“New Yorkers don’t wait on line for anything, except for David Bowie,” said a woman waiting in line this afternoon for the MTA’s new David Bowie MetroCards.
Available at the booths and most kiosks at both Broadway-Lafayette and Bleecker Street stations, the 250,000 cards feature five images of Bowie from across his entire career, and are in general pretty groovy.
Fearing Supreme-levels of MetroCard mania, I headed to the Broadway-Lafayette station last night around 11 p.m. after a friend tipped me off about the Bowie cards. There was already a line of about four or five people waiting at the booth, but it moved pretty quickly. After a few minutes, I was able to purchase two cards of my choice: Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane.
This morning, I stopped by the station again out of curiosity, and found long lines at both the booth and machines– easily a dozen or more people waiting. Unlike the night before, I wasn’t allowed to pick which cards I wanted; instead, the booth agent picked two at random for me.
When I stopped by again on my lunch break, the lines had only gotten longer. People were desperately buying three or four MetroCards at a time, hoping to complete their collection or just get one of the Aladdin Sane cards.
Despite the Bowie mania, or perhaps because of it, people were actually chatting while waiting, which is something I’d never seen happen in a subway station before; Ziggy aficionados and amateurs alike were comparing and trading cards. After waiting for 20 minutes, I somehow managed to nab the final MetroCard I needed to finish off my collection– don’t ask me how.
If you’re David-Jonesing for your own Bowie subway card, not all hope is lost. “All the cards currently dispensing in the machines and booths [at Broadway-Lafayette and Bleecker St. stations] are Bowie cards and will be so until they run out,” Shams Tarek, a spokesman from the MTA, told me in an email. The MTA was quick to emphasize that card distribution is random, even when purchasing from the booth, so you can’t pick and choose your cards.
While the Bleecker Street station is doling out Bowie cards, we recommend heading to the Broadway-Lafayette station, which has been turned into a tribute to the late rock legend and former New Yorker. Concert photos, lyrics, and even a recreation of the “David Bowery” sign are all displayed throughout the station, which is located only a few blocks from Bowie’s old Soho apartment.