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Old December 25th, 2007, 05:08 PM   #521
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^ I was on the move while taking those pics. Hardly had enough time to stop in the tsunami of people while showing some friends around town. I'll be in the city again this week and will take better pictures.
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Old December 29th, 2007, 01:12 AM   #522
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Here we go. Took these pictures a couple of hours ago. Again, these were taken on the move..












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Old January 16th, 2008, 10:28 AM   #523
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In Response to M.T.A.'s 'Say Something' Ads, a Glimpse of Modern Fears
7 January 2008
The New York Times

After 9/11, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority coined the slogan, ''If you see something, say something,'' and put it on posters encouraging subway and bus riders to call a police counterterrorism hot line if they encountered anything suspicious. Then, last July, the authority trumpeted results on new posters and in television ads: ''Last year, 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.''

But the new posters, also placed in the commuter railroad trains, left out two things: What, exactly, did those 1,944 New Yorkers see, and what did they say? Presumably, no active terror plots were interrupted, or that would have been announced at the time by the authorities.

Now, an overview of police data relating to calls to the hot line over the past two years reveals the answer and provides a unique snapshot of post-9/11 New York, part paranoia and part well-founded caution. Indeed, no terrorists were arrested, but a wide spectrum of other activity was reported.

Suspicious people were seen in subway tunnels, subway yards and bus garages. Some callers saw people suspiciously photographing subway facilities.

The vast majority of calls had nothing to do with the transit system, including reports of people believed to be selling phony ID cards. Or stockpiling weapons. Or attempting to buy explosives on the Internet (those turned out to be fireworks).

Some callers tried to turn the authority's slogan on its head. These people saw nothing but said something anyway -- calling in phony bomb threats or terror tips. At least five people were arrested in the past two years and charged with making false reports.

Eleven calls were about people seen counting in the subway, a seemingly innocuous act that was interpreted as ominous by at least some who witnessed it.

One thing the overview did not clear up: just where did the number 1,944 come from? Police and transit officials could not say exactly.

All together, calls to the hot line, 1-888-NYC-SAFE, have resulted in 18 arrests by the New York police over the past two years; none have turned out to reveal a direct connection to terrorism.

''It's just one small part of the initiative the Police Department has to capture any information that might prevent another 9/11 or another catastrophic attack on the city,'' said Paul J. Browne, a police spokesman.

''One call one day may be the one that stops an attempt to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge.'' He said that some cases related to hot line calls were still being investigated.

It is impossible to tell how many people called the counterterrorism hot line because of the posters. In all, the hot line received 8,999 calls in 2006, including calls that were transferred from 911 and the 311 help line, Mr. Browne said. They included a significant number of calls about suspicious packages, many in the transit system. Most involved backpacks, briefcases or other items accidentally left behind by their owners. None of them, Mr. Browne said, were bombs.

There were, however, 816 calls to the hot line in 2006 that were deemed serious enough to require investigation by the department's intelligence division or its joint terrorism task force with the F.B.I. Mr. Browne said that 109 of those calls had a connection to the transit system and included reports of suspicious people in tunnels and yards, and of people taking pictures of the tracks.

The hot line received many more calls in 2007, possibly because of the authority's advertising campaign, Mr. Browne said. Through early December, the counterterrorism hot line received 13,473 calls, with 644 of those meriting investigation. Of that group, 45 calls were transit related.

Then there were the 11 calls about people counting.

Mr. Browne said several callers reported seeing men clicking hand-held counting devices while riding on subway trains or waiting on platforms.

The callers said that the men appeared to be Muslims and that they seemed to be counting the number of people boarding subway trains or the number of trains passing through a station. They feared the men might be collecting data to maximize the casualties in a terror attack.

''They saw someone clicking this device and gave different interpretations to that and saw a possible threat,'' Mr. Browne said.

But when the police looked into the claims, they determined that the men were counting prayers with the devices, essentially a modern version of rosary beads.

