New York City's first subway system officially opened on October 27, 1904, operating along a nine-mile strip from City Hall to 145th Street. Today, in its centennial year, the subway stretches for 685 miles and carries well over four million passengers each day. New Yorkers of every age, nationality, and income level -- -- from commuters and street musicians to evangelists and homeless men and women looking for a warm place to rest -- -- tourists, and curious visitors come together under New York's streets each day. Photographer and sociologist Camilo Vergara captures these chance encounters in images that go back as far as 1970, when the subways were colorfully embellished with graffiti and "cooled" in summer with fans blowing stifling air.
In addition to documenting the trains (including the indestructible "Red Birds") and the diverse riders, Subway Memories depicts New York's cityscapes as seen from the elevated trains that rumble over bridges and wind their way through neighborhoods in Queens, Harlem, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. Vergara's photo essay thus becomes a fascinating portrait of New York itself. Accompanying the color photographs is an introductory essay by Vergara in which he recalls his own "subway memories" and describes his quest to document the changing fabric and identity of the city through its subways.
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167th Street stop 180th Street station 9 line Andy Bata Arnold Cherry Bob Delmonico Broadway from Sumpter Broadway Junction station Bronx Queen Bronx River Brooklyn Bridge Camilo Jose Vergara cleaning supervisor Coney Island crossed the Bronx Drug East New York elevated platform Flushing Avenue entrance former submarine chaser Freeman Street station graffiti Historian Peter Derrick homeless IND subway cars Intervale Avenue station IRT train Jackson Heights Jerome Avenue Lefferts Avenue lines along Broadway Livonia Avenue station love the subways Manhattan Mariachis motormen Nauth neighborhoods Ocean Hill Overleaf Ozone Park passengers Peter Derrick commented photograph policeman Queens Plaza station Red Birds riders Rockaway Rockefeller Ctr seen Simpson Avenue station smells South Bronx Square station stacked piggyback Subway Memories Subway worker subway's Sumpter Street tobacco advertisements tracks train approaching train arriving train operator Trains Go tunnel underground station View east West Side IRT Westchester Avenue World Trade Center York City subway Yorkers