The New York City subway has long epitomized the grit and grottiness of the Big Apple.
But with a new wave of unprovoked crime on trains that culminated in the fourth subway murder of the year on Sunday, the dank trains and stations that were once a punch line are frightening and outraging the city’s taxpayers.
While New Yorkers grin and bear their daily commutes, hoping not to be accosted, beaten or shot, city hall and the MTA opted last week not to act on the violence but instead to unveil a ‘stunning’ new set of concrete stairs at Times Square station which cost a dizzying $30million – $1million per unremarkable step.
It is a desperate scenario that is thrust into context today by the gleaming new jewel in London‘s underground system – the Elizabeth Line.
Londoners rushed onto the new trains today with gusto and were photographed in sparklingly clean stations. There were ample armed police to protect them and the politicians who visited to celebrate the occasion.
It all leaves a sour taste in the mouths of New Yorkers, who pay a premium to live in the city.
London’s new Elizabeth Line was unveiled on Tuesday, giving Londoners brand new, clean trains on a safe and pleasant tube network
Signage and an empty concourse are pictured at Liverpool Street, one of London’s busiest, ahead of the opening of the Elizabeth Line
Commuters walk through Liverpool Street on Tuesday May 24th after taking the first Elizabeth Line trains
Meanwhile in New York City, straphangers wait on the dank subway platform at Grand Central Station on Tuesday morning preparing to board trains
A straphanger gets ready to disembark the uptown 6 train on Tuesday morning while a homeless man sleeps on four seats at rush hour
Trash on the tracks of the Grand Central station before an uptown 6 train in New York City on Tuesday morning
The tracks at Grand Central on Tuesday morning after straphangers tossed their trash
The subway in New York City is, admittedly cheaper than in London; $2.75 will take passengers anywhere in the five boroughs, whereas London’s fares can cost as much as £9.40 ($11) for a single journey between Zones 1 and Zones 9.
New Yorkers however pay upwards of 3 percent in NYC income tax – on top of federal and state income tax too.
Mayor Eric Adams vowed a crackdown on crime when he took office in January but so far, he has failed to gain control of the situation.
Transit Bureau Chief Jason Wilcox told the MTA board on Monday that a designated ‘train force’ of cops will be introduced to trains.
‘In May we have created a new Train Patrol Force, or TPF, that will perform dedicated, targeted, and visible train patrols on the late evening and overnight hours.
A typical staircase inside Canal Street station on Tuesday morning
Canal Street subway station on Tuesday morning, two days after a man was shot dead on the Q train as it approached Manhattan
Cops on the subway on Tuesday morning. There has been an increase in the last six months but not enough to stave off a wave of violent crimes
A person lies on the ground at the 161 Street station in the Bronx. The pandemic drove many homeless people out of shelters and into the city’s streets and subway stations
‘The TPF is not a new concept, it was a type of transit patrol done in years past, notably, by our mayor when he was a transit cop,’ he said, according to AM New York.
‘It was an idea that we felt we needed to return to,’ he added.
The TPF existed in New York City in the 1990s but was disbanded in 1995 when it folded in to the NYPD.
NYC Mayor Eric Adams at the Balenciaga show on Saturday. He is yet to crackdown on subway crime
On Sunday, Daniel Enriquez, a 48-year-old Goldman Sachs worker, was shot dead at close range while riding the Q train at 11.42am.
It was an unprovoked attack and the killer, believed to be Andrew Abdullah, remains at large; when the subway pulled into Canal St station, Abdullah fled.
He is believed to have handed his gun off to a homeless person, but he remains at large in the city.
Abdullah was out on bond at the time of the shooting on Sunday.
According to court records obtained by the New York Times, Abdullah is a known gang member – who goes by the name ‘Ace.’
It is the second time in as many months that a gunman has opened fire on the subway and been able to evade police.
On April 12, Frank James opened fire on a busy, Manhattan-bound N train.
He injured ten people, causing rush hour chaos before somehow managing to escape the train station unnoticed.
He caught the train the next day, riding back into the city from Brooklyn, then was arrested in the street after a member of the public recognized him and flagged down officers who were nearby.
Abdullah, the alleged shooter in this Sunday’s attack, has 19 prior arrests, according to reports by The New York Post.
On Monday, Mayor Eric Adams vowed to add high-tech machines that will be able to detect guns whenever people enter subway stations.
He has not yet indicated how they will work or where and when they will be introduced.
Curtis Sliwa and Replubican Senate candidate Joe Pinion visits the Canal Street subway to hold a press conference about the dangerous subway
Andrew Abdullah is wanted for the shooting of Daniel Enriquez on the Q train on Sunday. He opened fire on Enriquez in the train then fled as it pulled into Canal Street. He remains at large in the city
On April 12, Frank James opened fire on another subway car, injuring ten people. He evaded police for two days before being stopped in the street after a member of the public recognized him
On May 18, MTA officials revealed they had spent $30million on a new set of stairs at the Times Square station – an expense that outraged New Yorkers who are waiting for the actual trains to be cleaned up and made more safe with police
$1million per concrete step: That is the cost of the new stairs at the Times Square station
He said at a press conference that it was ‘every New Yorker’s worst nightmare’ to be killed as Enriquez was.
‘It is their worst nightmare. I use the subway a lot. I’m in the system a lot and it’s unimaginable.’
‘You’re sitting down, going to brunch, going to visit a family member, a person walks up to you and shoots you for no reason.
‘Not a dispute — which is horrific to do it when [there is] a dispute — but that is the worst nightmare,’ he said.
Adams said it was ‘his responsibility’ to find the killer and attempted to drown out critics as ‘well-oiled Twitter users’.
Adams is said to be eyeing a presidential term barely six months into his job as mayor.
At the weekend, he attended the Balenciaga fashion show at the NYSE and he is a regular on the city’s nightlife circuit.
Crime in NYC is soaring in almost every category, including transit assaults which are up by 53 percent