Photo by myself from the platform of the 1 and 9 trains, at 59th Street.
Sometimes I'm on the subway platform, gazing out at the puddles of glop, the garbage, the rats and the rails, and I'm astonished that we're in the 21st Century.
I've been to Washington DC, and Boston, and Paris, and London, and Hong Kong, other large cities with underground transit. Of all the cities, New York is easily the worst, in terms of conditions, aesthetics and timeliness.
I could go on about the subway, and I have on occasion. But I won't.
I wanted to clue people into an excellent article in The New Yorker about another major mass vehicle that makes New York the city it is, that is, the elevator.
In 'Up, Then Down', Nick Paumgarten reminds us that without the elevator, we wouldn't have buildings higher than five stories. We'd have a sprawling mess.
Remember the guy who was trapped in a New York City elevator for over 40 hours, the footage of which was on You Tube? Paumgarten starts with that guy, then goes into the history of elevators, touching upon the tallest buildings of the world and the latest elevator technology. The result is a pretty fascinating look into these little boxes on cables that take us up and down.
People living in other lands may never encounter a elevator. In New York though, they are an experience to be tolerated. Many people have one at the office and one in their apartment buildings.
Recent models have inset lcd screens showing the news, the weather, words of the day and celebrity gossip. It's a small distraction to pass the few seconds it takes to get up or down.
Unless you were that unfortunate guy stuck in one over a weekend.
Related posts: If You're Happy Clap Your Hands, Au Secours and Notes From The Underground.