It’s ‘Showtime’ Again on the New York Subway

May 21, 2021 · 36 comments
Uilleam Uallas (Scotland)
NYC is far from back. Globalization destroyed NYC.
fodriscoll (Greenwich Village, NYC)
This feel-good story is nice but does not change the fact that the subway has become a dangerous place once again. It's rare to travel in the subway away from the core areas of Manhattan without encountering someone shooting up, defecating, wandering naked, or riding between the subway cars. And as another commenter pointed out, the few police in the system confine themselves to the subway entrances when the real action is on the platforms and trains. The result is that women are no longer traveling on the subway unaccompanied by a male in the evenings - just look around the trains in the evenings. Is this really the way we want our city to be?
I'd like to see strict enforcement of laws. It is illegal to perform in the trains. Thanks to no rules NYC, we now live in a welfare cesspool of place rife with violent crime. Business people, the ones who pay taxes and keep it all running, are leaving. We are left broke watching people dance, sing and intimidate people into giving them money.
Bill R (Crown Heights)
New York City is back, baby!
Rob Ni (Zurich)
Never trust a church girl ;). Gotta love those New Yorkers.
John Boelke (South Grafton)
Why is the skinny guy, receiving a hug not, hugging back? Did he forget how to interact with a woman?
Lisa (NYC)
Great photos. (And for the haters out there, I happen to love the 'showtime' guys! I've never witnessed any passengers getting hurt...and most passengers know to Stand Back. Sure, some of the showtimers aren't all that great, but the good ones can be amazingly good. I mean...doing mid-air flips, in a subway car that has vertical poles, and while it's in motion?? I always like to support these young's their way to make some honest keeps them in shape...they've got some great skills...and I typically love the music...) The NYC subway has it's own takes all the various NYCers from the streets above, from all boroughs, and puts them all in a high-speed blender. I love seeing a 'proper' older white lady from the UES, sitting next to an Orthodox Jew all in black, who's sitting next to a blinged-out black male from Harlem, who's next to a hipster white guy from Ridgewood. You never know what you'll see on the subway... a couple having a fight...a person schlepping a flat-screen TV or a tree plant, home.... a single mother struggling with her two kids and bags of purchases... Westchester white guys in their suits and ties getting off at Penn Station for their trains home...tourists who are in need of help getting somewhere, and who will receive At Least three different sets of suggested subway itineraries, from always-wanting-to-help NYCers, on the train. Etc.
B. (Brooklyn)
I hate very few people, certainly not total strangers on a train. But I do not like the showtime guys. Their music is way too loud, their feet come way too close to my face, and I am their captive audience. For that long stretch on the Manhattan Bridge, I cannot read my book or think my own thoughts, Lower the music, if nothing else. At least the noise of the train is the noise of people going to work and going home, or even of people going to and from entertainment of their own choosing. I repeat, of their own choosing. It's a productive sound. Showtime, not so much.
peggy (salem)
well done! thank you!
berman (Orlando)
I get uncomfortable just looking at the photo of pole dancer. All that breath and sweat in your face. Notice most riders are averting their gaze. What are the chances that dude has been vaccinated?
Abryannah James (New York)
Counting down the days til I move out and can be on the subway with my girlfriend again (pictured n this article which im literally gonna print and frame?? please we've been freaking out about this for so long, shoutout to the photographer for shooting her, you're swag <3)
Val Challah (Massachusetts)
These photos are amazing, they really capture the people in this moment in the city’s history. I love the styles too! I miss the city and this reminded me why.
Fread (Ohio)
Love NYC! Would have lived to visit this summer. Maybe I might be able to visit this summer. Hopefully I’ll visit next summer! It’s my home away from home. I have some of my happiest memories there.
GMG (New York, NY)
While I am delighted to see signs of life returning to the city, it is nothing less than irresponsible journalism to promote Showtime" as a positive that we subway riders should be grateful for. These selfish, dangerous and inconsiderate performers who "float through the car" are the chief reason I dread going back to necessary public transit. The number of times I have been trapped in a car, subjected to deafening blasts from a boom box and threatened with physical harm from a foot, an elbow, or a tripped-up acrobat is far too many. This is exactly the kind of anti-social behavior that has many New Yorkers feeling like it is time for a real, meaningful change in the direction of the city.
