Category Archives: celebration

A Party in the Past on the Nostalgia Train

Nostalgia Train

The holidays can be quite magical in NYC, and one of the most wonderful of the annual traditions is the appearance of the Nostalgia Train, which the MTA releases along the M line for a few Sundays from late November until the end of December. And as we are a city that can’t pass up a good opportunity for a party, on one December Sunday a group of jazz bands hoped on the train for the day and were met by revelers dressed in their vintage finery to match the spirit. Me and Elizabeth made it on the last ride of the day, so here are some photos!

Nostalgia Train

We boarded the train on the LES and rode all the way to Queens and back. It seemed like the train was going faster than even the new trains that I ride everyday, but that could also have been an illusion caused by the rumbling noise through the open windows.  The above train is from the 1930s and has wicker seats and ceiling fans.

Nostalgia Train

Nostalgia Train

Here’s one of the bands that was playing on board among the crowd. I couldn’t get a good photo, but they even had a singer on an old microphone. There was also a singing trio of women in another car, and some people were dancing and trying to keep their balance as the train flew down the tracks.

Nostalgia Train

Nostalgia Train

There was also a train conductor to announce when the train was ready to depart, and I suppose to assure people who had no clue why a vintage train was suddenly appearing at the station that it would indeed be making its stops and not time traveling into the past.

Nostalgia Train

If you’re in the NYC area next holiday season, definitely keep an eye on the subway platform for a ghost of transit history. I hear there is also a Nostalgia Bus, although it probably doesn’t have room for jazz bands with stand-up basses. The MTA with the Transit Museum also sometimes has vintage train rides to Coney Island and other places throughout the year, and you can always stop by the Transit Museum for some stationary vintage train exploring. (You can check out some of my photos from the museum here.)

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Lunar New Year Parade

As this was my first time attending the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown, I can’t say if there were more dragons than usual. But I’m guessing that the procession of swirling, winding dragons in vibrant colors that danced through the streets on January 29 were out in force for the Year of the Dragon celebration.

We made our way through the dense crowd to a short street that was then unknown to me called Mosco Street, which slopes down from Mott Street to Columbus Park. From there, we managed to glimpse the dragons and floats that came down the narrow street, and were showered in confetti from the parade and bystanders.

After we’d had all the crowd action we could handle, and plenty of views of bobbing dragon teeth timed with crisp cymbals, we walked to Sara D. Roosevelt Park for the block party. I liked that even the basketball goals were decorated with lanterns.

Lucky for us, we timed it in just a way that we ended up seeing the dragons again, this time with a closer view from the park. (I would recommend that if you go to the parade, just head straight to the park as it was much less crowded and you can get snacks.) This pair of dragons was our favorite, as they had the most energetic movement and some awesome eyes.

The park was also where the dragons collapsed into humans, and it was fun to see people standing around in fringed dragon pants, some dancing alone with the heads on. Afterward we moved north for much needed coffee, but I was still finding the glint of confetti in my hair the rest of the day.

Happy 2012!

Happy 2012! I just celebrated NYE with Phantogram, Yoko Ono and the Sean Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, and the Flaming Lips. I think I did a good job of being a witness to many awesome things in 2011, but for 2012, I hope to be more of a participant. For fun, here are 12 iPhone cheating photos from 2011. Each year is better than the last.