Now You Can Buy a David Bowie Subway Metrocard in NYC


Talk about ch-ch-ch-changes. Yesterday afternoon, at the Bleecker Street and Broadway-Lafayette subway station in Manhattan, the MTA gave people the opportunity to purchase exclusive David Bowie metrocards. As part of the final stop of the David Bowie Is exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum, Spotify teamed up with the city to create 250,000 limited edition metrocards that offer five different versions of the Starman: a young suited Bowie, a Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, an ’80s makeup-clad Bowie, the legendary Ziggy cover with the lightning bolt, and Bowie as the Thin White Duke.



In addition to the metrocards, the MTA also turned the Lafayette station into an immersive tribute to the singer. Along with various portraits throughout the subway station, the city spray-painted a giant image of Ziggy Stardust across a set of beams. The whole thing gives brand new meaning to Station to Station.



Of course, though, New Yorkers love a special. So, we’d be surprised if the metrocards last very long. As of now, however, the MTA says they’re still available.


Imran Qureshi Covers The London Tube

London Underground has tapped Pakistani-based Imran Qureshi for the cover of their latest Tube map, which will feature an adapted image of his work All Time Would be Perpetual Spring. (The transit authority bills the map cover as “possibly one of the most widely viewed art commissions in the world” with 12 million copies printed.) Previously, artists like David Shrigley, Yayoi Kusama, and Cornelia Parker have contributed their own spin on the cover. New Yorkers will remember Qureshi from And How Many Rains Must Fall Before the Stains Are Washed Clean, his blood-tinged rooftop installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art earlier in the year.

Speaking of New York, it’s about time that our own MTA upped its art game. Despite its much advertised ‘it’s-like-a-museum-in-your-pocket!’ iPhone app and a few other initiatives , there’s shockingly little in our subway stations that provokes or delights anymore. In a city that surely has one of the highest artists-per-square-foot densities in the world, why not institute a program for limited edition subway cards, artist-augmented maps, or something else that might enliven an occasionally frustrating, ever-more-expensive commute? 

Or why not get even more ambitious and allow locally-based artists to completely rebrand entire subway lines? I look forward to a future in which we can ride the Matthew Barney L train (covered with a self-lubricating petroleum jelly exterior, of course) and switch to an uptown 6 whose interior has been outfitted exactly like Lucas Samaras’s Mirrored Room. Now that’s progress.

Imran Tube Map670

MTA Digs Deeper Into New Yorkers’ Pockets

I don’t get you, Metro Transit Authority. You have all these announcements about how a crowded train is no excuse for inappropriate contact, but as soon as we sidle up close to you in the wake of a very effective post-Sandy response, you’ve got your hands down our pants to lift a few more dollars. Yes, MetroCards just got more expensive.

The New York Observer reports that the MTA board signed off on a 32% hike in fares, to take effect over four years: “The base MetroCard fare just went up to $2.50, a quarter more per ride. The monthly fare costs $112 now, up from $104, and a weekly card rose a dollar to $30.” Please stand clear of the closing bank vault doors.

The whole whining about fare increases for a reliable 24-hour system, however, is fairly played out. I think the new tradition is to reassess your transit needs, see which MetroCard best suits them, consider for a moment the feasibility of riding a scooter everywhere, then see an actual person on an actual scooter and chuckle a bit to yourself: $2.50 and the inevitable mariachi bands are still a small price to pay.

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Miraculous Subway Repairs Bring New Yorkers Together Again

While the PATH train between Hoboken and New York is still out and the Port Authority looks like a scene from Soylent Greenreported The New York Times, in not those terms exactly, the MTA’s recovery work on city subways post-Sandy “borders on the edge of magic.” The last major piece of the network to come back online, the L train, is showing “Good Service” right now. So I guess there’s no excuse for us not to hang out. Great.

