I read about New York City Transit installing old-style bell cords in new buses some five months ago, but I didn't see one until this past weekend, on a routine trip on my local B61 line. It was strung there along the sides of the bus like a long strand of yellow, holiday garland.
I liked it. It was possible to call for a stop anywhere you stood or sat. You didn't have to go searching and reaching for those buttons and magnetic strips. And my son thought it was infinitely more fun. My friend, though, thought they were stupid, and an invitation for vandalism. I don't know. Though cords looks pretty damn tough.
Apparently, there are more than 500 of these buses all over the City by now. Maybe the B61 only gets one.