Of the many unspoken codes of public transportation, perhaps the most crucial is this: Keep, as much as possible, to yourself. The ride—on the train, on the subway, on the bus—may be full of familiar strangers; politeness and pragmatism, however, tend to emphasize the “stranger” over the familiar. Why interact with other people when you can, for the good of all aboard, ignore them?
But what happens when those mandates gets reversed—when the stranger on the subway becomes, actually, a little too familiar? Since early 2012, the artist and sculptor George Ferrandi has been exploring that idea through her project “it felt like i knew you…,” a series of time-lapse images that capture what happens when the anonymity of the city commute gets replaced, determinedly, with intimacy.
It goes like this: Ferrandi rides the New York City subway—and “falls asleep” on fellow passengers. Her collaborator Angela Gilland, strategically situated across the aisle, shoots video of the scene that ensues.
If there’s enough time to capture a dying man’s last moments before getting hit by an oncoming train that’s that worthy of a tabloid cover, couldn’t the photographer have lent a hand?
[Image: New York Post]
Using data from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, this animation tracks public transportation on a weekday, starting at 4am. Sumus, the Canadian software company behind these visualizations, uses the General Transit Feed Specification data from various cities to create a whole series of videos that you can check out on YouTube. Be sure to watch full screen in 720 HD to see the movement of subways and buses (which appear to be color-coded to match the corresponding lines).
If you want to see what a difficult task the MTA faces in the coming days, look at these photos the agency posted on Tuesday to its Flickr account. The damage is incredible. The South Ferry subway station is a dark Venice with waves lapping at platform edges. Out on the Rockaway line, repair crews face yawning holes in the ground and the occasional washed-up boat on the tracks. If you’re wondering why the transit agency didn’t prepare for the tidal surge with sandbags and the like, they did: It just didn’t make much of a difference against the storm’s brutal tides.
Read more. [Images: Flickr]
Last fall, as part of a massive report on climate change in New York, a research team led by Klaus Jacob of Columbia University drafted a case study that estimated the effects of a 100-year storm on the city’s transportation infrastructure. Considering MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota’s comments today that Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the subway was "worse than the worst case scenario," it seems pretty safe to put Sandy in the 100-year category. In that case, assuming the rest of the report holds true, the subway system could be looking at a recovery time of several weeks, with residual effects lasting for months and years.
Read more. [Image: LDEO, Columbia University]
As residents and officials survey the damage to New York City this morning, one thing is clear: it is the worst mass transit crisis in city history.
"The New York City subway system is 108 years old," MTA chairman Joseph J. Lhotasaidin a statement last night, “But it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night.” Seven subway tunnels were inundated, Lhota said. Photos showed flooding in stations from Bay Ridge, at the foot of Brooklyn, toHarlem, in Upper Manhattan. The PATH station connecting Lower Manhattan to New Jersey alsoflooded, Kubrick-style, as did the World Trade Center construction site.
According to New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, Lhota told CBS the situation was worse than the worst case scenario the MTA had envisioned. There have been rumors the system could be down for a week, but the MTA has refused to speculate about a timeline.
Read more. [Image: Reuters/Andrew Kelly]
It’s a rare sight to behold in the city of 24-hour everything.
The forgotten City Hall station was the original terminal of New York’s subway system. It opened on the evening of October 27, 1904, along with 27 other Interborough Rapid Transit (I.R.T.) stations up to 145th Street on the west side. The inauguration began with a private ride conducted by Mayor George McClellan and ended with a fascinated public standing in awe of the strange new technology.
Read more. [Image: John-Paul Palescandolo and Eric Kazmirek]