Bernie Wagenblast, iconic voice of the New York subway, comes out as a transgender woman –

One of the famous voices that echo daily in New York City subway stations revealed Wednesday that she is a transgender woman.

Bernie Wagenblast came out publicly in WNYC’s “Death, Sex and Money” Podcast after the transition in December 2022, decades after he recorded some of the city’s most iconic transportation lines.

The New Jersey native, who also voices the AirTrain at Newark Liberty International Airport and the South Philadelphia Port Authority Transit Corporation, told host Anna Sale she feels “disembodied” from the sound of her voice. prior to transition.

“I’ve only been using this voice full-time since January 1,” Wagenblast said, adding that he had used his new voice in the privacy of his home after working with a voice coach for a year and a half.

“Before that, I had been working on it, but most of my talking was what I call my boy voice, and professionally I still use that voice, but I’m trying to use this voice more and more so it becomes more natural. . I feel more comfortable with him and I hope I can improve him.”

Wagenblast continued to use her “boy voice” professionally last year, particularly when she was called in to record updated announcements last year ahead of the opening of Newark Airport’s new Terminal A.

But that was for the last time, he said.

Bernie Wagenblast began living publicly as a woman in late December.
Bernie Wagenblast/LinkedIn

Wagenblast, who has kept her birth name, said she noticed she was different when she felt “natural” playing with her grandmother’s jewelry and makeup at age 4.

Two years later, she suggested that she and her best friend switch clothes during a game afternoon, a move that earned her a talk from her parents about how unacceptable it was to represent femininity.

“I don’t think there’s been a single hour in my life from the age of 6 that I didn’t think about being a girl at least once during that hour. That’s how penetrating it was. It was something that was always there,” Wagenblast said.

MTA 242 Street Station Van Cortlandt Park on the New York City Subway system.
Wagenblast’s voice has been used on the New York City subways, the Newark Liberty International Airport AirTrain, the South Philadelphia PATCO, and more.
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With no acceptable outlet for his true feelings, Wagenblast threw himself into his work. He practiced speaking in a deep, traditional broadcast voice.

He landed various radio jobs throughout the New York metropolitan area, including at WINS and WABC, primarily doing traffic reports.

He joined the New York City Department of Transportation to help establish the city’s first transportation communications center and lent his voice to the city’s nearly 500 subway stations, which still use their original audio today. .

Wagenblast is the founder and publisher of the Transportation Communications Newsletter and now hosts two podcasts, for which she uses her new voice.

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