John Passmore is the Archives Manager at WNYC.
In this 1964 episode of Around New York, the inimitable Tony Schwartz presents an aural portrait of New York City’s subway.
After capturing sounds familiar and unfamiliar to 21st century riders (token turnstiles; the roaring of the cars pulling into the station; the drone of the train, in which “you can hear a beauty” when it is heard in isolation), Schwartz focuses on the riders themselves. The 1964 straphangers speak about their joys and frustrations, most of which will sound familiar to today’s riders.
For 30-plus years, Tony Schwartz produced WNYC programs that uncannily captured the diversity and vitality of the people that lived and worked in and around New York City.
Special thanks to the Library of Congress' Curator of Sound Recordings, Matthew Barton.