Fabulous news today for all of you transit nuts, collectors of bacteria-laden used furniture, and elitist straphangers with $650 to spare:


The New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, the cash-strapped organization that's solely responsible for any rage and/or mental health issues that I may have, has decided to remove the thousands of boxy wooden benches found in subway stations across the city and replace them with easier to clean and maintain stainless steel models. Although a select few stations already have the new benches, the phase-out won’t happen overnight but gradually, as individual stations undergo major overhauls. If we’re going by MTA time here, I suppose this means that the stainless steel replacements won’t appear system-wide — there are a total of 468 stations, counting transfer stations — until the year 2065 or so.


Whatever the case, once the iconic wooden benches that have been sat, slept, and spat on (not to mention vomited and peed on) for decades are eventually uprooted, the MTA will sell them off $650 a pop. This isn’t too unusual a practice for the much-reviled but surprisingly eco-minded MTA, as the organization’s asset recovery department sports an entire warehouse full of surplus items along with “memorabilia and collectibles” — read: defunct odds and ends like bus seats, station signs, and train horns — up for grabs.


Mike Zacchea, assistant chief operations officer with the NYC Transit division, tells the NY Daily News that the authority rakes in about $350,000 in sales from such items. Calling the benches “a bit of a connection to the past,” Zacchea says that he can “see them sitting in a back yard being weathered for a couple more years and serving as a conversation piece.”


Conversation piece, sure, but I don't think all the buckets of white vinegar or jumbo-sized autoclaves in the world could erase the nastiness that most of the benches have endured over the years (I do have to wonder if the benches come pre-disinfected or “as is”). I’m all for saving nostalgia-inducing used furnishings from the landfill but as a transit-reliant New Yorker, I’m going to say no thank you, not in my house. But lounge chairs crafted from wooden planks salvaged from the Coney Island boardwalk? Yes, please.


Anyway NYC subway lovers out there willing to shell out $650 for a piece of unique and functional piece of history?


Via [NY Daily News]

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