Letting off steam! Transit Museum to throw steampunk party

The Brooklyn Paper
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Downtown is getting steamy!

On Oct. 2, the New York Transit Museum is throwing a steampunk-themed party — celebrating the quirky subculture that pairs science fiction with Industrial Revolution-era technologies. And one of the night’s organizers said the museum already has the decoration situation sorted.

“People who are into steampunk also tend to be into a Victorian aesthetic and steam power, so we are trying to link them together,” said Elyse Newman, the museum’s education manager. “A lot of steampunkers are into Victorian technology and gears and things that move.”

The event, dubbed Power Play: Steampunk and the Transit System, will include craft tables where party-goers can make steampunk-inspired wallets, bracelets, and broaches; vintage curiosities from the Museum of Interesting things; Victorian era-inspired cocktails; and the sounds of “gypsy punk” band Amour Obscur. Revelers are, naturally, encouraged to come in steampunk attire.

The night will also highlight the museum’s photo exhibit on the 74th Street Powerhouse, which was built in 1902 to turn steam engine power into electricity in the early days of electrified tracks.

“It was an interesting moment in the city’s history, and we want to celebrate it,” said Newman.

The party is a collaboration between the museum and Atlas Obscura, a website dedicated to highlighting unusual travel destinations. The site’s creators also host events and tours that focus on unusual experiences in strange and hidden locations. For example, they have taken intrepid adventurers to ruins of old hospitals and schools, as well as places such as the Museum of Sex and the Math Museum. They also regularly host lock-picking parties.

“We want to encourage people to explore the city in new and interesting ways,” said Atlas Obscura co-founder Dylan Thuras. “So this is a cool way to bring our audience there.”

Atlas Obscura had also planned to bring in an aging organ grinder and his monkey, but city health codes do not allow monkeys in museums, said Thuras.

Power Play: Steampunk and the Transit System at the New York Transit Museum [Boerum Place at Schermerhorn Street in Downtown, (718) 694–1600,]. Oct. 2 at 7 pm. $35.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Posted 12:00 am, September 29, 2014
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