Here's What The NYC Subway Looked Like In 1986

Nyc subwayYouTube ScreenshotOver 250 felonies were reported weekly in the subway system.

Many New Yorkers who lived through the ’70s and ’80s in the city would rather not relive the “bad old days” of record crime and a subway system suffering from disrepair.

But it’s also important not to forget.

Artifacts like this video of the New York City Subway shot in 1986, remind us of the dirt, neglect, and graffiti that pervaded the system. 

Screen Shot 2015 01 16 at 11.13.53 AMYouTube ScreenshotDirt, neglect, and graffiti pervaded the subway system.

Unseen in the video, but still prevalent in the system, was crime. It skyrocketed during the ’70s and ’80s. According to Gothamist, over 250 felonies were reported weekly in the system.

These crime stats correlate with the ridership statistics, which also took a nosedive during the two decades. From 1977 through 1986, 327 million people swore off the subway.

Efforts made toward the end of the 1980s combating the “broken window effect” substantially improved the system. Trains found with graffiti are immediately taken out of service and ridership has substantially improved, hitting all-time highs last year.

Today, the stations are still pretty dirty, but at least the trains are clean:

Subway operatorMario Tama/Getty ImagesTrains found with graffiti are immediately taken out of service.

Check out the the full video below.



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