Each year during the holidays, the MTA takes a break from its usual soul-crushing inefficiency to treat New Yorkers to a bit of subway nostalgia by operating a handful of vintage train cars around the city. I’ve seen them in passing over the years, but never took the opportunity to have a closer look, but this year was a good chance to indulge for a couple of reasons. Not only were there multiple eras of train cars on show from the 1930’s through the 1970’s, but this would be the first year I’d have a camera in hand.
I should also take this moment to point out that I read a book titled ‘The Race Underground‘ a couple of years ago which detailed the construction of the subway systems in New York and Boston, so getting a peek at this time capsule was particularly interesting for me!
Equipped with my Fuji X-T1 and 18-55mm zoom lens, I descended into 2nd Ave in Manhattan to snap some photos. This was the last weekend that the cars were running so I shouldn’t have been surprised that it was absolute insanity on the platform. Originally my plan was to hop on the train for a few stops and get some pictures of the interior, but it was already overflowing with people.
The exterior of the train was interesting enough, though, as were the people who decided to dress in period clothing, despite the freezing rain above ground, and the jazz musicians setup along the platform. The entire thing would have felt much more like a trip back through time had it not been for the anachronistic North Face jackets and Nikon cameras shuffling about.
159 thoughts on “Vintage Subway”
Love it ! Great Photos 🙂
Thanks a lot! 😀
this is so inspiring! amazing!
Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Terrific series of images. Makes me nostalgic for the old days. Very well done.
Thanks so much!
I’ve always been a fan of human interaction especially with the concept of vintage trains, mad respect bro. Any advice on 35 mm photography?
Thank you! I’m pretty new to 35mm shooting myself, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is not being afraid to get in close. Always be respectful and ask permission if you can, but nothing beats a crisp shot from a couple meters away.
i absolutely adore these photos! especially the one with the blue-haired lady and the cello.
Thanks! She and her band were actually posing for a mannequin challenge when I happened to pass by 😀
beautiful photos, I love this!
Thanks a lot!
The musicians set of the platform and train photo! Great photos!!!!
Thank you, kindly!
I love how people played along with the theme! With their clothing & hair. So amazing.
Haha yeah it was really cool to see people get into the spirit!
This is so beautiful ❤
Thanks so much 😀
Amazing post it makes me wish I was there to witness it first hand.
Thanks! I’m pretty sure it happens every year if you happen to be in NYC next holiday season.
I’ll be sure to check it out next year!
Terrific nostalgic photos.
We have exactly the same atmosphere in Milan — the vibe, the people, the ambience all like this but with an Italian twist.
That sounds amazing; I’ve never been! It’s high on my to-visit list though!
Come in the spring/Autumn – it’s really one of the best places to be
wow, look at all those rivets!!
Yeah the subways stations are pretty old school even without the vintage trains!
Love the photos, thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the kind words; glad you enjoyed the photos!
Kind of inspiring. I don’t know how the metro works in New York, but here in Minnesota there’s a robot voice that does all the announcements. I’d much rather step backwards in time than forwards.
We have that same automated voice here as well Granted it is better than the conductors doing it manually through the PA system because the audio is terrible, haha!
Half the fun is hoping for an arresting shot when I’m taking images in a crowd. Your images are delightful. The element of surprise is strong.
Oh thanks so much! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos 🙂
An amazing record and a great read. Your photography is inspiring.
Thanks a lot!
Love the photos and how subway riders participated in creating a greater feeling of nostalgia by dressing in old fashioned clothing and playing music. Seems like people were part of a movie set!
It certainly felt that way! I can’t imagine how it felt for people who stumbled upon it without realizing what was going on 😀
Love your photo, It is amazing. The exterior make it feel very old..
I had no idea this happened every year!
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