New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Too Too New York


A New York comic: "Are any of you here from out of town? Yes? For those of you unfamiliar with the subway, it's an underground system of urinals connected by trains." Perhaps I should add, "patrolled by rats."

There is little that says New York like the subway system, lying just beneath the city's surface, acting as its central nervous system. Trains and train service is a highly contentious subject, often maligned and frequently praised. Its failings are many as are the reasons for the problems. One reader response to a subway article on Gothamist says:

The NYC subway system is evocative of some third-world country.
All you need are some goats and chickens in the subway cars to complete the picture.

Perhaps the most common word used in explanations regarding things that ail New York residents and visitors is TOO. Many have commented as I have over the years of how nice it would be to have subway trains with rubber tires as do many other cities. However, a transit authority spokesperson said it was not possible - too much wear and our trains are too heavy.

The enormous number of people in a non-heterogeneous mix is one of the key factors to make New York what many tout as the greatest city in the world. Of course, population size alone does not insure greatness, but it certainly is a contributing factor, providing support for a seemingly endless number of services, businesses and cultural opportunities. How else could you support the world's only 24 hour subway system? But there are numerous serious issues, not the least of which is that it is literally deafening - noise levels in the Spring Street station running the Lexington Avenue line having been measured at 105 decibels (see article here). Noise at this level for one or two minutes each day can do permanent hearing damage over time. For now, too bad.

The New York City subway is one of the world's cheapest rides. Many feel that cost and the 24/7 service trump all negative concerns. But for others, the TOOs are a deal breaker: too dirty, too loud, too hot in the summer, too dilapidated, too outdated, too smelly, too crowded, too many stairs, too confusing, too many shutdowns and reroutings and too few attended token booths. Got to go now. I hear a train coming and it's screaming TOO TOO New York :)

11 comments:

Cheri said...

Loved your post today, as I have never seen the NY subway. Very interesting.

Rigel said...

As much as I love the city, I do agree that it can get a bit overwhelming at times. Great pictures.

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

I get what you're saying about the noise, Brian. But I have to say that one of my pleasures whenever I come to New York is getting around town on the subway. Partly it's just that I CAN do it, but also, it's the experience itself. Perhaps my hearing has been so damaged by attending many loud rock shows, but the sound doesn't bug me too much.

time traveler said...

Wow!!Thanks for another view of N.Y. Brian..May god bless all of you New York people, your much tougher than me..After reading your blog(a daily ritual now) I fired up my bike and after a traffic jam (7 or 8 cars in front of me at a light)I found myself riding in the country-the scent of spring in the air-trees blooming-cool wind in my face..Love your blog-admire your city-but "I thank GOD I'm a country boy."

Thérèse said...

Nice post and I try using buses when I am in N.Y. city so that I can see neighborhoods. But is it that different from Paris subway??

Shane K. said...

The latest table that came out ranking the most liveable cities in the world had New York at 56th or 52nd (those are the placings for London and NYC, can't remember which was which). Perhaps the public transport system was one of the reasons?

I live in Perth, Western Australia (Number 8 on the ladder thanks very much hahaha) and I would guess our lack of population is the reason we don't have public transport issues. Roughly 1.4 million people living in a city as long as Ireland is wide. I'll be heading to NYC next month and I'm far above excited! :D

Mary P. said...

I must say - I envy 'time traveler.' But only a little.

Tamera said...

I loved this post -- anyone visiting NYC should definitely take the subway at least once! It's the most NEW YORK experience I can think of.

jfaerch said...

Do all lines run 24 hours a day? Something in me recalls closed subway stations in NYC on one of my visits to the city. Also, Copenhagen metro runs all night long.

Russell Claxton said...

I think NY's subway could be called the soul of the city. Here you have such diverse people sitting or standing side by side in what's usually a gentle and considerate way. As a place, its frayed image has a kind of healthy lack of nonsense about it, too. It's wonderful, whatever it is.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Manhattan last year. Now I'm back in Switzerland, “my country“..

I agree with all the things you said, but now I realize that I miss TOO much the subway even if it's a big mess.
I guess that's what I like !