A new Brooklyn-based tech startup called NYC Train Sign is doing, well, pretty much what their tagline suggests: Bringing data above ground.
Basically, the company produces a subway countdown clock for your home (or office, bar, etc.) The appealing beauty of the enterprise: you get real-time MTA data for the train stop of your choice with real train times for both directions. The signs can also display a customized text slide, a logo, and real-time weather updates.
The project was started by Timothy Woo, who first created the sign back in 2016. Like the rest of us, Woo, who lives in Bushwick, wanted actually reliable train data without leaving the house (never mind the smartphone). Woo also drew inspiration from istheltrainfucked.com, a single-serving site devoted to that perennial question, which he thought was “super rad,” explains Dara Denney, NYC Train Sign’s director of sales and marketing.
“It’s functional home decor, but it's also a nostalgic piece for people who love New York City and NYC living, which so often revolves around the subway,” says Denney. “For better or worse.”
But NYC Train Sign has nobler goals in mind than “dope”-looking signs: the company hopes the signs can help foster community, and cultivate the next generation of hackers. Made with Raspberry Pi, an LED matrix, and a locally 3D-printed base, the signs are fairly approachable, technologically speaking. And that’s part of the point. “We'd love to start running on a model where we can donate a unit to a Bushwick school with every purchase.” Until then, the company is focusing on “making opportunities for people in Bushwick,” Denney says.
As of now, NYC businesses can lease the signs for $29/month and consumers can purchase them starting at $299.
- NYC Train Sign [Official]