Prohibition Era Subway Runs In NYC To Promote 'Boardwalk Empire'

boardwalk empire

Photo: Business Insider

With the start of new Fall TV programming, show advertisements have been appearing all over the city. But HBO’s Boardwalk Empire went above and beyond with the MTA to create one of the most extreme advertisements to hit New York this season, a fully functioning 1920s vintage train operating on the city’s subway tracks.

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The WSJ quotes an MTA spokesman as saying HBO paid $150,000 to the MTA to have them run this vintage 1920s Prohibition Era subway car on the 2/3 Line every Saturday and Sunday in September. The car stops at stations at 96th St, 72nd St, and 42nd St.

Boardwalk Empire follows the life and work of Enoch (Nucky) Thompson (played by Steve Buscemi), a corrupt party boss in 1920s Atlantic City who controls the city and all the businesses in it. The show’s stunning costumes and sets depict rich images of post WW I America and the subway car running in New York allows fans to experience the old-timey nostalgia of the show in person.

The promotion ends this weekend as the show’s highly anticipated second season starts on Sunday, September 25. In a final push to raise awareness, actors in Boardwalk Empire attire were handing out free Metro cards outside the 72nd St. Station on Broadway. 

At 72nd St. and Broadway, actors in 1920s style clothing handed out free Metro cards.

They look like they could be newspaper boys for Nucky.

Some people were surprised by the free giveaways and the costumes.

But they still used the free ride.

Once in the station head to the 2/3 Express Line.

Wait and look for the train that looks different.

You don't pay $150,000 for a subway car if you aren't going to cover it in promotions.

The train pulls in for a stop.

Excited passengers wait.

Everyone's taking pictures of the classic train.

The signs remind riders when to check out the new season.

And riders peer into the car with curiosity.

All aboard...just like in the old days.

And off we go.

Inside, like outside, promotions cover the train.

And more people are taking pictures.

The story of the cars.

Vintage handles for holding.

But not everything in the car is from the 1920s.

Signs and posters tell the story of the old subway lines and cars.

The old map for the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, the MTA's predecessor.

Keeping subway riders happy, cool, and comfortable was also a problem back then. Some things never change.

Vintage ceiling and light fixtures, though the bulbs look new.

With these old fans, it is no surprise that people were complaining about the heat in the cars.

Riders enjoyed the classic car.

All the space possible was used for promotions.

But that didn't stop everyone from taking pictures of the train.

Like everything in the show, the subway ride came compliments of Nucky Thompson.

A good spot for an interesting date.

Some riders were surprised by the arrival of this subway.

And some people didn't want to get off.

MTA workers kept the people moving out and the train moving on.

And off it goes, into the second season.

Had enough of the 1920s? See what the subway was like in the 1970s...

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