In 1962 the New York City Transit Authority ordered 430new R36 cars for the IRT No. 7 line whichwould go directly to the World’s Fair. The cars were a light blue turquoise “bluebird” color scheme. Soothing,pleasingand attractive tothe eye, they seated 44 people, were air-conditioned and had large picture windows. They cost $110,563 each and were a big hit with visitorswho went home with greatmemories of our transit system.
The R36 cars became the mainstay of theNo. 7 IRT line for many years. In the mid- 1970s, the entire line was completely covered in graffiti. In 1982 they were painted with a new, all white, anti-graffitipaint.In thelater 1980s they were painted red and rebuilt.
In 1999 after checking their service record they were declared the most reliable car in the entire NYCT’s fleet.
By 2000 they were showing rust and were phased out on Nov. 3, 2003. The cars were dumped into the ocean in Delaware, New Jersey, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia to eventually become artificial reefs.
(Editor’s note: The first book, in a trilogy on thehistory of Queens County, is now available, titled “The New York World’s Fairs,” with 70 pages and containing 134 photographs that show and give the essence of our great World’s Fairs held in Queens. The book, available by mail order, is $14.99 plus$2.50 first class postage. Make checks payable to Icon Archives P.O. Box 10, Rockville Centre, New York, 11571.
I will be at the Queens Museum of Art in Flushing Meadow Park on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 1 to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 7 from noon to 6 p.m.)