New York's Subways: Under the Apple

LA VIA DEL TREN SUBTERRANEO ES PELIGROSA. The sign appears in nearly every subway car along New York City's 230-mile system. Literally translated from Spanish, it means, "The subterranean train track is dangerous." Though it refers to the electrified third rail and not to the dangers inside the trains, few New Yorkers would argue with its broader implications. Fewer still, however, have seen the sign recently. It has been obscured in most cars by coat after coat of indecipherable graffiti.

New York City's subways, the subject of innumerable horror stories, conjure up hellish images in the minds of out-of-towners. But while...

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