August 13th, 2016 / Share
“The Velvet Underground” for Marie Claire
The lazy will look to Ebay for vintage subway items but for the adventurous I recommend the MTA’s Office of Asset Recovery. This is where you will find the most obscure remnants from New York’s public transportation system. The list of items for sale is somewhat random but, as a bonus, you will receive a Certificate of Authenticity, duly signed by the Acting Chief Operations Officer, Material Department, with every purchase. I was sorely tempted to purchase a subway seat. Something about that riveted Priority Seating sign was oddly appealing. I decided to hang the Subway medallion from the shoot in the studio. Not sure what to do with the tokens though.
I do not have much nostalgia for the token era, when my finances meant flying home from Paris folded into an economy Pakistan Airways seat, followed by an almost equally long, far more anxious trip on the A train. I remember one train ride after the plane arrived late, when I was loaded down with a heavy suitcase and camera bag. I soon noticed four ne'er do wells checking me out from the other end of the car. I changed cars at the next stop to measure my paranoia level and, sure enough, four sets of legs followed me into the next car. What to do, I reasoned, except puff up in my parka like an angry turkey and stare directly at them. Maybe it was the jet-lag, maybe it was my “I don’t care I am not going to give you my equipment without a fight” thoughts, or maybe, more likely, they were just screwing with me, enjoying the sight of my puffed-up parka turkey squirm, but after three or four stops one of them motioned to move on, and they were gone. I almost peed in my pants with joy. I do not see much point in keeping those tokens, now that I think about it. Click here to see the entire series.