First air conditioned subway car

Anyone who has been to New York City knows how sweltering it gets during the summer, when temperatures reach into the triple digits. The stifling heat was even more unbearable in the underground subways, with few openings for the air to circulate before the addition of air conditioning. Rush hour subway traffic, with people packed into cars for chunks of minutes at a time, could not have been a pleasant experience. In 1933 the city added ceiling fans, a slight improvement. While the earliest air conditioners on subways experiments took place in the 50s, it took considerably longer to actually prepare them for everyday use.

On this day, July 19, in 1967 the New York City Transit Authority introduced the first air conditioned cars, on the F-line. Relieved passengers began to actively seek out the air-conditioned trains — even if they had nowhere to go.

The New York Times noted several weeks after the trial run on the F line began, some of the most ardent fans of the new air conditioning were teenagers. With the train schedule known well in advance, they were able to hop on at just the right moment. One fourteen year-old girl, the article said, rode four to six hours a day an entire week. One rider interviewed mused  “Boys take their dates to the moves to cool off. Now, they can take them for a subway ride instead.”