The Subway’s the Star in BAM’s Transporting Retro

The people ride in a hole in the ground,” sing the three horny, hopped-up sailors as they ecstatically catalog the city’s many marvels in “New York, New York,” the opening number of Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s On the Town (1949).

That hole, now 110 years old, receives a more expansive, warts-and-all tribute in BAMcinématek’s “Retro Metro” series, a program of 13 features and three shorts that highlight the joys and terrors of subterranean travel. Spanning 1928 through 1992, these movies reveal wildly vacillating feelings about the sprawling transit system — what Randy Kennedy calls “an object of pride and fascination, fear and loathing” in the introduction to his excellent 2004 book, Subwayland, a collection of his New York Times columns recounting his adventures underground. - Melissa Anderson.

Family love

Family love


Real love


Real love

I ❤️ NYC 
 (at my home)

I ❤️ NYC
(at my home)


Poetry Written in Motion By Colin Stokes

Since 1992, when it first displayed an excerpt from Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” MTA’s Poetry in Motion program has brought more than 200 poems or excerpts before the eyes of millions of subway riders and rail commuters, offering each a moment of timelessness in the busy day.

Subway Crunching

There is a man
his chest muscles
in repeated jolts
for the entire journey.
I guess it’s an effective workout,
because his pectorals are enormous.
Maybe I’ll try it.

Sudoku Haiku

A guy and a girl
sit next to each other.
They’re not together

but the guy gives her
advice on her sudoku.
She does not respond.

It’s a numbers game.


The train driver
said that
you can change
for the first three
letters of the alphabet.
That was pretty
Seemed like a nice guy.
But then he closed the door
on my foot.

Given the Finger

Riders, when they start the daily commute,
should do all they can to avoid one brute,

Whose actions to me were very uncouth:
he pushed his finger right into my mouth,

And left me wondering what fault was mine,
when I realized that I was under a sign.

It bore large print and loudly suggested
that all riders should ride unmolested.

Such sign-flaunters should be escaped posthaste,
lest you, too, sample their unpleasant taste.

Self Reflection

A man walks down the subway car
holding a full length mirror.
Showing all the people

who are sitting down
what they look like.
An art project?

Or is he showing me
that I’m looking
a bit too dishevelled
to be going to work?

Crosstown Acrostic

The student sitting in front of me on the M79 bus
Responds to an e-mail from
A professor
Including unnecessary personal details and
Numerous spelling errors.

I have a
Strong impulse to

Broach the topic and
That her professor doesn’t want
To know about her roommate’s breakup
Especially when it’s
“Ritten from your iPhone.”


“I love Instagram.”
“Shall I take a selfie of you?”
“ ‘Twilight’ is, like, the modern ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ ”

The Surprise Express

Welcome to New York!
The tourists’ faces
as they realize
they are on the express
A train,
which does not stop between
Fifty-ninth Street
125th Street.

To be fair,
subway announcements
are incomprehensible
even to English speakers.
Also, Harlem is a great place—
you’d do well to get out of midtown.