Brooklyn teen takes his favorite subway train to prom, aspires to be MTA chairman

18 year old Jordan Thomas headed to his High School’s prom via his favorite mode of transport, the subway.
(Jordan Thomas)

Most teens dream of going to prom in a limo, but a Brooklyn subway enthusiast got there via a very special train ride.

Jordan Thomas tracked down his favorite train model, the R142, at the Flatbush terminal on the No. 2 line, where a friendly train operator allowed him to snap some pics inside the operator’s cab, an area off-limits to the public.

“Everybody drives cars,” Thomas, 18, said of his ride to prom last week. “I wanted to pop out with something with my touch on it, something I love.”

Thomas is graduating from Boerum Hill School for International Studies this month.


18 year old Jordan Thomas headed to his High School’s prom via his favorite mode of transport, the subway.
(Jordan Thomas)

The R142s came into service in 2000, shortly before Thomas was born. The flashy tux he wore to prom — a maroon-and-black ensemble — mimicked the color scheme on the front of the train’s cars.

“You see, that was my childhood train,” he explained.

He settled on a subway to the prom after realizing renting out an entire train was unfeasible.


“Of course that would be nearly impossible because I’m only 18 and don’t have a job and my family isn’t the wealthiest,” he said.

The student’s class prom was held on the Spirit of New York, a private cruise boat that operates out of Chelsea Piers on the West Side.

Thomas didn’t bring a date to the dance, but said his photo shoot was well-received by his friends.

“The people who know me, especially those who know my passion for transit and that I love trains, they understood why it was so fitting for me,” Thomas said.

The Flatbush resident said he hopes to work for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority after high school. His bedroom is filled with transit maps and MTA ephemera. He’s also a budding photographer who mainly shoots transit scenes across the city.

He’s enrolling at the New York City College of Technology this fall to get his bachelor’s degree in “either law or photography” before taking the agency’s entrance exams. He said he’s already put in his application to be a bus operator.

But Thomas has bigger goals after that.

“One day I see myself becoming MTA chairman,” he said. “I love the MTA, no matter how bad it may be or be getting or its reputation with New Yorkers.”


While the MTA’s top seat is usually held by career politicians and lawyers, Thomas’ goal to rise through the ranks at the agency has some precedent. Thomas Prendergast, who served as chairman from 2013 to 2017, worked his way through the MTA over three decades before being appointed to the seat.

MTA officials were tickled by Thomas’ prom night endeavors and wished him well in his quest to join the agency.

“We hope this young man had a wonderful prom and could not agree with him more about his preferred means of transportation,” said MTA spokesman Max Young. “A train beats a limo any day.”