Ah, the good old days. Many NYC tourists, who are hardly Real New Yorkers, regularly fantasize about a “kinder, gentler” city, when life here was fine and mellow, as Lady Day would say. Today’s post offers good news for such out-of-town fantasists — every Saturday through December 24, old-time NYC buffs can indulge the desire to revisit the past, with a ride on one of the MTA’s Vintage Trains.
What better way to celebrate the holidays than to hop aboard one of the classic R 1/9 subway cars (nicknamed *”Arnines” by Real New Yorkers)? Imagine the thrill of boarding one of the “Nostalgia Shoppers’ Special Trains” enroute to Rock Center, Herald Square, Greenwich Village — even the Lower East Side!
These babies were introduced into the IND system back in the Depression years of 1932 – 39, making their return so totally apropos. Of course, we here at The Real New Yorkers think that the MTA could have amped up the old-time vibe to create a really memorable experience. We therefore respectfully recommend the following features, designed to make this holiday season one that “Nostalgia Shoppers” will never, ever, forget.
- Once safely in the station, the Nostalgia Shoppers Special Train (or NSST) conductor shall unintelligibly announce the next station, open any working doors, and allow passengers to push onto a subway car packed to full, 282-person, capacity. And don’t worry about roving hands — it’s all part of the fun!
- Inside the NSST, gaily costumed actors will perform a demonstration of switchblade knife skills and reinact the rumble scene from West Side Story. That Riff was such a hot-head, n’est-ce pas?
- Every platform along the route will be fitted with inoperable Chiclets machines that either steal kids’ pennies (Remember pennies? Weren’t they cute?) or dispense rock-hard gum pellets that can be used at show-and-tell when the holiday vacation is over. Watch your orthodonture work, Muffy!
- Ladies, be sure to wear skirts and pantyhose, to get the most old-time “ouch-value” from each NSST’s carefully crafted, ripped rattan seating.
- Fellas, and gals, wear your foul-weather gear, because each NSST and MTA platform actor has been trained to perform random acts of bodily function release. Now that’s old-time entertainment!
- Kids, be sure to hold mom and dad’s hands when the NSST conductors, in their best imitation of Denzel trying to sound “street”, croak over the malfunctioning PA system: “This train is goin’ outta service. Move to the front of the train, exit and walk along the track to the nex’ station.” And, yep, those are real live rats, not pussycats — nothing bogus about this Nostalgia Special experience!
- Cold? Damp? Feel a cold coming on? Once you’ve made it through the tunnel to the next station, be sure to enter the MTA’s Old-Time NYC Spitting Contest — yours could be the Lucky Lugy of the day!
We think that, by making it a bit more interactive with just a few simple tweaks, the Nostalgia Shoppers’ Special Train experience will be greatly enhanced. As a result, visitors to our fair city will share the previously unknown subway-riding realities encoded in the DNA of all Real New Yorkers.
ALL ABOARD AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!