The MBTA Is Going First Class
Imagine stepping onto an MBTA train car to the soothing sounds of classical music performed by a string quartet, as maids and butlers wearing fancy suits and dresses walk from one end of the vehicle to the other dusting every crack and crevice, handing out mints to passengers and announcing each stop in a distinct and formal English accent.
While it sounds like a far-fetched and unachievable dream reserved strictly for high-class transportation, for one-day only that scenario will come to life on the T.
This Sunday, August 17, BostonSOS, a fringe group of performers, thrill-seekers, and community events organizers, will host the annual “First Class Subway and Black Tie Beach” event, which takes participants on an unusual train ride to Revere Beach, decked out in formal attire, where they then enjoy some time in the sun and sand.
“Basically the idea is to turn a couple train cars into a first class experience. We try to make it—not to quote pop music or anything—we try to make it so fancy,” said James Cobalt, one of the founders of BostonSOS, the group responsible for other free forms of entertainment like the No Pants Subway Ride. “Then we just chill at the beach with our suits and dresses on.”
BostonSOS has been hosting the soirée for three years, but skipped the “fancy” train ride last year due to shuttle bus replacements along the Blue Line. The reason the group picked Revere Beach for its central destination point is because of its accessibility to the MBTA, as well as its reputation for attracting a colorful mix of beachgoers.
“Revere Beach has this reputation for being not-so-classy, which isn’t entirely fair considering how much it has been cleaned up over the years. But people still have this idea in their head about it,” said Cobalt. “So it’s amusing for people to see a bunch of people dressed to the nines on the beach.”
Cobalt said once attendees depart the first-class Blue Line trains, they spend the day playing Frisbee, running in and out of the water, and just generally enjoying an atypical experience.
The event is a spin-off of the New York-based comedy collective ImprovEverywhere’s formal beach party.
Anywhere from 20 to 50 people have joined in during the past three years, but Cobalt hopes that number grows for this year’s gathering. He also hopes volunteers will step up and offer their musical talents for the MBTA ride.
“I put a call out for musicians. We had a keyboard player one year, which the MBTA wasn’t happy about, but I’m definitely looking for a string quartet if possible,” he said.