Choo choo!!! I just love trains especially the old locomotives but those aren’t common place anymore. NYC’s transit system never fails to impress me. Yeah, we’re aggravated all the time about service and grumpy when the cars are crammed but you can travel far and get around really easy without a car. It is the busiest rapid transit system in the US and the world. In 2015, there were 1.76 billion rides, 5.7 million daily rides on weekdays and a combined 5.9 million rides each weekend.


A few weekends ago, we got to take a Behind the Scenes Tour of the Coney Island Overhaul Shop & Tower with the Transit Museum. It was great seeing blue collar America and meeting the everyday people who enable us to get around. They aren’t appreciated enough. We don’t often think of the behind the scenes workers in our everyday lives. The MTA hires mechanics and specialists, and certified people to maintain our trains. They keep our city going.

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On this tour we met, Mike the manager who will retire later this year. He came in on his day off to show us around. He gave us a tour of this yard and you could tell he enjoyed and is proud of what he does. He should be. He’s a part of what makes this city amazing. The transit complex at Coney Island, Brooklyn opened in 1926 covering 76 acres of land, 28 acres which are covered in buildings and tracks. The Overhaul Shop is responsible for all mechanical, electrical and structural repairs.

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The Maintenance Shop handles the day to day maintenance and inspection of the B, D, F, M, N, Q, and Franklin Shuttle lines daily.


The Yard opened in 1926 and is capable of storing over 1800 rail cars. The car wash washes about 100 cars a week or 50,000 yearly.


The floors are made of a fiberglass resin. It use to be made of wood sandwiched between 2 sheets of steel.


Mike emphasized how a lot of materials and parts are ordered domestically, not everything is shipped from overseas.


Control room in the tower.

I didn’t realize we were going to visit the tower. That was a nice surprise. The movie, The Money train, bought 3 cars from the yard. The guide pointed it out for a guest when we were at the top, it could be seen all the way in back on some tracks.


View from the tower.


I get really lazy traveling around Brooklyn. Living in Chinatown in Manhattan, I could roll out of bed and go on my food walk – hit every store in Chinatown, Lower East Side and Little Italy I’m craving for. In Brooklyn I have to hop on a train or bus. This tour brought us to Gravesend and L & B Spumoni Gardens was nearby. A lot of people tell us to go there. They are known for their Sicilian slices which we didn’t eat. I got the shrimp, mussels and clams fra diavolo – it was really good. I loved it and will be going back. It felt good to sit in their restaurant. Looking around you see all families. It had a local feel to it. It’s a very endangered experience in Manhattan. The bus ride along 86th Street going home felt nice too. The mix of stores, not all chains, reminded me of Delancey Street when I was younger. Delancey when it wasn’t being built into the rich trendy ghetto the developers turned it into.


I totally forgot to take a a pic of the outside of the restaurant.


Shrimp, mussels, and clams fra diavlo.



  1. The transit museum’s tour sounds so interesting! It’s one of my favorite museums, and I’ve been thinking about becoming a member so that I can access those special tours.

    1. We haven’t been to the museum yet! This is our 2nd year of membership. We really enjoy the tours. The tickets are so hard to get. They sell so quickly you have to make sure you keep an eye for the email about the tours and when they go on sale – book as fast as possible.

  2. Thank you for the inner workings of the train system. I have just recently started commuting daily via two trains (Boston) and still in awe of how the heck they stay on the tracks! I am sure there is a little lip of sorts that keeps the steel wheel on the rail but darned if I can see it. Pulling into the huge rail yard with the many commuter AND trolleys pulling in – sheesh – I complain often because it is always my train that is late but to look at it from high level seems like the ‘tower’ is conducting an orchestra! No small feat!

    1. It’s amazing how massive the system is. They really do run 24 hours. Our transit system has ruined me for other cities. I can never get over the fact that some cities their mass transit shuts down at certain hours. It takes really extremely bad weather or catastrophes to shut ours down. We are so spoiled.

  3. Here in the UK I like to do most of my travelling by trains. So much more relaxing than the congestion in cars. Thanks for raising this as a more global experience of awe and enjoyment.

    1. It stinks we don’t drive sine we like to do outdoor stuff. But it’s so nice not worrying about parking or going back to the car, etc. But we really are crippled by not driving. I don’t want to learn and my husband hates it.

  4. I want to ride the N train all the way to Coney Island someday, but it seems like we’re always too busy or on our way to someplace else. That museum convinces me now I have to go there.

    (So much to see and do in New York! I love your hometown! Thanks for showing me around Chinatown and Little Italy. I still daydream about the cannoli I had at Ferrera, and now I’m sorry I didn’t buy something at DiPalo’s.)

    You’re right about how those family-owned neighborhood businesses are an endangered species. It’s like the city should give them protected status so some corporate landlord doesn’t hike their rent 300%, then replace them with a high-end boutique or a chain restaurant with headquarters in Texas. Even landmarks like the Four Seasons, which I never thought I would miss: they’re part of the history of the city. I hope the new owners don’t alter the interior. They’re already selling off the furniture and dinnerware which were designed by architects Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d run back and try to save some of it. 😦

    1. Next time you can get some food. You’d really like the artichokes at Di Palos. They are the store to go to for Italian groceries. If you don’t know what to get they will really help you find something good.

      There are groups trying to save the city. They have so many proposals that the city shoots down. Big business gets tax breaks but mom and pops don’t. That doesn’t make any sense. I’m sure they are getting some kind of kick back with the big biz. Next time it will be cooler and we can explore more.

    1. Train buff is right. I’m a train buff. Don’t know much about them I just really like looking at them. I look like a dork when I take Amtrak. I have a grin ear to ear. But we usually take the bus because it’s cheaper 😦

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