Travel & Design Blog - BY YASMIN METZ-JOHNSON

Thursday, 18 September 2014

An open letter to the Mayor of New York

The coldest mode of transport I've ever experienced


Dear Mr De Blasio

I'm from the UK and recently visited New York City, I was impressed by many aspects of it, in fact i thoroughly enjoyed it however, there was something that I not only found disturbing but I also did not understand it and that was the Subway. Not the subway system (although that also is not the most friendly) or lack of subways that go by each hour but the state of the subways themselves as if thousands of people do not use it on a daily and regular basis. It is beyond filthy. Forget not having cushion seating, I suppose the high air con temperatures make up for that, but the subway platforms look as if they have never been touched since the day they were created. I vividly remember avoiding any sort of eye contact with the platform ceilings as I did not want to know about the vile mould I would be confronted by. The smell below was another matter, if it didn't smell of urine it smelt of something else if not worse!

The lack of consistency in simple things such as sign posting inside the subway was also very frustrating whilst travelling. We had to search for the sign which charts all the stops on the line as that sense of reassurance that you are on the correct train is not guaranteed to be on every train as you know. I remember asking a fellow New Yorker on the subway why the subways are 'the way it is' (not the standard they should be in 2014) and he said "Well you know, it was built in the 70's". Because something was created 40 so years ago can't be refurbished? (The London Underground was built 151 years ago in 1863, it is still clean and easy to use with constant sign posting on every tube. VIA Rail in Canada was established in 1978 and is apparently very user friendly. - The cute old man's comment on the subway being built in the 1970's is irrelevant. They actually began in 1904 according to my sources). Regardless of their age that is no excuse for it's current conditions. Honestly, I did not feel at ease whilst on one. I don't mean to sound like a wingebag but if we were not on the wrong train (due to the lack of signs) then there would usually be another issue of some sort like the Antarctica room temperature in subway.
Earlier I praised the high temperature of air con within the subway, but the contrast when you enter/exit to the humid heat on many of the platforms were overwhelming. Why can't we have a satisfying  medium? Do you know that regular interchanges between significantly different room tempuratures as a side effect can have adverse effects on the human body?

 I think if you go on public transport elsewhere in another country you will find out, if you did not already know that the NY subway is not at the best standard it could be at this day and age. The point I am trying to make without rambling is that New York is a great city known for its tourist appeal and attractions like The Empire State and Times Square, but the dirty subways can seriously have an impact on the experience (not in a good way). Why not show the same pride for New York through the subways we travel on to get to some of these iconic venues?

Yours Sincerely,



Miss Yasmin MJ
@YasminxMJ
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