New York subway stations, active and abandoned, are endlessly fascinating. They produce a unique cultural enclave that define New York as a whole. At Untapped Cities, we’ve tried to dissect various aspects of the subway to understand “what it all means.” We’ve asked questions like, “why are the bathrooms in the subway locked?” or “how did the subway lines get their colors?” But, perhaps, the key to unlocking “the truth” behind what makes subway stations such an enigmatic part of New York’s identity isn’t by looking at them through a micro lens, but through a macro lens, as the recent filmmakers from Snowday recently did in their video Stations: A Quick Scan Through NYC.
The film was directed by Roddy Hyduk, who currently resides in Michigan but lived in New York for a period after graduating from college. As reported by Fast Co. Design, he said he was interesting in capturing the simultaneous ongoings of the entire system. His intent was to reveal the “unique texture of New York in a new and compelling way” through the “sum of all the stations.” His team shot over a 10 day period, and covered 120 stations in all five boroughs.
Though scripted in parts, Station provides a glimpse into every day New York life. We see a lot of people in a hurry, people performing, people figuring out where to go, people chatting, people dancing, people bored, people drinking, people heading to the beach and, of course, rats. At Broadway Lafayette we hear jazz; at 47-50 Streets, acoustic guitar; at 42nd Street Port Authority, 60s rock; at Lorimer Street, traditional Chinese erhu music; at Times Square, “Stand By Me”; and W. 4th Washington Square, reggae, demonstrating the city’s truly amazing diversity.
Next, see what it would’ve been like to ride the subway in the 80s in this video and discover 20 abandoned subway stations, levels and platforms.