Field Trip: The MTA Memorabilia and Collectibles Pop-Up Shop

I wasn’t going to write this up as a Field Trip, but it was so wacky — Coney Island is like another planet — that I could not resist. Plus, tomorrow the event is open to walk-ins, so if you are shopping for some MTA souvenirs…

MTA Memorabilia and Collectibles Pop-Up Shop
2429 Stillwell Ave., Gravesend, Brooklyn. The entrance to the yard is on Avenue X.

I am taking advantage of last licks before congestion pricing and drove (35-40 minutes on the Belt Parkway). I also figured I might have something bulky to bring home. There was tons of street parking. But most of this trip is doable by the A/C to the D; all of it is doable by train if you are game for a 40-minute walk to the beach.

This is a reservation-only sale, but it was very sparsely attended and they told me it will be open to walk-ins tomorrow. It would be worth it if you are in the market for a sign — I saw several that relate to the neighborhood, and they were not moving fast. This is the third year; my guess is they will do it again next year in December.

I follow the MTA on Instagram and saw their promotions there for the pop-up shop, which is a pre-sale of their collectibles. They do it once a year and they sell the dregs online afterwards. The sale is set up outside in a lot behind their offices at the end of the D; it was not at all what I was expecting, but totally fun.

The biggest note: everything is surprisingly expensive — or maybe I should say it wasn’t what I expected. The Chambers Street sign was $2200. The balls that go on the subway stair lights were $800. I bought what I thought was a real relic: a master door controller from the 1964 R32s, which are being retired as we speak. There are only about 80 left (out of hundreds), and as they take them off the rails, they strip them of all the cool stuff before they go to the scrapper.

I went out early and did some work at the Parkview Diner — free wifi — before my appointment at the sale. You may be able to find something more tasty, but you don’t get more classic than this. There are two-person booths near the counter.

There was no way I was not going to see the water while I was there, so I drove to the end of Neptune Avenue. But it turns out Sea Gate is a literal thing — it’s a gated community with barbed wire on the inland side, facing the public housing. Not kidding. But a drive along West 37th Street to Bayview Avenue ends at Coney Island Creek Park, which was incredible. (Save for the enormous amount of plastic on the beach — no wonder there is a garbage vortex in the Pacific. I would advise using those plastic dental picks. They clearly do not get recycled.)

You could also add on this Field Trip to Shirley Chisholm State Park.

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1 Comment

  1. What’s the address for walk ins tomorrow????