Rare photos show what subways were like in the 1980s


With subway ridership hitting records and with the expansions currently marching towards the finish line with the 7 line and the Second Avenue Subway, it’s hard for many to realize how far from this scenario we could’ve been if the subway kept going down the path it was headed in the 1970s and early 80s.

Photographs shot in 1981 by then-22-year-old photographer Christopher Morris shows just how gritty riding the subways of New York used to be. Long before automated subway announcements, countdown clocks and FIND maps there was graffiti, litter and a real sense of danger.

The trains had a very different look and feel back then, as the photos attest, but it certainly helps illustrate how New York City gained a reputation for people who could tough through just about anything.

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