Times Sq-42nd Street, Waiting for the uptown express. c.MMXV
The New York City subway is part engineering marvel, part social experiment, and part city lifeline. There is almost nothing more 'New York' than the subway. All the characteristics of the city are still evident when you slowly walk down below street level.
The Social Experiment.
One of the most interesting things about the subway is the composition of its clientele. On the subway there is every color and creed. Every socio-economic group. Every identity. In one car, you will see a homeless person asleep next to a stockbroker, tie loosened and briefcase in hand, heading home after a long day. You will hear conversations partly in spanish that are then continued in french, and before its all said and done, a third party will interject in english. There is beauty to way the subway works. It is more than a melting pot than above-ground NYC could ever be. You look at Manhattan alone and its various neighborhoods and it doesn't take long to see the divides; the rich here, the poor over there. the students in these hotspots, while the gangs reside in those places.
The City's Lifeline.
It would be hard to imagine NYC without a subway system. In fact, it might just be impossible. Boasting one of the few, if not the only, 24/7 subway systems in the world, the subway is an essential component to why NYC is 'the city that never sleeps'. Allowing 24/7 travel options for its members, the subway is also a tool for the working class. At just $2.75 per ride, one can travel in between 4 out of NYC's 5 boroughs (the 5th Staten Island can be reached via a free ferry). This allows workers from all the way out in Queens to reach jobs in the Bronx and the tip of Manhattan and back for only $5.50, where other cities charge per stop or by some other measure of distance or time. This is vitally important.