Yeah, no, I missed you during the hurricane, too. I wish I could have come to your open mic in Bushwick that week, definitely. It sucked being in Manhattan while you guys in Brooklyn just had a week-long party. All I had was power and heat and plenty of food and water and unlimited entertainments and my soul mate and two cute dogs to cuddle and fifty feet between me and the wet ground. It would have been so much better to come to your Park Slope housewarming and meet all your lawyer friends.

Worst of all, I can’t believe I had to miss that Halloween concert in Greenpoint in that basement of that bar owned by that Polish knife dealer. I had worked so hard on my mandatory pun-based costume! But I’m holding onto it in case they do something similar next year, you bet. Man, it feels so long since we saw each other last, doesn’t it? Like another life altogether. 

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All Aboard NYC’s Nostalgia Trains

After stumbling through the rain yesterday in a mood that only stumbling through the rain can illicit, I descended the stairs at the 2nd Avenue F train stop to behold a festive sight: The cultish holiday “Nostalgia Train” docked at the Uptown platform. Instead of carrying rain-weary, impatient passengers, it was filled with folks passing around steaming cups of cocoa and cider and dressed in 1930’s garb to reflect the era in which the retro trains (still the originals) were running on New York’s subterranean tracks. The trains were in service from 1930 until 1977, and the transit authority will be rolling out the vintage fleet every Sunday through December 26th. While many of the passengers were there for a makeshift holiday party, the train runs with regular service on the M line between Queens Plaza and the 2nd Avenue stop in Lower Manhattan. How’s that for an impromptu holiday party? Schedule and details after the jump.


Apparently there are several models, but the one I boarded was a green model from 1931. There were vintage ads and ceiling vents (some cars even have ceiling fans) and a proper conductor to announce when to watch out for the closing doors. It was much louder than what we’re used to, and because of its wider construction, it felt wobblier and boxier.


You can catch a ride on these classic R1/9 subway cars at stations along the weekday M line between Queens Plaza and 2 Av. You can board at train stops found here.



New York Survival Tip #4: Don’t Ever Touch the Emergency Brake

So you’re sitting on the subway and it stops. For twenty minutes. Or you’re waiting in a station, and a subway doesn’t come for thirty minutes. Often times, this is because somebody pulled the emergency brake, a little cord in a box on every subway train, which seems like a great thing to have, except that you should never pull it. Because all it does is stop the train. And if someone’s sick, getting violent, or doing anything else you might want to get away from, being stuck on a subway with them is exactly the opposite of what you want. Basically, you shouldn’t pull the brake, but people do, because in an emergency, people tend to pull the thing that says “Emergency.” This has long been an incredibly confusing aspect of the subway, and today Posted in Nightlife | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Quotable Zingers in Response to the MTA’s Latest Cuts

The NYC MTA is at it again, raising fares, trimming schedules and bringing back cuts that they swore they weren’t going to implement after they got bailed out by the legislature last year. This time on the chopping block: free MetroCards for school children, the W and Z lines, as well as huge cutbacks on late night and weekend bus and subway services. The MTA is pointing the finger at the unions, at the legislators in Albany for budget miscalculations and at the fact that there aren’t tolls on all major bridges and tunnels in the city — basically everywhere but inside their own house. Plenty of people are hopping mad about the new proposed cuts and had some choice things to say to MTA. Read on for the top three zingers slung at MTA:

1. From Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer : “I think it’s fair to say that New Yorkers are simply tired of this MTA budget dance that is quickly being known as the hustle.” That’s right, MTA, THE HUSTLE.

2. From NYC City Councilman Charles Barron: “This is a body that was charged with having cooked books, we don’t even know if you really have a deficit, or when you have a surplus, or what you do with the money when you do have a surplus. You ned to stop playing games with the people. You respond slower to the peoples’ need than the C train and the G train on the weekend.” Yes, he brought in the C and the G trains. ZING!

3. Even the MTA board members were trashing themselves, “Comparing their situation to being in a dysfunctional relationship with two deadbeat dads or an animal caught in a trap forced to gnaw off its own limb to survive.” Yikes. Deadbeat dads and animal traps. Sounds bad, MTA.