Shlomik loves trains. Whenever he sees a train in a book, on TV or the above-ground subway, he points and happily says "Поезд!" (poezd, train in Russian). Every day, when I take him to day care, we pass under the Q train. That has quickly become the main attraction of our short walk. Starting from a block behind and until a block after, he's looking for the train and saying "поезд." If we're really lucky, there will be two trains passing at the same time and maybe another one in thirty seconds.
Shlomik's love of trains gave me a great idea, to take him to the New York Transit Museum. We realized that idea this Sunday. The museum is located underground and the entrance is made to look exactly like the subway entrance. The first floor houses the gift shop and the main part of the museum, including attractions for kids. The basement is a real train station with two trains on each side which are made up of different passenger cars from different years. One of the trains is terminated by a yellow work car on one end and a locomotive on the other. You can enter and walk around all of the cars, except for the locomotive. There's also a floor display of the drive system.
On the main floor, there are photographic and video presentations. There are decommissioned turn-styles, money counting machines, money changing machines, a control unit for raising and lowering a bridge, model trains and much more. For kids, there are interactive exhibits showing how different engines work, an exhibit letting kids "refuel" a bus, operational traffic lights and even an MTA trashcan which is topped by a fiberglass cover in case visitors decide it's a trashcan instead of an exhibit. The main attraction for kids are the front parts of two buses and and a train where a driver sits. They can sit in the driver's seat, spin the wheel, turn on and off lights and windshield wipers and flip switches and press buttons. Shlomik had a grand time pretending to drive a bus and a train.
On the way out, we visited the gift shop. The gift shop is surprisingly cheap and stocked with merchandise for both kids and adults. We bought Shlomik a metal locomotive, t-shirt, train whistle and a children's book about trains. Next to the store, Shlomik almost got into a fight with the museum's feline mascot. He loves cats and now he finally met a trained cat that didn't run away from him. He cornered the cat and one of them was about to go into offensive before we dragged him away.
We all enjoyed the trip. One part of the trip that I didn't at all enjoy, though, was dragging the big heavy carriage. They should really make the train and museums more carriage and wheelchair accessible.