Life | Retro | 80s | 70s

Eerie Photos Of NYC Subway From 70's & 80's Shed New Light On City


We all know the infamous reputation of the Big Apple. A bustling hive of scum and machinery where danger lurks around every street corner, and the subway system is the proverbial dungeon of the city. While in actuality NYC isn't as bad as movies and rumors have made it out to be, it was the crime waves of the 70's and 80's that instilled fear into the hearts of tourists and locals alike.

Willy Spiller is a Swiss photographer that traveled around the labyrinth that is the New York underground for seven years, taking photographs of the daily interactions of commuters and their transportation system. It has now been reproduced into a photobook called Hell On Wheels, that captures the changes that have taken place over the past few decades.

In a place where crime and murder occurred every week, Spiller explored the human experience in a fascinating way.

Take a look at his work and see if his work holds up the legend of the world's most iconic city.

A group of students hanging out in a graffiti-littered carriage speaks to a loss of innocence.

The movement of people and trains captured in a single image, begging the question of where did they all come from.

Perhaps more importantly, where were they all headed?

Today we carry mobile devices with headsets in our pockets, but for individuals who wanted to bring their music with them it was a much more open affair.

With thousands of serious crimes a month, the late 70's were a dangerous time for everyone. To combat this surge in violence there were over 2000 police officers patrolling the subways every single day.

In a moment of calm, passengers were allowed to breathe and exist peacefully alongside of each other. While taking public transit was risky, it also allowed people to understand one another better as fellow citizens.

What do you see in these photographs? Tell us what you think!