We’ve offered you a few family days out and events within the UK over the past several months, but we thought it worth branching out after our recent trip to New York. There are loads of kid-friendly places to visit within the famed ‘Five Boroughs’, adding to the area’s cachet as a fabulous tourist destination. Today we’re in Brooklyn – an area worthy of many blog posts – and discovering the New York Transit Museum.
It’s located at the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street in the Brooklyn Heights neighbourhood. It’s a short walk from the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway station, which is accessible from the A, C and G trains from Brooklyn or Manhattan and Borough Hall Station and the 2, 3, 4 and 5 train. The museum is in the disused Court station. Entrance is via a traditional NY subway entrance, down the stairs marked by the green-painted iron railings. You pay your entrance at an historic ticket booth and enter through an area devoted to the early planning and excavation of what would become the subway station.
There are loads of hands on areas in the museum and kids are encouraged to try things out and discover for themselves. More than just a museum of modes of transit, it showcases different types of energy and their histories. Displays explore energy sources and how energy is created and stored, how it travels and is put to work. Kids can see first-hand how switches affect the flow of electricity, assemble a motor and see it work, and generate their own electricity, amongst many other things.
There are a few old partial buses that kids can drive and explore, with lots of switches and buttons for eager fingers to press. Take another set of stairs down to the old platform for the real stars of the show: vintage subways and elevated carriages, or cars to North Americans.
There are carriages dating back to the early 1900s, lined up and down either side of the platform so that you can see the progression through time – once again illustrating that things used to be better made, with more attention to detail and with design that stood the test of time. The older carriages still look beautiful and the adverts are all really worth a look as you move through the decades and consider the historical context of the times.
Bring a packed lunch to break up your visit in the lunchroom, which provides bench seating and walls decorated with some great old signs.