For the heroes: 118-year-old subway car once again trekking across NYC

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A historic 118-year-old subway car is once again trekking across New York City, this time to carry essential workers in the Big Apple's upcoming Hometown Heroes ticker tape parade.

And with woven seats and leather straps, it's been a very long time since Car 1273 has been in service.

"It's one of the most valuable pieces in our collection," Transit Museum Director Concetta Bencivenga said.

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The car has been on display at the museum for 45 years.

"It's the oldest car in our collection," Bencivenga said. "It's a 1903/1904 wooden body train car that was ordered by the Brooklyn Union, which is an elevated train company obviously right here in Brooklyn, and it was in service for 66 years."

It's last run was in 1969, but on Monday, it left the Transit Museum with the help of a diesel engine.

It will ultimately end up on a flatbed truck that will carry the train to Lower Manhattan, where it will serve as one of two floats for MTA workers during the parade through the Canyon of Heroes Wednesday.

"Transit workers show up," Bencivenga said. "They just do, right? They show up for 9/11, they show up for Sandy, they show up, certainly, through the COVID-19 pandemic. And so when we were approached, they said, 'Hey, Concetta, would you consider letting this train go out?' You know, it's literally the least we can do."

It's not the first time Car 1273 was used for a special event. It was modernized in 1938 and transported people to the World's Fair the next year.

"That car survived both world wars," Bencivenga said. "It was in service during the first pandemic in the early 1900s. And so, it just feels really appropriate and fitting to bring out the big gun for our colleagues that really did keep the city moving."

It's certainly a fitting chariot for essential workers in the field of transportation.

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