Home Subway History Video: Dirty Old New York Subway

Video: Dirty Old New York Subway

by Benjamin Kabak

Via Ned Merrill’s Obscure One-Sheet comes a 15-minute video of old movie clips from the subway that’s sure to captivate fans of New York City history and, of course, the subway system. Make a game of it and see how many movies (or subway stations) you can name as the images flicker by.

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Marsha May 2, 2013 - 9:03 am

Some random thoughts:
The subways sure looked scary back then.
I don’t miss the graffiti at all.
Loved seeing the Train to the Plane.
Glad to see that one of my favorite subway movie lines made the cut–“Wanna see all the white people disappear” from “Brother from Another Planet.”
Aaaay, the Fonz.

al May 2, 2013 - 3:34 pm

Damn the graffiti and the acid solutions used to remove them. The corrosion shortened the lives of the subway cars with LAHT construction. Every car type from R10 to R44 (except R11 and R32) got acid accelerated rust.

If the the LAHT cars lasted longer (40-45 yrs instead of 30-40 yrs), the MTA would had bought far fewer conservatively designed R62 and R68 in the 80’s. That in turn leads to a larger fleet of NTT trains with CBTC capabilities. Retiring/sending R44, R46, and (much smaller fleet of) R68 to SIRT and a few shuttles would open up possibilities of ATO/SATO and standard door spacing for platform screen doors.

Lady Feliz May 2, 2013 - 4:27 pm

What makes you think Staten Island wants the rest of the city’s junk? The cars currently running on the SIR are already 40 years old, and are only the second model of cars used on the line since it was electrified in 1925!

Keep your junk, SI doesn’t want it.

al May 3, 2013 - 12:32 am

Just because something is 40 years old doesn’t mean its junk. It all depends on reliability and performance. All equipment require maintenance and component replacement/upgrades to stay in good running order. Check out how soon the BMT experimental fleet conked out when the City took over the BMT, and decided the innovations weren’t worth supporting. SIR R44 were procured new in the 70’s and have been running ever since. They are getting retired, and replaced with R46 due to equipment subsystem similarities. The next fleet after may be R68, because electrical requirements for NTT train sets may necessitate electrical upgrades. Finally, the increased seat count that traverse seating on R46 and R68 provide might be something the Staten Island residents would like over the longitudinal bench seats on NTT trains.

Staten Island Railroad has had 3 electric motor models not 2. ME-1, MP72, and FRA mod R44.

AG May 2, 2013 - 11:24 am

Only watched the first several minutes… but I noticed some classics… The French Connection – The Warriors – Death Wish – Saturday Night Fever

NY was a diff world back then… It was really like “the belly of the beast”.

Lady Feliz May 2, 2013 - 2:34 pm

“Never say you’re sorry kid; someone may come back here and hit you in your damn nose.”

-Journeyman conductor training the newbie in “Pelham 1-2-3.”

Lady Feliz May 2, 2013 - 3:08 pm

Also funny how so many films in the ’80s used the 42nd Street Shuttle, and how people get off the shuttle and wave goodbye to their friends (as in “Night Shift”) when the shuttle only has two stops (Times Square-Grand Central). What, they couldn’t change the destination signs to some other line so it’d be a bit more believable?


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