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Taking a Ride on the Nostalgia Train

Vintage New York City subway cars from the 1930s through 1970s are making rounds for the holidays, along with flappers and fears of time travel.

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“I wonder if they’ve cleaned these train poles since the ‘70s,” a man says to his friend.

“Or the 1930s," his friend responds. "No way I’m catching polio or any of that shit."

I grip the white poles and handles of The Nostalgia Train as it leaves the station. It’s a smoother ride than you’d expect, but all I can think of is how much cleaner they are than the ones on my daily C line commute.

The Nostalgia Train has been an M.T.A. holiday tradition since 2007. I hopped on the train this weekend at 2nd Avenue to find each car replete with ceiling fans, wicker seats and old notices and advertisements from the 1930s through the 1970s. The experience is like a free mini-trip to the New York Transit Museum. The train makes the rounds on the M Line from 2nd Avenue to Queens Plaza, arriving decked with a holiday wreath, lights and red ribbon tied in bows.


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