Riding the New York Subway: The Invention of the Modern Passenger

Riding the New York Subway: The Invention of the Modern Passenger

In his talk, Stefan Höhne shows that throughout the course of the twentieth century, New York City subway passengers struggled to navigate the system’s constraints while striving for individuality, or at least a smooth ride.

  • Learn how the NYC subway system shaped its passengers into heroes, patriots, barbarians, and vigilantes.
  • Discover how the NYC subway subway riders asserted their individuality over decades of imposing norms from authorities
  • Hear actual letters of complaint from subway passengers to the Transit Authority, picked from hundreds of actual correspondences
When the subway first opened with much fanfare on October 27, 1904, New York became a city of underground passengers almost overnight. In his award-winning book, now published with MIT Press, Stefan Höhne examines how the experiences of subway passengers in New York City were intertwined with cultural changes in urban mass society throughout the twentieth century. He argues that underground transportation—which early passengers found both exhilarating and distressing—changed perceptions, interactions, and the organization of everyday life.  In his talk, Höhne shows that throughout the course of the twentieth century, New York City subway passengers struggled to navigate the system’s constraints while striving for individuality, or at least a smooth ride.
About the event:

Presented in Partnership with 1014 – Space for Ideas>/p>

In New York City’s Upper East Side, 1014 creates a platform to explore global challenges and opportunities across the worlds of culture, ideas and society. 1014 opens the doors of a townhouse on Fifth Avenue opposite the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1014 strives to bring people together – offering opportunities to actively engage and share expertise. It enables collaborations and provides a space for ideas, forging individual and institutional partnerships. Events are open to the public and free of charge.Planning has started to renovate the townhouse and the different concepts will be publicly presented during a festival and exhibition in October 2021.

About The Presenters:

Stefan Höhne is a cultural historian of urbanization and technology at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut (KWI) Essen, Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI), Germany. His work is distinctive for connecting historical studies of urban culture and infrastructure with debates on sociotechnical inclusion and accessibility.

Benjamin Bergner:  Graduate of TU Berlin’s Historical Urbanism (M.A.) program, Benjamin is passionate about arts, urbanism and in particular the relationships between the two, e.g. residency programs, public culture or memorials. He has been working as a cultural manager and administrator, currently as program officer at the new transatlantic project space “1014” in New York City. Over the years, his work has also focused on media and public relations.

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