The counters are similar to those used by baseball coaches to keep track of the number of pitches thrown in a game or by stores conducting inventory. They are a common item in the Islamic shops on Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, where they sell for $5 to $8.

Ali Mohammed, 44, a Brooklyn grocery owner who was shopping on Atlantic Avenue recently, said that many Muslims use a tally counter as they repeat the many names of God.

''Anybody's dress, anybody's behavior or outlook, it can be suspicious to anybody,'' Mr. Mohammed said. ''But especially if they're Muslim, somebody is going to be suspicious.''

None of those calls led to arrests, but several others did, although they had nothing to do with the subway or buses. At least three calls resulted in arrests for trying to sell false identification, including driver's licenses and Social Security cards. One informer told the police about a Staten Island man who was later found to have a cache of firearms. A Queens man was charged with having an illegal gun and with unlawful dealing in fireworks.

A Brooklyn man was charged with making anti-Semitic threats against his landlord and threatening to use sarin gas on him. At least two men arrested on tips from the hot line were turned over to immigration officials for deportation, Mr. Browne said.

And then there were the phony tipsters.

A Brooklyn jeweler, Rimon Alkatri, was convicted last month of making a false report and faces up to seven years in prison. Mr. Browne said that in May 2006, Mr. Alkatri told a hot line operator that terrorists were planning a subway bomb attack. But Mr. Alkatri was charged with falsely reporting an incident and accused of making up the story to get back at some former business associates.

On Sept. 3, 2007, a man called the police and said there would be an attack on Pennsylvania Station the next day. The police traced the call, and in October they arrested a Long Island resident, Yvan Peralta, and charged him with making a false report, Mr. Browne said. He said Mr. Peralta told the police he had been drinking when he made the call.

Other apparently phony tipsters included a man who said that Police Headquarters in Lower Manhattan would be hit with a rocket attack, a man who said he was going to use plastic explosives to blow up a Queens hospice and a man who called in a bomb threat against a Pepsi-Cola building in the Bronx.

The current version of the ''See Something, Say Something'' ads began running in July, said Christopher P. Boylan, a deputy executive director of the authority. The television and newspaper ads ended late last year, but posters remain on some trains. The campaign cost $3 million.

But despite the ad's specific mention of 1,944 New Yorkers, there was some mystery surrounding the number.

Mr. Browne and Mr. Boylan said that it included the police hot line calls that were followed up by counterterrorism investigators and similar calls to the New York State Police, the F.B.I. and the Port Authority Police Department.

Mr. Browne, however, provided figures showing that a total of 2,096 terror tips to the four agencies were investigated in 2006.

Mr. Boylan said he did not know exactly how the authority had come up with the number. ''I don't want to say that the accuracy of the number is secondary to the message,'' Mr. Boylan said, ''but the message that we wanted to get across is that those calls are, in fact, having an impact.''
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Old January 21st, 2008, 04:49 PM   #524
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Playing the Angles As a Fare Increase Looms
6 January 2008
The New York Times

FOR four decades, many pennywise subway riders have hatched a common scheme when confronted by a fare increase. Maybe, goes the thinking, it will pay to hoard. The tradition began in 1966, when the subway fare rose to 20 cents from 15, the first increase since the token was introduced in 1953. In the days preceding the rise, frugal riders bought pocketfuls of tokens, delaying the increase for themselves.

On Dec. 19, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced a fare increase that will take effect on March 2. With the token now replaced by the MetroCard, any possible savings may not feel as treasure-like as they once did, but thoughts about stockpiling have not entirely disappeared.

''I did think of buying a whole bunch of MetroCards before the hike,'' Lynn McDonald, a 23-year-old security guard from Canarsie, Brooklyn, said the other day after she bought a $10 pay-per-ride card in Grand Central Station. With her purchase, she received a $2 bonus, but come March, the bonus on the same purchase will be reduced by 50 cents.

Later that day, at a nearby machine, Jonathan Flombaum, a Yale graduate student who lives on the Upper East Side, bought a $20 pay-per-ride card.

