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The Warriors-NYC-Untapped Cities-BAM-Retro Metro-BrooklynThe Warriors (Film Still via The Symmetric)

Stepping into a train car in New York City can do more than just get you to your destination, it can serve as a way for you to see how the identity of the city is transforming before your very eyes. We all know that NYC has been the inspiration for many great works of cinema and through these snapshots in time, we are able to see how the city has evolved. From street cars to graffiti canvases, the NYC subway has a long history, one that has been captured on film for many decades.

From September 26th to October 5th, you can personally see how the NYC subway system has evolved by checking out the newest film series by BAM titled Retro Metro. 16 films, each showcasing a different era of the NYC subway will be shown. The line up includes cult films from the 70′s like The Warriors and the The Taking of Pelham 123. As well as films like Style Wars, Wild Style and Beat Street; tributes to the graffiti and street art culture that began in the 80s.  (more…)

The New York City subway carries many secrets, like any extensive system that was built over time. But the NYC subway also comes with it quite a bit of lore–from its urban explorers who have explored every nook of its vastness, the technological feat it was to build in some of the toughest Manhattan schist, and its evolution from high-class experiment to mass ridership.

No list of subway secrets can be complete, so we see this article as an evolving entity. We’ve started with our favorite secrets but encourage you all to comment and Tweet at us (@untappedcities) with other hidden gems. Special thanks to Matt Litwack, author of Beneath the Streets: The Hidden Relics of New York’s Subway System for contributing his finds to this piece.

1. The Many Abandoned Levels and Platforms of the NYC Subway System

Disused platform and subway entrance at Chamber Street

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Basketball players in front of Daniel Hauben's "Under the El," installed by the MTA on Freeman Street in 2005

Basketball players in front of Daniel Hauben’s “Under the El,” installed by the MTA on Freeman Street in 2005

When we headed up to Freeman Street in the Bronx to see the new Seis del Sur photo exhibit, Sin Límites, we were certainly surprised. This once discouraged-looking elevated stop is hopping with cultural draws. As you get off the train you’ll see elegant panels of colored faceted glass illustrating different subway scenes. Called “The El,” the six panels were created by artist Daniel Hauben, once dubbed the “Bruegel of the Bronx” by the New York Times, who was commissioned by the MTA’s Arts for Transit project in 2005.

Given that the original Seis del Sur exhibit, Dispatches from Home, documented some of the most dramatic and disturbing graffiti in the history of New York, visitors might be justifiably surprised to see the pristine condition of these public art works. Yet pristine they are—not a cracked piece of glass or ugly vandalism as far as the eye can see.

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Bar Subway Map-Thrillist-NYCImage via Thrillist

You may remember the map that called out the best coffee shops near each subway station in ManhattanQueens and Brooklyn. Well, Thrillist has just done the same thing but for bars! With this creative take on the traditional subway map, it’s easy to find any local drinking hole near subway stations around Manhattan . Broken down further by subway line for clear viewing, here are their callouts:

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2561659236_ed7b2030c6_zSource: Flickr.com by h008

Relied on by everyone and utilized on a daily basis, transit systems form the critical backbone for urban life. One would assume that most networks feature user friendly interfaces and streamlined routing, though this isn’t always the case. Below, we try to clarify some of the colloquial nuances of the world’s most well-known networks. Just remember: Subways are like Band-Aids.

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Subway-Tile-Collage-Untapped-CitiesSubway tiles. Photos via NYC CityStore

 We all have that one friend who’s nuts for public transport. Why don’t you show them some love? We curated a list of the greatest transit gifts the internet has to offer. Enjoy!

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