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New exhibit examines the historical impact of the 7 train on Queens

Queens Blvd and 33rd Street

July 25, 2017 By Jason Cohen

A new exhibit that examines the impact of the 7 train on the borough of Queens opens next week at the New York Transit Museum Grand Central Gallery Annex and Store.

The exhibit, titled 7 Train: Minutes to Midtown, looks at the 100-year history of the borough’s first subway line– from its beginnings at the Steinway Tunnel to the most recent station, 34th Street – Hudson Yards.

The exhibit will be on display from Aug. 3 through Oct. 29. The museum is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Artifacts on display include current and original images of the 7 Train, a New York and Long Island City ferry ticket from the late 1800s, station wayfinding signs dating from between 1928 and 1949 and a Queensboro Bridge Railway token from 1945.

The Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) Flushing line, now known as the 7 Train, sparked a real estate boom nearly 100 years ago that transformed rural Queens into vibrant neighborhoods with diverse communities, according to a press release put out by the museum.

Queens Blvd and 33rd Street 2016

More than a century later, the line’s extension to the far west side of Manhattan is spurring change once again with skyscrapers surrounding the new Hudson Yards station complex.

The Flushing Line was designed to encourage growth and allow the city to expand eastward, creating more affordable housing and easing overcrowding in lower Manhattan, according to the museum. The 7 train promised a short trip to Manhattan and quickly prompted a migration to Queens. Between 1910 and 1930, the population of Queens increased by nearly 300 percent, from 284,000 to 1,079,000, according to the museum.

The ‘7 Train: Minutes to Midtown’ exhibit is the second in a three-part series that explores how transportation has influenced the development of New York City. In 2016, the Transit Museum presented Five Cents to Dreamland: A Trip to Coney Island, and later this fall will open From Fulton Ferry: Building Downtown Brooklyn, at the Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn.

“We are incredibly proud to share this story of Queens and how it was transformed from bucolic farmland to the world’s cafeteria in the span of a century,” said Museum Director Concetta Bencivenga. “At its inception, the New York City subway was a means to decongest lower Manhattan and draw the population of the city northward. The story of Queens, and by extension the 7 train, was and continues to be, one of vision; whether a hundred years ago with the Steinway Tunnel, or right now with Hudson Yards, the 7 train established communities, a neighborhood and an entire borough, by providing people with access to transportation.”

The New York Transit Museum is the largest museum in the United States devoted to urban public transportation history and one of the premier institutions of its kind in the world.

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How come the mayor just stopped the proposed ban on eating on a train? Its unsanitary, it causes litter, track fires, I saw to Hispanic kids eating chicken on the train yesterday at 9am, the whole train smelled I wanted to puke. Its disgusting. This mayor is an idiot

Fan of Dough boy park ( original)

Doesn’t anyone appreciate history? See how far things have progressed. You complain about 15 minutes waits, what do you think those people in the pictures dealt with. Your quality of life is greatly enhanced by the work these people did. Show some appreciation for history. This is good stuff.

Sally cheech

Part eggplant (melanzana in italian)- they don’t serve food on the 7. What’s wrong with this melanzana ubatz?

Part eggplant

I like this place. Had brunch there last weekend with some fellow snobs I hang with at sunnyside gardens park. The waiter had an attitude, but I have to admit the fish and chips were good. 3 stars.

my cat keeps staring at me

this train gets me to work everyday so I can make money and raise my kids here in the borough I love. What the hell else could I want for a mere $121 a month?

I love the 7 and Sunnyside!

El loco

I hate riding that crappy train everyday and you want me to see an exhibit about it and I have to take the train on my day off?! No way.


haha, so true. who in their right mind would waste $3 on a train ride for it? from what i see in the pictures, nothing has changed in a century. still primitive and dilapidated as it looked on day 1. only worth a nickel to ride considering how poor the service has become and how severely overcrowded and uncomfortable it is to even take it to get to work. every day is a new miserable experience, but much worse in the summer. its the MTA way.


Anonymous- Statistically and compared to the rest of the system, the 7 is not the “worst”. One reason the 7 does not share its track so another lines problem doe not impact thr 7 and the 7 train issues don’t affect other lines.

Choo choose train

I love old pictures, 7 train is the best still. People complain but its the best train in NY.


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