks department. Some of those can also be found at the Cherry Walk along the West Side Highway.

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Early bloom at Sakura Park with Riverside Church in the background 

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Blossom Close-up 

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Riverside Park Scene

Another shot comes from the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn. This one looked in transition between bloom and post bloom greenery. Well you know the old saying, a tree grows in…

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That Classic Brooklyn Tree 

Not to be out done this beautiful shot comes from the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Their iconic Cherry Blossom Festival was held last week and the trees along the esplanade bloomed right on time. While I was unable to attend, this shot is the aftermath of all the rain, which has left a beautiful carpet of pink on the grass.

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Inside the Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s Cherry Esplanade

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The Pink Carpet 

The trees next to the Japanese Pavilion trees had bloomed earlier in the month and the one here just hangs lazily next to the pond.

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Hang 10

Lastly, Perhaps my favorite shot are the cherry blossoms from Roosevelt Island. The contrast of the rows of Kwanzan Cherry Trees with the skyline of East Midtown creates one of the city’s most iconic and temporal scenes in the city.

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Cherry Blossom’s with the Ed Koch Queensboro-59th Bridge in the background. 

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Under the canopy. 

Thanks for reading and looking see you soon!