New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

The New York Transit Museum is a fascinating tribute to the history of the city’s subway and transport system. Located in the Court Street subway station in Brooklyn Heights, the museum’s mission is to educate the public about the intricate transport networks that criss-crossed the city in the past and continue to do so today. This is done successfully through a network of public programs, permanent and temporary exhibitions and on the internet.


Built as a terminus for local trains in 1936, the station where the New York Transit is now housed was never much use to the city’s transport system due to the proximity of other, more efficient stations. In 1946, it was decided to shut down the station and a few years later, film directors began to use the area as a set for movies.

In 1976, it was decided to house a temporary exhibition in the subway station to honor the history of New York’s transport system, as part of the bicentennial celebrations of the United States. The exhibition proved so popular, however, that the idea was sprung to create a permanent museum in the station.

In the 1990’s, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority took over the running of the museum and expanded its scope to include other aspects of transportation in the city, such as bridges and commuter railroad history.

The Exhibits

The New York Transit Museum is made up of several permanent exhibitions and runs a number of rotating and temporary ones. The upper mezzanine level of the station is home to a rotating display of the history of bridge and tunnel operations in the city, while the annex in Grand Central Terminal houses interesting exhibitions that are changed on a regular basis.

Other things on permanent display in the museum include:

  • Memorabilia: The museum is full of items that recall the history of the city’s subway and transport system, including signs, tracks and equipment.
  • Subway level: Two tracks in the station are used to display the different cars used by the city in it history of transportation, including IND and BMT equipment (South track) and IRT and BRT/EI cars (North track)
  • Steel, Stone and Backbone Exhibition: This permanent exhibition examines the history of the building of New York’s subways from 1900 to 1925. The exhibition looks at the different construction methods used and examines the live of the men who built the system through the use of century old photographs, period vides and genuine artifacts.
  • Fare Collection Exhibition: A hands on exhibition that shows the different methods used to collect fares in the history of the subway system – from the paper ticket choppers used in 1904 to the latest MetroCard turnstile in operation today.
  • On the Streets:New York City and Busses: An interactive, simulated traffic intersection in New York City, complete with traffic lights, street signs and other typical props found on a street. Children, especially, will delight in this exhibition, which allows them to climb onto busses, into cabs and even ride a kids-sized trolley.

New York Transit Museum NYC

Anybody who has ever visited New York City will appreciate the fascinating network that makes up its transport system. The New York Transit Museum was created to honor the history of this system and to educate the public through interactive permanent and temporary exhibits, special events such as its annual “Bus Festival” and other programs.

The New York Transit Museum is housed in an historic subway station in Brooklyn Heights, and also operates an annex in Grand Central Terminal that houses changing exhibitions on a smaller scale.

Location: at the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn Heights, New York.
Phone: 718-694-1600

Click here to visit New York Transit Museum official website