The New York Transit Museum is a museum which displays historical artifacts of the New York City Subway and bus systems; it is located in the unused Court Street subway station in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of New York City. There is a smaller satellite annex in Grand Central Terminal, Manhattan.
Station platform with museum exhibits
|Address||Schermerhorn Street &
Brooklyn, NY 11201
|Line||IND Fulton Street Line|
|Services||None (currently occupied by museum)|
|Platforms||1 island platform|
|Opened||April 9, 1936|
|Closed||June 1, 1946|
|Accessible||(station was not accessible when it was in service)|
|Next south||Hoyt–Schermerhorn Streets|
Court Street station was built as a terminus for local trains of the IND Fulton Street Line and opened on April 9, 1936, along with a long section of the Fulton Street Line and the Rutgers Street Tunnel. The station has a center island platform with one track on each side.
The station demonstrated the IND service theory that specified that local trains should operate within individual boroughs where possible and provide transfers to express trains, which would be through-routed between the boroughs. Court Street was to be the northern terminal of the HH Fulton Street Local, which would run south to Euclid Avenue. Additionally, one of the plans for the Second Avenue Subway would have included a southern extension to Brooklyn, tying into the stub at Court Street, which may possibly still be implemented in the future following completion of the line.
The HH through service was never inaugurated; the only trains to the station were part of the HH Court Street Shuttle, taking passengers from Court Street to the transfer station at Hoyt–Schermerhorn Streets. Due to the proximity of other stations in the Downtown Brooklyn area, as well as the need to transfer to reach it, Court Street never saw much service and was abandoned on June 1, 1946.
Around 1960, the station began to be used as a set for movies, most notably the 1974 film The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, and the entrance at Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street was reopened for shoots. Recently, one of the vintage subway cars was used for the "Life on Mars" episode "The Simple Secret Of The Note In Us All."
On July 4, 1976, the New York City Transit Exhibit opened in the unused station as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration, with one subway token for admittance. Old cars which had been preserved, as well as models and other exhibits were displayed. Plans were to close it after the celebration, but it proved to be so popular that it remained open and eventually became a permanent museum.
The Transit Museum entrance is located at the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street. The Museum includes subway memorabilia and other exhibits including heritage signage, models and dioramas of subway, bus and other equipment, and lectures and seminars.
At the subway station level, two tracks contain many examples of New York City Subway equipment. The south track is used to display IND and BMT equipment and the north track is for IRT subway cars and BMT El cars (which are roughly the same size). To elimate the gap between the IRT/El cars, wooden platform extenders have been installed. Some of the museum fleet is operable, and is used in subway excursions run by the Museum and other parties (notably by NYCT Division C as a fundraiser benefiting The March of Dimes) on various parts of the system. Tickets for the Museum excursions (called "Nostalgia Trains") are sold in advance while tickets for the March of Dimes excursions are sold on the day of the excursion. Since mid 2005 the March of Dimes excursions were suspended although no official reason has been given.
There are examples of most of the kinds of subway equipment ever used on the New York City Subway, including the predecessor BMT and IRT private companies. Notably absent are the three BMT experimental trains, the MS Multi-section cars and the Bluebird Compartment Cars, which were scrapped before the Transit Authority began saving historic equipment. There are also several examples of elevated cars, including the BU cars, elevated gate cars that can be ridden on prearranged excursions.
There are also some Museum cars that are kept in the Coney Island Complex that are either awaiting refurbishment, undergoing refurbishment or just not currently being displayed. These cars can be viewed from passing F trains on the IND Culver Line between Avenue X and Neptune Avenue, and from N trains on the BMT Sea Beach Line between Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue and Gravesend–86th Street.
The Museum also has a sizable retired bus fleet. However, there is no area set aside for their permanent exhibition. They are stored in Bus depots around the city and brought out for special events, such as the Museum's annual "Bus Festival," which is held annually in conjunction with the Atlantic Antic street fair.
In the mid-1990s the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) assumed control of the Transit Museum from the New York City Transit Authority. In doing so, the scope of the museum was expanded to include other aspects of transportation services within the MTA including commuter rail (Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road) and bridges (Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority). Although the Museum itself houses only subway cars and related rail equipment, rotating exhibits on the mezzanine level highlight commuter railroad and bridge/tunnel operations and their history.
The New York Transit Museum annex at Grand Central Terminal opened on September 14, 1993 in the terminal's main concourse. It houses a gift shop as well as a space for exhibitions. The main Brooklyn location also has a gift shop, which is accessible outside of the museum's paid area.