Housing Complex

The Difference Between New York and Washington

Is that while Washingtonians use their subway system, New Yorkers love their subway system. Case in point: The Saturday New York Times' special section on the New York Subway. Would the Washington Post ever run such a pullout on the Metro? Don't answer that.

The whole package is worth a skim for any train lover or New York expat, but the artistic reconceptions are particularly wonderful, the audio visual package on subway preachers lets you meet the people you never really want to stop and listen to, and this profile should reassure the next Metro general manager that while his or her job might be hard, Jay Walder's is probably worse.

  • Michael Schaffer

    I actually always thought the difference between New Yorkers and Washingtonians with regard to the subway was that New Yorkers complained about the subway and Washingtonians had this Palookaville-esque boostery pride in theirs. As such, the fact that we now spend so much more time kvetching about the system's signs of aging may actually be a sign of municipal cultural health--we're not so easily wowed anymore. That's not to disagree with your basic theory of use v. love, just to say that one way we love things is to complain bitterly when they let us down.

  • What?

    When I lived in New York, I never heard a single person talk about the subway system who was not complaining about it. Talk to residents of Queens with hour-long commutes on stifling hot trains about how much the love the subway system.

    Basically, all of the problems of the DC Metro exist in the NY subway, only magnified. You want trains out of service? Complete lines shut down for track work? Filthy stations? Rude staff? You can have it all in NY!

    Of course, the NY system has no broken escalators, since there are basically no escalators. And very few broken elevators since there are only a handful of stations with elevators (use a wheelchair? try your luck with the city's cartel of disabled transportation providers). But how about cracked steps covered in an inch of solid ice without a bag of salt to be found? Or the dreaded "iron maiden" steel gates that make entering the system akin to visiting a prison and require a certain deft timing after swiping your card?

  • Lydia DePillis

    Right, I mean, maybe the word is less "love" than it is "feel passionately about," while Washingtonians simply tolerate.

  • Rick Mangus

    Let's see the difference with the New York subway and D.C.'s METRO. New York's is over 100 years old, hardly breaks down, no accidents and runs in the winter, can METRO say that, NO!