''I wouldn't do it, but I have a lot of friends I know who would do it for sure,'' Mr. Flombaum said of hoarding, before mentioning the name of one such friend with an amused grin. Mr. Flombaum himself had a practical reason for not joining the ranks of his more parsimonious peers. ''I would lose my MetroCard,'' he said.

In the past, the transit agency has sometimes taken steps to prevent hoarding. In 1989, in the month before a fare increase took effect, it briefly experimented with a limit of two tokens per purchase, and in 2005, MetroCards bought at the pre-rise price were honored for only a limited grace period.

Does the agency worry about hoarding this time? ''It's not something we're expecting to see in large numbers,'' said Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the transportation authority. ''But if it does happen, we're prepared to take measures.''

The relatively small size of the pending increases -- the price of the seven-day MetroCard, for example, will rise to $25 from $24 -- is one reason the authority is not very concerned about hoarding, Mr. Donovan said. By contrast, the rise in the basic per-ride fare in 2003, from $1.50 to $2, was substantial.

However transit officials address the issue, a few commuters at Grand Central the other evening said they had no interest in hoarding. Some claimed they did not have the cash for such an operation. Others couldn't be bothered to make the effort.

Dana Byrd, a 41-year-old musician from Astoria, Queens, said he would not expend the mental energy trying to save a few cents, but added that he might have felt differently in the era of the token.

''The tokens were a different situation,'' Mr. Byrd said. ''It was an actual physical thing. You could see what you were saving.''
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 04:19 PM   #525
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In Queens, Riders Cope With Disruptions to the 'Immigrant Express'
13 January 2008
The New York Times

The No. 7 train is to Roosevelt Avenue in Queens what the A train is to Harlem: the rhythm of the place. On Saturday, the beat was off as thousands of subway riders in some of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city endured life on Roosevelt Avenue, at least temporarily, without the train that some call the ''Immigrant Express.''

Service on the No. 7 train was suspended from 12:01 a.m. on Saturday to 5 a.m. on Monday for 10 stops through western Queens, the first of five weekend shutdowns that transit officials said were necessary to modernize the signal system and reconfigure track switches. The service suspension stretched from the Flushing-Main Street station to the Woodside-61st Street station.

As riders sprinted to catch shuttle buses and transit workers stood beneath the elevated tracks directing and calming the masses, the scene seemed a lesson in international and interpersonal relations. People communicated through gestures, incomplete English and brochures in English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean. Outside a station in Jackson Heights, an African-American transit worker guided Spanish-speaking men onto a shuttle bus ''para Main Street'' as she stood across the street from a Chinese/halal buffet restaurant, and her Hispanic colleague, Victor Lopez, assisted a Korean woman.

''You do your best,'' said Mr. Lopez, 49, a transit worker who speaks English, Spanish and a little German but no Korean.

Last year, a section of the No. 7 line between Manhattan and Queens was shut down for several weekends for upgrades, and headaches ensued. Thousands of riders were delayed and given confusing directions to shuttle buses. Transit officials vowed to make improvements, and on Saturday, the service changes on the No. 7 train, which has about 400,000 weekday riders, appeared to run more smoothly.

About 300 free shuttle buses, some making local stops and others express trips, carried riders along the route. Transit workers wearing bright orange-and-yellow vests directed people to the buses and answered questions. The shuttle bus stops were hard to miss; some were marked with yellow posters and yellow sandwich boards, and at others, transit personnel were shouting into bullhorns. One transit worker, after being approached by a woman who was uncertain where to go, escorted her onto a waiting shuttle bus.

''We expected to get killed, but we're doing pretty good,'' said a transportation manager outside the Woodside-61st Street station who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the news media. ''So far, so good.''

Still, many riders said they had no clue that service was going to be suspended, though transit officials say they did spread the word. Riders' moods ranged from nonchalant to inconvenienced to mildly frustrated. Riders seemed to take full advantage of the free shuttle buses and the large numbers of transit workers to get answers. In addition to using the buses, riders were able to transfer to Long Island Rail Road trains at two stops along the route.

