On April 21, 2017, Access Queens and the New York Transit Museum celebrated a 100-year milestone for the 7 Train—the 100th birthday of the Corona extension, which first opened to the public on April 21, 1917.
Between sprinkles of rain and an abrupt Con Ed power failure throughout the subway system, city-wide service changes were put into effect, threatening the much anticipated centennial ride of our 7 Train Centennial event. To make matters worse, a near track fire halted 7 service and billowed white smoke into Grand Central. On Facebook and Twitter, several riders asked if the event was still on and if the “Train of Many Colors” would in fact show up, but it did along with a crowd of about 40 train enthusiasts, commuters, and journalists.
At 1:00pm, Access Queens Founder and Executive Director Melissa Orlando made remarks about the continued importance of the transit needs in Queens. “The 7 is undergoing a transformation, getting a new, modern signaling system that will improve communication and allow for more trains to run,” said Orlando. “Today we are here to celebrate the 7, raise awareness about the transit needs in our city, and learn some history as we ride the Train of many colors!”
New York Transit Museum representatives Jodi Shapiro, Curator, and historians Joe Raskin and Andrew Sparburg, showed pictures and answered questions about the history of the 7 Train and its impact on the development of Queens as we know it today. Following, a special centennial cake was revealed for photos and selfies just before the 10-car nostalgia train pulled into Grand Central at 2:05. See photos below.
Looking out the window on a bumpy ride were a mix of surprised faces who weren’t expecting to see the train and others—cameras in hand—who had heard about the event from Facebook. A few deboarded at 103 St to further speak with the media, while most stayed on until Flushing-Main St.
Many thanks to Jodi Shapiro and Concetta Bencivenga of the New York Transit Museum for partnering with us and making the event a success; historians Joe Raskin and Andrew Sparburg for their time and knowledge; Luke DePalma, Paul Fleuranges and Bill Wall of NYCT for handling the nostalgia train.
In the upcoming weeks, Access Queens will be releasing stories on the L train shutdown scheduled for 2019 and revisit the Sunnyside Yards development proposal.
This summer, the New York Transit Museum is opening an exhibit about the 7 Train on July 29, 2017, titled "Minutes to Midtown" at the Grand Central Terminal Gallery.
For information on how to get involved with Access Queens, visit our volunteer jobs page or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.