May 19, 2008
R32 Subway Cars / Farewell to a Friend
Frank from the office recently sold his Jeep. He and Phyllis had driven it all over Queens and NYC for over 15 years. So by the time to let it go, it was like losing a member of the family. He was sad,she cried.
Similarly, it is with sadness that I read of the continuing retirement of old NYC subway cars. I love the new cars, but cars like the one in this photo served my subterranean tribe of NY subway riders very well for over 40 years.
These days, retirement for subway cars takes the form of being floated off the coast of Delaware, then being pushed into Atlantic Ocean. Where they have a valuable second career as artificial reefs.
The car seen here is the R32 model. These came into service in 1964, and I remember when they were shiny and new, running into the City on the N (Sea Beach) line, later on the R (RR, Fourth Avenue Local), or other IND or BMT lines. Every one of my family rode these cars, perhaps even the one car in this picture.
There are still R32s in service, but not for long. Enjoy them while you can. In the blink of an eye, they'll be gone.