25 Jun 2010 6:38 am   //   Filed under: New York is different, Transit

Dueling transit funerals

Today will be last time trains with the V and W designations will ply the rails beneath New York City. The MTA budget cuts are killing these two subway lines. This occasion triggers a little-known New York City custom: The transit funeral. By tradition, a crowd of people jams into the last car of the last train for a raucous celebration.

Tonight there are dueling transit funerals in the New York subway.

  • The V: Levy’s, a tour company that has organized farewell paries in the past for the Q Diamond and the 9, is throwing a farewell party for the V train. It leaves 2nd Avenue at 11:33 p.m. sharp and heads to Forest Hills. The whole ride should take about 38 minutes.
  • The W: People on Facebook are organizing a rally for the final W train. This party leaves Astoria at 10:17 p.m., exits at Union Square, crosses the platform, and boards a Queens-bound W train at 11:02 p.m. for the final run back to Astoria.

I’m with the V party. The W plan is too complicated and requires two trips to Astoria and back—no thanks. And if a transit funeral is a celebration of the absurd, the V train is the more absurd of the two choices. It’s the youngest train in the system and beloved by no one.

But a loss is a loss, and we must commemorate it. I’ll see you at the back of the 2nd Avenue platform at 11:33 tonight.