The Art of the Second Avenue Subway

100 years in the making, the second avenue subway will officially open on New Years Eve. Growing up in New York in the 70's, the subway has always been both a magical and scary space. My first memories of riding the subway come from my annual summer trip with my dad and my siblings to Coney Island. Where off in the distance, this city of joy and light would slowly come into view. We would press our noses to the window as we approached in our aerosol painted dragon of steel. The photo below from Bruce Davidson's "Subway" series captures that moment perfectly. In fact, I am convinced that the kids in the photos are photos of me and my siblings. I cannot disprove it.

But then there were the stories of muggings, and murder. Innocent old ladies being pushed in front of on-coming trains. Gangs straight out of the movie "Warlords" ready to pounce less you let your guard down. And then there were the Angels... Guardian Angels. I remember first seeing them posed heroically on the cover of New York Magazine. They would keep us safe, I thought. 

But the memory that endures the most about growing up with the NYC subway is one I am sure many of us, (locals and tourists alike) can relate too. It is that palpable surge of energy that buzzes through you as you rise up from the underground, and into the island that is like no other island in the world... Manhattan. This grandest of entrances from the relative quiet of the outer-boroughs, to the steely grid-pattern and symphony of sound that is "The City" (as locals refer to it), still feels to me like the first time I have arrived in The City, every time I arrive in The City.

I recommend you check out the video below that touches on the history and diversity that make this city strong. And if you are visiting New York, check out the second avenue subway if you get the chance, and remember that our subway system is the grandest in the world, the tie that binds our city together.