It might be New York City’s ‘summer of hell,’ but 14 photos show how much worse the subway system was in the 1970s

subway 1970sThe U.S. National Archives/Flickr

Today, New Yorkers and commuters are in the grips of the “summer of hell.”

Mass delays are everywhere throughout various metro transit systems. So far, the MTA alone has seen fires, derailed trains, and dangerously overcrowded subway platforms.

And the situation is taking its toll on frustrated commuters.

But things could always be worse.

Just look at the 1970s, when the Big Apple seemed to be rotting from within.

Crime was everywhere and the city was struggling to deal with a major fiscal crisis.

The city’s subway system wasn’t faring much better. Crime, graffiti, and frequent mechanical breakdowns were mainstays of New York subways throughout the decade.

Photographer Erik Calonius snapped several shots of the bleak situation in April of 1973. These pictures, along with many others, can be viewed in the Flickr album of the U.S. National Archives.

These 14 photos allow us a glimpse into what it was like to ride the New York City subway system during this troubled time.

Riding the subway in 1970 only cost 30 cents – a dramatic hike from the previous fare of 15 cents. Fare increases usually caused ridership to plunge.

The U.S. National Archives/Flickr

Sources: New York Daily News, NYC Subway

The fares may have been cheaper, but the subways were also dirtier and more dangerous back in the day. The 1970s also brought about the age of graffiti in the New York subway system.

The U.S. National Archives/Flickr

Source: PBS Newshour

Modern-day graffiti spread to New York from Philadelphia in the earlier part of the decade. Trains completely covered in graffiti were called “masterpieces.”

The U.S. National Archives/Flickr

Source: New York Magazine,PBS Newshour

See the rest of the story at Business Insider


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