by nycgo.com staff, 10/09/2012
(From left) Second Avenue subway construction photo by Patrick Cashin. • "Wavewall" (2005) by Vito Acconci, at the New York Aquarium Subway Station. Photo: Jonathan Wallen
New York City wouldn't be the same without its subways—and not just because the City relies on the system in order to function. The 24 lines run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, underpinning the City both literally and figuratively. On an average weekday last year, NYC's subways transported well over 5 million people, making it the most trafficked public transit system in the Western world. The system is also one of the oldest and most complex on the planet, and the stories behind its construction and day-to-day operations are fascinating. In many ways, the subway is as iconic an NYC attraction as the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building, and just as famous. What other city's public works project can lay claim to inspiring a Jennifer Lopez album title, appearing in films as diverse as Midnight Cowboy and Crocodile Dundee and even having a fictional stop on Sesame Street?
In this feature we uncover some of what makes the New York City subway system so intriguing, looking at its history, secrets, peculiarities and lore. Ever wonder about the secret Beaux Arts station near City Hall? Curious about the connection between train fares and pizza prices? Interested in hearing how a night-train conductor sees NYC? Read on for more—and stand clear of the closing doors, please.