Incredible Photos of the New York City Subway During the 1980s

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Steven Siegel has been photographing the streets and subways of New York City for 30 years, and his Flickr album is a time capsule of a grittier, feral city — before Times Square was scrubbed clean and 9/11 changed the metropolis forever. In honor of the first subway opening today back in 1904, we’ve shared a collection of Siegel’s remarkable photos that capture the underground world bustling with graffiti-covered trains. Several of the images were taken in a junkyard where the metal behemoths were waiting to be demolished. Siegel and friends created several dreamlike scenarios (in a pre-Photoshop era) with clever angles, poses, and accidental exposures. Many of these areas would be off-limits to the public now thanks to tightened security measures, but those were different times. Take a closer look in our gallery. Visit Siegel’s Flickr page for a trip back to New York in the 1980s.

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel