The Nostalgia of New York City Subway Tokens

New York City, the city that never sleeps, and where dreams are made- full of iconic landmarks and bursting with our collective energy. Everyone rides the subway. Take the train uptown, downtown, or to any of the fab five boroughs for a taste of the neighborhoods. Eat in Astoria, watch the Yankees play uptown, see where trends start in Williamsburg, or take in an exhibit on 5th Avenue- there are endless places to explore and experience.


My Earliest Memories on the L Train with Dad

Some of my first times on the subway were with my father, the table linen company he worked for had a showroom in the Garment District. We would commute via the L train from the very last stop, Canarsie. He would take me in with him once in a while when school was out. Sometimes I came in to sell Christmas ornaments I had made from clay, or beaded jewelry to my dad's co-workers. I was thrilled to be there because I knew that on his lunch break we would split a pastrami sandwich then walk the Garment District where I could get my hands on some more beads! 

L Train

Commuting to Art & Design H.S.

Coming from my neighborhood in the far reaches of Brooklyn, or as I lovingly refer to it as Deep Brooklyn, to attend the High School of Art & Design took about an hour and fifteen minutes each way- totally worth it! With a token and a couple of transfers, I could enter a whole new world. My public school was filled with talent from all over the city, converging here to further our artistic abilities and add some colorful flair (graffiti) to NYC. Although Canarsie is part of the city, it felt like I had transported myself much further. The fast-paced energy, diversity, fashion and promise of opportunity in Manhattan had me hooked immediately. I knew the subway token was my key to the city.

Art & Design High School New York

Tokens and Turnstiles, A Brief History

So much history is steeped in this underground and above-ground transportation system. One can visit the New York Transit Museum in a decommissioned subway station in Brooklyn. Explore vintage subway cars, token booths, and turnstiles.

NYC Token

The Birth of the Subway Token

A nickel - that's what NYC travelers dropped into turnstiles to ride the subway in 1904. When the fare increased to 10 cents, turnstiles were upgraded to accommodate the dimes. 1948, marked the next fare hike to 15 cents. To make things easier on subway riders, the transit authority switched to the NYC subway tokens we all grew up with, becoming an iconic symbol of freedom and easy travel in "one helluva of town".

Over the years, several versions were minted in solid brass, but the most memorable version launched in 1970. It was a larger version of the 1953 style that spelled NYC in the center using a cut out ‘Y’, very convenient for carrying your train fare on a chain around your neck! The words, Good For One Fare around the outside edge signified the start of your day, which could often mean the start of an adventure.

The City Collection & Token Jewelry

The MetroCard signaled the end of an era with traditional turnstiles replaced across city subway stations; a plastic card was now used in place of our beloved coins. Easier to carry of course, but just not as beloved as its metal predecessor. My CITY Collection including token jewelry embraces and elevates these timeless symbols of New York City. My Love Tokens represent what we're made of, where we come from, and where we’re headed; in transit, forward moving, each of us celebrating our individual journey- together!  NYC subway token necklaces, plus a variety of pendants, rings, earrings and cufflinks inspired by the unique texture indicative of manhole covers round out the collection.

NYC Subway Token Necklaces

NYC Token Jewelry

As varied as the melting pot that makes up New York City, these tokens speak to our backgrounds and community.

  • Good for One Fare, If I Can Make It There: These pendants combine the original subway token engraving with the iconic Frank Sinatra lyric. Uplifting and full of possibility.

good for one fare

  • Love is Love, One Love: Our rainbow sapphire token stands for Pride, for love, and inclusivity. ‘Love is Love’ and ‘One Love’ are featured on the back. 
love is love necklace
  • The Represent Tokens: Yellow gold, white gold and rose gold feature REPRESENT at the top. On the bottom border you can choose to engrave your favorite borough or anything that means New York to you! 
New York City represent token necklace
  • True Colors: Colorful gemstones are handset around the edge of this Love Token necklace style. Named for the iconic Cyndi Lauper song, they come in a variety of color options. You do hue and don't be afraid to let them show!
True Colors necklace
  • Made in NY by New Yorkers: A throwback to the solid 1986-1995 subway tokens that had a silvery center, aptly named the ‘Bullseye’. This token shows our pride in local manufacturing. My CITY Collection is made with love by the highly skilled craftspeople in NYC’s world renowned Diamond District.
made in ny by new yorkers jewelry