A few weeks ago, Kyle and I participated in an underground tour of the New York Subway system. The last time I signed us up for a tour it did not go well (Kyle WOULD NOT recommend a ghost tour of Greenwich Village, if anyone is interested), so he was hesitant when I told him we'd be touring the subway. I pictured us walking through damp and dark underground tunnels, snapping photos of the dwellings of the illusive Mole People, but that was obviously not what the MTA had in mind.
On a summer Saturday morning, we trekked down to the Financial District for the tour, which began at the entrance to the Chambers Street station. Our guide, Gary, was awesome. Once I knew we weren't going to be wandering around in the dark next to the tracks I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was interesting and informative nonetheless. Did you know there's a commissioned work by Roy Lichtenstein in the Times Square station? Or that the original (now closed) City Hall station can be seen in all its glory from the windows of the 6 train? How about the amount of horse manure (in tons) that polluted the city streets before the trains were built – trains that were once above ground?
Aside from the learnings of the tour itself, it got us thinking... Here's something that we walk over and ride on every day that we never once had taken the time to contemplate or appreciate. When you think about it, the subway is really an incredible thing. What is also fascinating is that tour guides like Gary have so much knowledge about one specific aspect of the city. What inspires one to become an expert on the history of the subway, or pizza places, or graffiti murals – or ghosts for that matter? Perhaps some day we'll write about it, or rather them. There is wonder all around (and beneath) us; sometimes you just have to stop and take the time to process it.
Subway station lighting is not designed for beautiful photography, but we made due. A few of our favorite snaps are below. For more subway-related imagery, keep an eye out for our upcoming project, Last Stop.