Despite abortive efforts, mostly in the 1920s and 30s, to connect the BMT subway from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the NYC subway has never penetrated Staten Island, which has its own commuter rail line, Staten Island Railway, formerly a division of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
That doesn’t mean, however, that Staten Island is bereft of subway cars. Since 1985, a vintage IND car has found a home in possibly the last place you’d look: the Staten Island Mall.
Ray Pannone opened Golden’s Deli at 2845 Richmond Avenue in the Staten Island Mall in 1985. Having bought an IND subway car in 1985 he intended to place it in his back yard, as a clubhouse for his children. Dissuaded from this plan by Mrs. Pannone, he decided to make it the centerpiece of his restaurant…
The car is an IND R-6 #978 built in 1936 when the city’s Independent Line was introduced. See samples of these cars onthis nycsubway.org page.
The interior has been left mostly intact. The seats’ original wicker has been replaced by more comfortable upholstery. Incandescent lighting, porcelain straps, roll signs, and overhead fans are all intact as is some vintage advertising. Golden’s has added some tables to make this the first time a subway car has been used as a dining car.
One of Times Square’s original porcelain platform signs (I’m not sure if it’s the BMT or IRT Times Square station) also makes an appearance. I wish the MTA would have kept some of these beautiful signs in place; but the MTA is hidebound by sign conformity.
This roll sign is interesting because it indicates the Aqueduct Race Track Special which ran from the 8th Avenue Line’s 42nd Street station out through Brooklyn along the A line to track. These trains ran out of a now-abandoned platform on a basement level under the tracks presently in use. That platform has not been used at all since 1981.
Forgotten Fan Jean Siegel and Golden’s mural of the interior of Grand Central Terminal as it was in the 1940s. On the ceiling is a rendering of GCT’s blue ceiling with its depiction of the zodiac (a sliver of which is at upper left).
More on Goldens at Dining Kosher.
Golden’s was forced to close because of a rent increase in early 2012. The subway car was placed in storage.