At 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, a trip from Main Street to the 74th Street-Broadway stop on a shuttle bus took about 30 minutes. The bus trips seemed to take longer than the train rides.

One rider, Chang Chi Lin, 28, a Manhattan programmer who had to transfer to a Long Island Rail Road train to visit friends in Flushing, said he had learned not to rely on the No. 7 train. ''The 7 train always has a lot of problems,'' he said.

Leonardo Viveros, 25, a construction courier, grew frustrated aboard the shuttle bus that was inching its way along Roosevelt Avenue. He was late for work in Long Island City. Mr. Viveros said he had no idea the No. 7 train was not running. ''No one gave me any brochure,'' he said.

Some travelers simply shrugged off the disruption. ''What are you going to do?'' said Ellen Dorsey of Long Island City as she boarded a shuttle bus.

Along parts of Roosevelt Avenue, empty trains still clattered overhead to reverse direction after emptying out at 61st Street, and the street was still thick with people. But it wasn't the same.

Mike Tayeh, the owner of Halmart, a discount store directly outside a shuttle bus stop on Roosevelt Avenue near 63rd Street, said he was frustrated that most people were in a rush to catch shuttle buses and had no time to shop. ''I didn't do half what I usually do on a Saturday morning,'' he said.

New York City Transit, the arm of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that operates the subways, has said the work on the line is part of a $76 million project. Besides the weekend suspensions, there will be no express service on the No. 7 train on weekdays until Feb. 29.
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 06:57 PM   #526
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Sticky subject in NYC subway: Some stations gummier than others
31 January 2008

NEW YORK (AP) - Some subway stations' concrete floors gum up efforts to keep them clean, transit officials are acknowledging as they consider standards for future floors.

While subway workers dutifully scrub discarded chewing gum off areas with porcelain or granite tiles, when it comes to concrete floors, "essentially, we leave it down," NYC Transit President Howard Roberts Jr. said Wednesday.

It's tougher to uproot gum from concrete than tile, agency spokesman Paul Fleuranges explained.

NYC Transit is spending six months studying what material to use in future in the subway system's 277 underground stations. Concrete is far cheaper to install -- $421,000 for a standard station, as against $1.7 million for granite tiles, officials said. But the agency also will compare cleaning and maintenance costs.

Either way, rider advocates want the gum conundrum resolved.

"It's not attractive, and you know where it came from ... from someone's mouth," said William Henderson, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee. The MTA is NYC Transit's parent agency.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 06:03 PM   #527
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New Operation to Put Heavily Armed Officers in Subways
2 February 2008
The New York Times

In the first counterterrorism strategy of its kind in the nation, roving teams of New York City police officers armed with automatic rifles and accompanied by bomb-sniffing dogs will patrol the city's subway system daily, beginning next month, officials said on Friday.

Under a tactical plan called Operation Torch, the officers will board trains and patrol platforms, focusing on sites like Pennsylvania Station, Herald Square, Columbus Circle, Rockefeller Center and Times Square in Manhattan, and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

Officials said the operation would begin in March.

Financing for the program will be funneled to the Police Department and will come from a pool of up to $30 million taken from $153.2 million in new federal transit grants to the state.

Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security, and Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced the grants at a news conference on Friday at Grand Central Terminal, where Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly outlined his plans to add a layer of security to the city's 24-hour transit system.

Mr. Kelly's plan to heighten security and monitor a subway system that carries nearly five million people a day along 656 miles of tracks reflects the city's continuing concerns about a possible attack.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, police patrols increased in the subways, particularly at the entrances to the 16 underwater tunnels. As terrorists have hit rail systems around the world, the police in New York have reacted with strategies tailored to thwart similar attacks.

For instance, after the bombings of three trains and a bus in London on July 7, 2005, police officials in New York took steps to protect the city's subways, including random inspections of train riders' backpacks and packages, a program that continues today.

''New York remains at the top of the terrorist target list, and mass transit remains a concern because it has been targeted many times around the world,'' Mr. Kelly said in a statement released by his chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne. ''There have been several thwarted plots against New York's subway system as well.''

