From Rachel Lebowitz’s article “The New York Subway in More Than 50 Years of Art” for Artsy:
New York’s subway system first opened over a century ago, in 1904, and is now inseparable from the city in the public consciousness. Those who experience it—from locals commuting to work to out-of-towners making the pilgrimage to Times Square—are likely to encounter numerous characters along their routes. It’s a stage for endless human drama, but it’s also a character unto itself, with plenty of kinks and quirks. Throughout its history, the subway has inspired a wide range of artists, who have paid tribute to it in photographs that record couples wrapped around each other during the early hours of the subway’s nocturnal run, or paintings that evoke the profound alienation of urban life as symbolized by this transient, subterranean realm.