8. The Second Avenue Subway Uses Pumps, not Grates

Second Avenue Subway_NYC_2017__Untapped Cities_Bhushan Mondkar

For the 113 years of the subway system’s operation grates (and faux townhouses) have been the ventilation method of choice–hence the miles of metal sidewalk grates have become a mundane, ubiquitous part of New York City streets (though it wasn’t quite as mundane in the memorable Marilyn Monroe scene with her dress billowing around her waist!). However, these familiar pieces of city streetscape do not exist along the Second Avenue Line.

The new Second Avenue stations employ mechanical ventilation towers to pump air-conditioned air in and out of the station. Gone are the whiffs of warm air in the winter months; the whooshing sound of the trains, prompting you to either hasten or to mutter an expletive at having missed your train. Though on a brighter note, gone are the fear of people walking in high-heels; the instilled wariness when you pull out your keys above a subway grate. Besides, doesn’t air-conditioned stations sound absolutely splendid? We sure think so!