Listen, the '80s were a wild time. I should know ”” I lived through them. (Yes, I am that old.) Reaganomics, the invention of MTV, the fear of nuclear war, the popularity of Drakkar Noir; a lot went down in that decade.
And nowhere did it go down more than the subways of New York City. They were nothing like they are today. To put it mildly, the New York Transit System in the 1980s was bats**t crazy. Here are the photos to prove it.
This guy is either right in the middle of getting busted for graffiti or he already got busted and is making amends by cleaning it up. I can't really tell. For the sake of this piece, let's say he's getting busted.
The Guardian Angels were a volunteer citizen group formed in the late '70s/early '80s (and still around today) to combat a crime-ridden New York City due to a scarcity of police. They typically patrolled the subways (without weapons) to help stop crimes when they occurred.
When I was a kid, I really wanted to be a Guardian Angel, not because I wanted to stop crime, but because I thought their berets were really cool.
Breaking was big in the '80s, and breaking on subways was even bigger. I know this because I have watched Beat Street 9,672 times and it tells me that dance battles in subways were the only way to settle beefs in the street.
They were heavy AF and used about 20 D batteries that lasted for about two and a half weeks, but boomboxes were the greatest thing ever. Sure, it made riding the subway an auditory nightmare, but, considering how loud people listen to their iPods these days, it's basically the same nightmare thirty years later.
When the King of Pop filmed his video for "Bad," he did so at a subway station in Brooklyn. I guess MJ was looking for a true sense of realism to help tell his story of a kid from the streets who comes home from boarding school only to miraculously change into a leather jumpsuit and then perform a spontaneously choreographed dance routine with a bunch of dancers who just magically appear.
Though these days the NYC subways are much safer and cleaner, they are still as crowded as a cattle car on a train headed from North Dakota to Chicago. But hey, in these times of uncertainty, it's good to be in close proximity to your fellow man or woman, right?