Minding Your Manners at the Transit Museum Annex

Anyone who rides public transportation on a regular basis probably has their own list of pet peeves related to their fellow riders’ actions. So when I heard that the New York Transit Museum’s annex had a new exhibition about transit etiquette, I knew that I would likely identify with at least some of it. What I didn’t expect was how much I would enjoy the exhibit!

The Transit Museum Annex, located in Grand Central Terminal, is a small space. There’s really only room for one exhibition at a time, plus a store full of fun transit-themed gifts. At Christmas every year, the annex has a model train exhibition that we explored previously here. The current exhibition, Transit Etiquette Or: How I Learned to Stop Spitting and Step Aside in 25 Languages, is on display through July 2016. (And don’t forget, the Transit Museum Annex has free admission!)


The Transit Etiquette exhibition consists of train etiquette posters from around the world. I’ve seen some of the New York posters before – some of them are on exhibit in the vintage trains on display at the transit museum, and the vintage holiday trains also have them throughout. The Subway Sun posters, as they were titled, got their start in New York City’s subway system in 1918 and continued until the mid-1960s, with a break from 1940 to 1946 because of World War II. What these posters really show is how the challenges subway riders face from rude fellow riders has not really changed in almost 100 years!

Here are a few of my favorites, created by Amelia Opdyke Jones, also known as “Oppy.” Oppy produced many of the most popular posters in the years following World War II. In fact, this first poster contains many of my greatest subway grievances all in one!




One of the things that annoys me the most is someone “manspreading,” taking up more than one seat, when the subway is packed full of people. It was interesting to see that this must be a problem across the world. Here are some fun posters with that theme. The first photo shows two posters from SEPTA, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania system. The second one shows another poster from the New York City subways. The third one is from the Tokyo train system. And the fourth one is from Translink, the system in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada. Portraying the “Lounge Lizard” who takes over an entire seat on the train, this one is my favorite!





The store even has items that continue the “manspreading” theme, such as this coffee cup with the current New York City poster’s imagery.


There are many more fun and interesting posters in the exhibition, but I thought I would end with this one, a 1962 New York City poster, from the Etti-cat.


Having had this small taste of the Transit Etiquette exhibition, I know you’ll want to see it yourself! So how do you get to the Transit Museum Annex? The 4, 5, 6, 7, and S subway lines all stop at Grand Central Terminal, as do numerous buses. You can also take the Metro North Railroad. The New York Transit Museum Annex is located in the Grand Central’s Shuttle Passage.

Model Trains at Grand Central Terminal

It’s that time of year when the New York Transit Museum‘s annex at Grand Central Terminal once again hosts its holiday train show. Free to the public, the model train exhibit features scale models of Grand Central Terminal, the Met Life Building, and the Chrysler Building, as well as numerous other buildings and small details. It’s not a huge exhibit, but children and model train aficionados will still enjoy it. The train show will be on display until February 21, 2016.



Unsurprisingly, my favorite part of the exhibit is the part related to the MTA system, specifically the subway train and the elevated train station.



An additional benefit to the train show’s location: it’s in the New York Transit Museum’s store, where there are all kinds of train and subway-themed options for holiday gifts. And if you go before Christmas, make sure you stop by the Grand Central Holiday Fair as well – I’ve previously wrote about the Holiday Fair here.

How can you get here? The 4, 5, 6, 7, and S subway lines all stop at Grand Central, as do numerous buses. You can also take the Metro North Railroad. The New York Transit Museum annex and store is located in Shuttle Passage.

Grand Central Terminal’s Holiday Fair

It’s that time of year when everyone is shopping for holiday gifts, and New York City offers many options for completing your shopping list. One of my favorites is Grand Central Terminal’s annual Holiday Fair. This year’s Holiday Fair hosts 74 different booths, guaranteed to offer a variety of gifts for anyone you may be shopping for. The Holiday Fair takes place in Vanderbilt Hall, a convenient location.


With 74 booths to choose from, I’ve chosen some of my favorites to focus on for this article. The first one to catch my attention was that of Danielle Gori-Montanelli, who makes jewelry, hats, and other accessories from high quality wool felt. Danielle’s designs are fun, colorful, and whimsical, with close attention to small details. Here’s one of Danielle’s hats. The detail work on this hat is delightful.


