For most New Yorkers, the MetroCard is that pesky piece of plastic that helps get them from Point A to Point B.
But for Lev Radin, it sparked a passion project, first stirred in 1994, when his youngest son pointed out something on what was then being introduced as the replacement for the old subway token.
"He said, 'Oh look, they have new MetroCards, it's something different than previous one,'" Radin said. "And I looked at it - oh yeah, it was kind of hypnotizing."
He began chasing the cards down, from the very first MetroCard to the 1994 Rangers Stanley Cup set to the Supreme-brand MetroCard that caused a frenzy last February.
"I actually stopped to buy MetroCard for myself. And I was, 'Oh my God, it's a fight for those MetroCards,'" Radin said.
He's built a collection of every MetroCard ever issued, almost 1,000 of them, through purchases on eBay and trades with fellow fare card fanatics.
"Some collectors I know from Germany. Some I know from United Kingdom. Some I know from Australia, even," Radin said.
But with the MTA planning to retire the MetroCard by 2023, Radin is dreading what comes next.
"We're going to use our credit cards, our phones or whatever will replace MetroCard. But definitely, we will miss some kind of art," Radin said.
The MTA encodes about 80 million MetroCards a year, but according to a spokesman, MetroCard marketing deals pull in less than $1 million a year for the agency. That figure is expected to grow, the MTA says, because the new fare payment system will be enticing to companies looking to market on more than MetroCard.
But for Radin, it won't be the same.
"We'll miss something which we could hold in our hands and keep forever," he said.
The chase of which keeps him on the move.
Radin's pursuit of the latest MetroCards is one that takes him to subway stations all over the city, and for which he equips himself with - what else? - an unlimited MetroCard.
"When I hear that new card is coming out, yes, I am trying to hunt the card down and put it into my collection, that's for sure," he said.
A chase set to last a few more years.