Each team in the operation will comprise a bomb-sniffing dog and six officers: a dog handler and a sergeant and four officers from the Emergency Service Unit who will be outfitted in heavy, bullet-resistant vests and Kevlar helmets and will carry automatic weapons, either an M-4 rifle or an MP5 submachine gun.

The officers will work in shifts of 12 hours to provide as much coverage of the subway system as possible, Mr. Browne said.

Officers with high-powered rifles have patrolled sensitive sites above ground in New York, like the Empire State Building, and have guarded subway entrances after attacks in other cities, but have never made daily patrols. .

Michael A. L. Balboni, the state's deputy secretary for public safety, said that since May, National Guardsmen armed with automatic rifles have patrolled the platforms of the PATH train system in New York and in New Jersey.

Mr. Balboni said that having heavily armed city officers routinely patrol the subways was an important first step.

But more broadly, he said, linking security plans for the disparate rail systems in the metropolitan region was ''key in securing additional funding from the Department of Homeland Security.'' He said that Mr. Chertoff praised the state for collaborating across geographic regions, since transit systems in New Jersey and Connecticut would also be affected.

''Going forward, the New York metropolitan transit system is getting a $50 million increase over last year's funding for transit security,'' Mr. Balboni said. ''What we did was pull together eight agencies, three states and a multitude of police agencies to come up with regional funding priorities.''
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Old February 5th, 2008, 04:11 AM   #528
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This really angers me. I've ridden the subway my whole life and have never needed $50m worth of armed cops with rifles. This is ridiculous and completely unnecessary. How about spending $50m on integrating SmartLink from PATH or updating turnstiles/platforms/stations/MetroCard machines?
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Old February 5th, 2008, 04:24 AM   #529
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I'm loving the design, but the curved roof just looks stupid (I hear that there will be platform screen doors, if so I completely agree with their use). I still think that the Washington Metro has the best design of any American subway system.


I think the Washington Metro looks and feels like a huge bomb shelter, not unlike the Pyongyang Metro. It is hundreds of feet underground and and features meter-thick reinforced concrete walls and huge blast doors. Hmmm... I wonder what other uses the Washington Metro can be used for especially considering it was conceived at the height of the Cold War... I just find it totally creepy. NYC Subway is definitely a much happier, less grim design
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Old February 5th, 2008, 04:49 AM   #530
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I think the Washington Metro looks and feels like a huge bomb shelter, not unlike the Pyongyang Metro. It is hundreds of feet underground and and features meter-thick reinforced concrete walls and huge blast doors. Hmmm... I wonder what other uses the Washington Metro can be used for especially considering it was conceived at the height of the Cold War... I just find it totally creepy. NYC Subway is definitely a much happier, less grim design
The subway is in desperate need of repair. There are pipes and beams scattered along the platforms, with narrow and unsafe conditions. I'm used to it, but still, modernisation is necessary. The Washington Metro has such a futuristic design and little minutiae such as platform lights that really just give it an aura of modernity.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 05:22 AM   #531
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NYC Subway is definitely a much happier, less grim design
New York's system was probably built in the most practical and cheap way to quickly alleviate the congestion problem. I like the express/local idea, many stations, operates 24/7, trains are fairly modern aside from looking like aluminum coffins, but in terms of esthetics it is at best, repulsive. Doesn't work when it rains heavily, very narrow entrances-exits, which easily clog, trash and rats are everywhere. Elevated lines are a quintessence of ugliness.

