Sunday, January 9, 2011

December 12, 1930 in NYC

Chrissy & I headed out this rainy morning thinking nothing could top the Santa Claus invasion we witnessed yesterday. Well let me just say it again, NYC never disappoints. I have to admit something. I am a subway geek. I love the subway. When I was a kid, my grandfather and I would ride in the front car and he would explain all the signal lights and signs to me. He, like my dad, uncle and a cousin, worked for the subway, officially known as New York City Transit Authority. The TA for subway geeks. I'm getting off track, a little train humor for you. Every Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the city runs a vintage subway train from the Lower East Side to Queens Plaza. The cars, R1-R9's for my fellow train geeks, were built in the 1930's and in use until the 1970's.
 We tried to catch the 11:30am train at 2nd Ave but we missed it by two minutes. But that is when Lady Luck also known as Fate spoke to us. Actually it was a lady sitting on the platform, she said "Trust me, you would rather catch the 1pm train because there is going to be a group of people dressed in period clothing having a tea party on that train." We came back at 12:45 to find that same lady sitting on the same bench.
Only now she was surrounded by about 200 people dressed like it was the early 1900's. There was a band playing and people jitterbugging on the platform. For the second time in less than 24 hours, we stumbled upon an amazing party that everyone was welcome to join.
 Just to dispel the nasty rumors about New Yorkers, everyone was very friendly.
While waiting for the vintage train, the band, Mickey Freedom Hart and the Lucky Dogs, played ragtime music while people jitterbugged on the Second Avenue platform.
 The train arrived to loud applause...

...and it quickly filled to capacity. We were in the car with the band which was jam packed. It was a blast to be in the midst of the party but difficult to take pictures. As the train stopped at each station, the looks on the peoples faces were priceless, some squeezed into the car. Some walked away looking afraid.
We had to get off the train at Queens Plaza and switch to the Manhattan bound platform while they turned the train around.

That is Matt Levy on the left. He organized this vintage tea party, (absolutely no relation to the political movement with the same name). His family runs a NYC tour guide service, Levys' Unique New York, that I would highly recommend.
 Back on the train, we decided to ride in the less crowded cars. Here's Chrissy pretending to be a strap hanger in the 1930's.

 Here's a couple different cars on the train.

The cars had the old advertisements in them. Just to show how much the world has changed in 80 years, take a look at this ad from the subway itself. It is promoting violence on the train. This is why I long for the good old days. 

 Back at the 2nd Ave stop, it was time to leave the vintage train and the party...

...but wait just a minute. This is New York. The party never ends, it just moves to somewhere else. Matt informs everyone that the after party will be at Rockefeller Center. Why? Because there will be 500 tubas performing Christmas carols. God I love NY. We are heading uptown.

 Once again, we got lucky. We weren't sure where the Tuba Christmas players were suppose to perform. So we went looking for them and stumbled across them as they entered the ice rink... I took pictures for almost twenty minutes as the tuba players walked by us.
 Then we scrambled to the plaza, where I lost Chrissy, to enjoy the show.
It was while standing here that I was once again amused by New Yorkers. I was surrounded by people looking for their friends or relatives among the tuba players. I heard a lady behind me say she couldn't see them. So I let her stand in front of me. It turns out to be a group of five ladies about my age. One of them tells me that they are looking for stupid husbands. Since I find the Tuba Christmas a cool unique event, I say that they aren't stupid for wanting to be a part of this event. Then she says, they aren't stupid for wanting to play their tubas. They were stupid for letting their wives shop all day long in NYC. I had to laugh. I've spent two straight days in NYC surrounded by people that know how to enjoy life. Once again, my favorite city gives me the Christmas spirit I have been searching for. Now it is time to eat. Back to Brooklyn to meet up with George & Marcy.
 Marcy & Chrissy at the Cubana Café on Smith Street. Chrissy looks like she is well into her first mojito.

I can't remember what this dish is, I think it is plantains. I had a Cuban sandwich which reminded me of my visit to Miami. It was that good.
We ended the night at Sweet Melissa Patisserie...
...where I had this incredible banana crème tart.

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