Monday, January 12, 2015

Happy 110th anniversary, MTA

Commemorative MTA MetroCard

The Metropolitan Transit Authority, those folks who bring us the New York City subways and buses, is celebrating its 110th year. MTA's commemorative website is robust and well-organized, as befits an organization with professionally managed archives. president Marian Calabro was filmed there when she gave commentary on pneumatic subway pioneer Alfred Beach for The Travel Channel's program "Mysteries at the Museum." It took awhile for non-pneumatic subways to develop; the first predecessor line of the MTA officially opened on October 27, 1904, so the 110-year party has 10 months to rock on.

IRT map 1939 (copyright MTA)
Cool things about the MTA anniversary site that any organization can emulate:
1. Loads of pix and memorabilia, including maps, many also uploaded to Flickr 
2. Google translate button appears on every page, a courtesy that helps a worldwide audience
3. MTA wasn't afraid to celebrate 110 years. Why wait until 125?

Things that can be better:
1. Timeline is not labeled as such (it's under History of the Subway), is overly detailed, and only extends to 2012, a very weird omission
2. There's a link to MTA Arts & Design, but when clicked, this unwelcoming message pops up: "There are currently no Open Calls to artists. Please check back again." Why not run a yearlong 110th anniversary call for art instead?