She has some fun pins as well.


My favorite pin was this one. And while I was talking to Danielle, another woman came up proudly wearing one of them on her coat lapel. She said that she had received so many comments about it!


Finally here’s a picture of a sophisticated necklace made of black and white felt. I loved the architectural elements in this piece.


Next, I found the booth for Nöel Nomad, which carries beautiful Christmas ornaments and decorations made by women in Kyrgystan. The ornaments are adorable–there are numerous different animals, as well as angels and nativity scenes. These ornaments would make great gifts and stocking stuffers.



One of my favorite thing at Nöel Nomad was the nativity scene, complete with yurt! Look at the lovely embroidered details on the yurt.


Another favorite: With Love, From Brooklyn. This shop focuses on artisan foods and other items, with the focus on products made in Brooklyn. The booth had so many things to choose from: Mast Brothers chocolate bars; Fatty Sundays chocolate covered pretzels; Field Trip beef jerky; illustrator Claudia Pearson’s New York-themed tea towels and coffee cups; Salty Road salt water taffy; caramels from Liddabit Sweets; The Jam Stand’s delicious jams; and spreadable bacon from The Bacon Jams. Yes, I just said that–spreadable bacon jam. I tasted it. Although I was skeptical, it was actually delicious! (I’m sure I left a few Brooklyn-based businesses out–my apologies!) But they definitely had some great stuff!


One fun product at With Love, From Brooklyn was W&P Design’s Carry On Cocktail Kits. If you know someone who enjoys cocktails, these kits would make unexpected and fun stocking stuffers.


One final fun thing from With Love, From Brooklyn: Boundless Brooklyn’s DIY Model Kits, including the ubiquitous New York City water tower. These kits have recently been featured in the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. There are also occasionally gallery shows, with artist-painted versions of the water towers. Here’s a photograph of a completed (but unpainted) water tower.


In another row, I discovered The Owl Workshop. One side of the booth had adorable organic cotton baby clothes, many with New York-specific screen-printed designs.


On the other side, there were tiny handmade outfits and accessories for dogs.


Just down from this stall was Verrier Boutique’s handcrafted paper items, included prints (both framed and unframed) and delightful sparkly cards. Verrier Boutique is the brainchild of mother-daughter team Ashleigh and Jude Verrier. If you are looking for a unique greeting card for birthdays or holidays, these cards would do the trick for sure! And the prints are bright, fun, and creative. (I particularly loved the New York City-themed Christmas cards, one of which is featured below.)




As I thought I was getting closer to the end of the Holiday Fair, I found MarieBelle New York Chocolates, which are made in Brooklyn. MarieBelle’s chocolates are sumptuous–rich and creamy. And they are presented in a way that makes them appealing, perfect for gifts (or for your own eating pleasure, as they’re hard to resist). MarieBelle’s signature ganache chocolates are screen-printed with edible cocoa butter designs; each pattern signals a different flavor, but also turns them into works of art.


MarieBelle is also known for their gourmet hot chocolate:


And, for stocking stuffers, MarieBelle has delicious chocolate bars. One version has sophisticated packaging and comes in flavors like Japanese Macha, Choco Banana, and Espresso. The other is playful and features saucy vintage pinup girls!



Finally, in the very last booth, I found another treasure, called Emma. Emma has no website, but her work is amazing. Everything in her shop she made by hand, either using crochet or knitting. She has beautiful scarves, hats, and headbands in a variety of soft, colorful yarns, but she also had some unique hats and neck pieces that are avant-garde, truly works of art. I thought I would feature of few of those special pieces here.



While you’re at Grand Central, make sure that you allow time to explore. The Terminal has beautiful architectural details, and there’s a food court with some delicious food and drink options on the lower level Dining Concourse. It’s also a good opportunity to see the model train exhibit at the New York Transit Museum’s annex, which is free.

Because the Holiday Fair takes place in Grand Central Terminal, it is easy to get to by public transportation. The 4, 5, 6, 7, and S subway lines all stop at Grand Central, as do numerous buses. You can also take the Metro North Railroad.