Washington metro here is far superior but built under different conditions and in a different age.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 03:03 PM   #532
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The subway is in desperate need of repair. There are pipes and beams scattered along the platforms, with narrow and unsafe conditions. I'm used to it, but still, modernisation is necessary. The Washington Metro has such a futuristic design and little minutiae such as platform lights that really just give it an aura of modernity.
Washington Metro has such a militaristic design, reminiscent of Pyongyang's metro (without the palace design of course). I would not call it modern at all! Examples of subways with a very modern design would be Asian subways like Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, etc. Washington Metro is a very grim, depressing place because it resembles a huge underground bunker! I mean why does a metro need huge blast doors, 20 foot thick reinforced concrete walls, and 200 feet underground? NYC is built very cheap and practically, which is what makes it far superior to any subway system in the world (even Tokyo or London)
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Old February 10th, 2008, 04:38 PM   #533
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I wouldn't exactly call Tokyo or Seoul modern since parts of the modern day system have been operating for almost half a century already...

Interesting that Moscow, the then "enemy" of the Cold War, had far fewer stations that were designed as bunkers, and instead had more stations built for showcase...
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Old February 10th, 2008, 06:26 PM   #534
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Washington Metro has such a militaristic design, reminiscent of Pyongyang's metro (without the palace design of course). I would not call it modern at all! Examples of subways with a very modern design would be Asian subways like Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, etc. Washington Metro is a very grim, depressing place because it resembles a huge underground bunker! I mean why does a metro need huge blast doors, 20 foot thick reinforced concrete walls, and 200 feet underground? NYC is built very cheap and practically, which is what makes it far superior to any subway system in the world (even Tokyo or London)
Still, we don't care about NYC's subways construction feat and the conditions it was built in. We care about having a clean, modern-looking, fast and efficient subway system, which NYC is far from having.

For a better example of this, just look up north to Montreal. Or, see London's Underground, which has the same "background" essentially as NYC's.

Seriously, for one of the world's most important cities, NYC's subway doesn't reflect it. Why don't they take out like $20-25 billion and just modernize the whole thing, and put all the ugly, steel-friendly and Industrial-Revolution looking elevated lines UNDERGROUND.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 09:51 PM   #535
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Washington Metro has such a militaristic design, reminiscent of Pyongyang's metro (without the palace design of course). I would not call it modern at all! Examples of subways with a very modern design would be Asian subways like Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, etc. Washington Metro is a very grim, depressing place because it resembles a huge underground bunker! I mean why does a metro need huge blast doors, 20 foot thick reinforced concrete walls, and 200 feet underground? NYC is built very cheap and practically, which is what makes it far superior to any subway system in the world (even Tokyo or London)
Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo in fact most Asian metros are as dull as ditchwater in terms of architecture. Washington's is far superior in this case.

And practically? Really? Most of London's was built without having to rip up half the road.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 12:29 AM   #536
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I THINK IT REALLY ABOUT TIME THEY GOT THIS OFF THE GROUND I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THIS LINE BUILT AT LEAST IN ALL OF MANHATTAN IN MY LIFETIME ITS JUST ASHAME THIS FEAT COULD HAVE BEEN ACCOMPLISHED WELL OVER 20 YEARS AGO AND WE COULD BE USING THE CURRENT MONEY FOR MORE EXPANSION OPRTUNITIES LIKE SERVICE TO SE QUEENS AND WHAT HAVE YOU GREAT THREAD THO!!!!!!
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Old February 11th, 2008, 05:05 AM   #537
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Still, we don't care about NYC's subways construction feat and the conditions it was built in. We care about having a clean, modern-looking, fast and efficient subway system, which NYC is far from having.

For a better example of this, just look up north to Montreal. Or, see London's Underground, which has the same "background" essentially as NYC's.

Seriously, for one of the world's most important cities, NYC's subway doesn't reflect it. Why don't they take out like $20-25 billion and just modernize the whole thing, and put all the ugly, steel-friendly and Industrial-Revolution looking elevated lines UNDERGROUND.
The IRT Flushing Line cannot be placed underground; it's a heritage site. If they did, then the modernisation programme would be a waste and it would still have to be left there to detereorate.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 05:16 AM   #538
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I like the industrial revolution look...
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Old February 11th, 2008, 07:46 AM   #539
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run on sentence?
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Old February 11th, 2008, 11:15 AM   #540
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its currently being built and this time it will take advantage of new Metro technology to boot in the beginning
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