WhereTraveler New York

The NYC Subways

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Soon after the Metropolit­an Transporta­tion Authority took over the subway system from the NYC Transit Authority, in 1968, the city entered a fiscal crisis. Crime and vandalism increased, subway lines frequently broke down and user service decreased. By the late 1970s, 327 million passengers had stopped using the subway. Some predicted that if the rate of decline continued, there would be no passengers left by 2002. Enter a new era. In 1985, the MTA Arts & Design program was launched to install permanent artworks in stations. Then, in 1993, Rudolph Giuliani became the 107th mayor of the city, bringing with him a “zero tolerance“policy. Subway crime dropped, and renovation­s begun in the late 1980s reversed ridership trends. Today, riding the subways is a clean, safe and aesthetica­lly pleasing experience, from Columbus Circle (left) to W. 81st Street (center) to Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway, Queens (right).

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