Want to ride on the very same subway cars that inspired jazz great Billy Strayhorn to write "Take the A Train" in 1939?
For the next five Sundays–and for the price of a regular swipe–you can. The MTA is bringing back its holiday nostalgia trains on December 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29.
And starting December 15 there's a new stop in Harlem: the trains will go all the way to 145th Street (aka Sugar Hill, the neighborhood Ella Fitzgerald sings about in the famous jazz standard).
To take the vintage trains to Harlem, get on at the 2nd Avenue stop on the F line; the special rides leave at 10am, noon, 2pm and 4pm every Sunday in December and go up to 125th Street until the middle of the month; after that they go one express stop further to 145th Street.
To take them from Harlem on December 1 and 8, get on at the 125th Street station and wait on the downtown A/C/D platform at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm.
On December 15, 22 and 29 you can hop on at the 145th Station on the downtown D line at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm.
The vintage trains feature Art Deco R1-9 cars, which were made between 1930 and 1940 and were in service from 1932 to 1977. Look for details like rattan seats, ceiling fans (there was no air conditioning back then), incandescent light bulbs, and period advertisements for products such as Alka-Seltzer.