At this Manhattan subway station, it’s still the year 2000: James Van Der Beek is on the cover of YM, and the Pets.com sock puppet is selling Mad magazine

The Herald Square subway station seems to offer a portal into ephemera past. For instance, a Redditor recently showcased posters from a January 1980 concert that survive inside the station.

But they are not the only old pieces of paper left at the station.

Two newsstands at the Herald Square stop feature window displays showcasing magazines from as far back as 1999 and 2000. 

The piece de resistance is at the newsstand that features a year 2000 issue of YM, featuring a grinning James Van Der Beek at the height of his “Dawson’s Creek” fame.

Another magazine at this same newsstand is a true time capsule of Web 1.0 just as the tech bubble was bursting. The Mad magazine cover features that wacky sock-puppet spokes-pooch for Pets.com, the infamous dot-com casualty.

Indeed, the sock puppet became the face of the burst bubble. Before the downfall, the puppet was famously trotted out in Super Bowl ads and even at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, sponsored, of course, by the big store just upstairs from where this old issue of Mad mysteriously survives. 

Years later, the pooch was reappropriated as the spokes-puppet for an auto-loan service, 1-800-BAR-NONE, with the dog, still toting his mic, telling us that everyone deserves a second chance. (This presumably applies to mascots for failed companies.)

You can find this newsstand to the left of the turnstiles that you encounter when you enter the station from the southwest corner of 34th Street and Sixth Avenue. 

A second newsstand, which is to the right of those same turnstiles,  also features vintage magazines in the window display.

One magazine cover jumps right out at you: The issue of Vogue screams in large letters “1999 is the year of the accessory.” You’ll find other magazines on display that date from 1999 into the mid 2000s.

Just like at the other newstand, the magazines are encased in window displays that are off to the sides of the newsstands, one next to a ramp and the other next to stairs. It’s easy to see how, for the store operators, they might be out of site and out of mind. 

So there these magazines sit, accidental time capsules of American pop culture at the turn of the millennium. 

Text and photos: Rolando Pujol

MORE:This Twilight Zone of ephemera continues upstairs from the station, on West 32nd Street in Koreatown. The Retrologist recently brought you some pasted-on ads for 7 Up and Hit Parade cigarettes that date back to the 1950s. They are visible outside a shuttered Korean restaurant.

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