Lisa (NYC)
@GMG I hear Singapore is a nice place for those looking for such a 'quality of life'.
coasty (NYC)
@GMG Oh, lighten up. As someone who grew up in New York, yes it's annoying, yes everyone rolls their eyes. But this is New York City. Vibrant life is sometimes - oftentimes - obnoxious. These kids are just trying to make some money. "Real meaningful change" has nothing to do with subway performers. Get a grip.
B. (Brooklyn)
Yeah, I grew up here too. The showtime guys are nothing most of the people who actually work for a living and like a modicum of peace on their commute home want to hear or see.
Harley Leiber (Portland OR)
I was amazed last year when NYC went through it's first spike or surge of Covid-19. It struck with such surprise and force. It seemed like the city would be wiped out. The pictures of ambulances, exhausted doctors and nurses, hearses and caskets were simply daunting. I wondered how a city the size and density and diversity of NYC, with it's millions of moving parts, could come together and slow the spread of Covid. But, they did. Not without great cost but NYC did it. So, it's nice to see the pictures of people on the subway, returning to their old routines, feeling a little less anxiety...It's just a miracle.
SE (Calgary)
Thank you NEW YORK for being leaders and showing the rest of us a way forward!
Val Challah (Massachusetts)
I was in a meeting with a colleague in Toronto, which is still in lockdown, today; he specifically mentioned how exciting it was to see NYC opening, and to see Canadian journalists unmasked covering it on location. Hope on the horizon.
lydgate (Virginia)
I see a lot of maskless people in these photographs. I thought that masks were still required on public transit.
JS (Minnesota)
Thank you for making it plain; if you live in NYC and don't ride the Subway, you don't live in NYC.
Japanese American (NYC)
It would be great to see and hear Black and Asian performers collaborating together underground.
Fran Gardner (Portland, OR)
Meh. I’d like to live in NYC, ride the subway, but can’t cause I’m disabied. At least in Portland, all the light rail and buses can accommodate walkers and wheelchairs. Still, the gorgeous photos are catnip for my Brooklyn-raised husband.
Thomas (New York)
@Fran Gardner More and more subway stations are being made accessible, and I think most, if not all, buses can accommodate chairs. Check out for maps that show which stations have elevators now.
Nunya (Earth)
The countdown clock for irreparable climate destruction continues to tick. People need to stay in lock down to refrain from using fossil fuels. Walking around is okay, though.
Claire (brooklyn)
What an odd and irrelevant comment to an article about the use of public transportation
janellem8 (nyc)
As usual, the photography is terrific. Great shots captured. Thank you
Iris D (New York City)
If only we could get the police protection that's needed. The 14th Street station has a police station at the station! Why isn't there a police presence on that platform, on most platforms? What I see every day are clusters of officers upstairs by the turnstiles. Is anyone thinking what I'm thinking, is the lack of a police presence intentional?
Twinkles (NYC)
Yes, officers standing in clusters, often looking down at their phones. They are perhaps there to discourage turnstile jumpers, but that concern isn’t shared by most New Yorkers...
@Iris D The Union Sq. 14th St Station Hub has a Police Station in it and last week there were two stabbings there! So go figure.
D-Rex (NYC)
Love it, or hate it, the Subway is what allowed NYC to become the massive city that it is, allowing for a high population density that otherwise would have been choked out by bogged-down surface traffic. I love the Subway! And as the article says, it is a microcosm of the city, all walks of life interacting and moving through space and time. Three cheers for the MTA workers! Long live the Subway, long live New York!
Ophelia (NYC)
I am thrilled that the city is starting to feel normal again, and I really do miss the good, the bad, and the ugly of the subway. But I couldn't help but notice the people not wearing masks in these pictures, and that they all appear to belong to a demographic group with significantly lower vaccination rates. Who knows, maybe those individuals themselves are all vaccinated, which would be great. But it's still a bit unnerving, if I'm honest.
@Ophelia I agree, but in at least a few of the shots, they're holding their masks - I wonder if people took them off for the photos, at least in some cases?
Nick (New York)
@Ophelia I'm sure they only removed their masks because they were being photographed...
Harlem Lefty (Harlem)
It’s most likely the photographer asked them to pose for the photos without masks. One couple has them in their hands, one person under his chin, and most people in the photos are masked.
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