Holidays Underground

January 3, 2007

No one would ever mistake a New York City subway station for Rockefeller Center, but if you know where to look, seasonal decorations can be found underground.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) doesn’t decorate the subways (not that anyone would expect them to do so) but they don’t forbid holiday decor, either. The only official policy is a prohibition against anything that would block views into and out of the token booths and train dispatchers’ offices. Other than that, decorations are allowed at the discretion of the station manager.

As a result, every year certain Transit Authority employees take the time to bring a bit of holiday cheer to their subterranean workplaces. Using their own materials and at their own expense, these men and women string tinsel, hang lights and garlands, draw snowmen and stars on whiteboards and even use discarded MetroCards to create tiny, bright pockets of merriment in the dark tunnels.

Time constraints allowed me to capture only a few examples before the decorations were taken down for the season, but if I’m still here next year, I’ll be back and publish more.

Clark Street Station Posted by Picasa

Court Street Station Posted by Picasa

Train dispatcher’s office at Cortland Street Station Posted by Picasa

Tree decorated with MetroCards and TransitCheks  Posted by Picasa

NYC Transit: Subways
Transit Chek
Gothamist: Token Booth Closings

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