National Train Day
In 1830, Tom Thumb, the first working steam engine, pulled a passenger car 13 miles. Jump forward to the present day: For three years, this Amtrak-organized holiday on May 8 has been building steam. Marking the 141st anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad’s inception, the day of events celebrated in 100-plus cities includes activities, exhibits and concerts—and this year, the commemoration has been deemed an official holiday by New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg.
Pay homage to our own fair city’s railroading past, from Pullman town to the music that traveled along the rails from the American South. Music-related events include “The Blues Journey and Connection to the Railroad” exhibit and live performances (Sat 8, noon) by the sons of blues legend Muddy Waters and Mississippi-based blues musician Bobby Rush (not the congressman, obvs). This performance will be the last stop in a five-state Amtrak tour, originating in Muddy Waters’s Mississippi birthplace.
You can also get on board with train-equipment displays, model-train displays and culinary demos.
Union Station, 210 S Canal St (nationaltrainday.com). Saturday 8, 11am–4pm.