The New York Subway:
It doesn’t come realer.
It is the birthplace of modern locomotive graffiti and the backdrop to a thousand Hollywood movies. Spend any time down in the hollow roots that feed the city of New York, amongst the nets of pipes and web of rails amongst the muck and the graff, and these century old transit tunnels start to take on a life of their own. The enticing breaths of warm humid breeze, infused with break dust and the occasional cough containing 100 tonnes of fast moving screeching metal mark them out as the lungs and capillaries of the great city that stands above them .
The NY subway was built with the needs of a city that never sleeps in mind. Unlike London, Oslo, Berlin or even Paris, the trains here run 24 hours a day, and because of this there is enough room down there for trains and people at the same time. The 24hr running is a boon for the citizens of NY and the MTA who maintain the rails, and if you’re the kind of person that prefers to walk rather than taking the supplied locomotive, it means you can happily pop down between the trains and run off the edge of the platform of your choosing, safe-ish in the knowledge that if the train you were supposed to be getting on does cruse down the line, you can run like a bitch to one of the alcoves or adjacent lines to avoid getting turned into ratfood.
So anyway, there you are.
It’s 2.30am, The train on the platform has closed its doors and is just departing. The bum on the bench is out cold and that dopy woman playing with her cellphone has stumbled up the stairs exiting the station. You look down the way and the opposite platform is clear. According to the map, you’ve got a 300m dash to the abandoned shit hole of a station you want to see and the next train will already be on its way. One-two-three and you’re off the platform, running in the pitch black hoping to fuck you don’t trip up and plant your face on the third. After what seems like no time, the grimy site of the ghost station looms out of the darkness and you haul up. Tripod+camera come out and you frame up. You’re fiddling about with a few settings, when from out of nowhere the squeal of a train shoots out of the darkness. There is just enough time to hit the deck and curl up into a ball, head against the grime hugging the camera gear you pulled over at the last second. “ffs. What is my life..?”
Running tunnels isn’t ‘1337’, ‘hardcore’ or very clever. You just need to make that leap in your mind that running off the end of a platform into a live train tunnel is a good idea (it’s not). Once you’ve done that, I promise you will never go back.
Some of the features down there haven’t been seen by the general populace of NY city in over 70 years and yet are passed by hundreds of thousands everyday, all sat feet away for a few seconds each. The ghost stations of any citys metro system offer a brilliantly preserved step back in time for anyone interested in getting under the skin of a city, and while almost all of the NY met is graffed, there are still brilliant points that break through the paint and dust, offering up a hint of a lost age amongst all the sweat and adrenaline you built up getting to these desolate places.
A+++++++++ would urbex again.
Props to GE066 xx