Main | Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Londoner On The New York Subway

"The city’s subway map is dense and needlessly complex. Where in London the Central line (red) is distinct from the Piccadilly (dark blue), which is markedly different from the Hammersmith and City line (pink), New York’s map has designated the same forest green to the 4, the 5 and the 6 lines. The B, D, F and M all rejoice in exactly the same shade of violent orange. And I’m almost entirely certain that the blue of the A, C, and E lines is the last thing you see before death’s sweet embrace. Why would you do this? The whole thing resembles a child’s approximation of a city transit system: it makes no sense. [snip] The signs – a mess of fonts and colours – lack the sweet primness of London Underground’s Johnston font. The inconsistency is startling. The stations are filthy, with peeling paintwork and pockets of such urine-stench that my eyes water, like a rheumy dog’s. The air-conditioning makes the trains a movable icy tundra, furnished with hard, uncomfortable seats. The MTA has forced me to become one of those Brits abroad – the kind that sighs and, with a condescending chuckle, compares everything with 'back home.' This is not the New York of my dreams. This is The Hunger Games." - Bim Adewunmi, writing for the Guardian.

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