How to Brooklyn (Guide for Cap Writers) pt 2, or
For the lov’a Pete, Include the Subway In Your Stories
Okay, so real talk. One of the biggest signs that, for me, an author has actually lived in or been to New York or properly done their research is whether or not they include the subway in their story. A story set in New York City that doesn’t even reference the subway might as well be set in middle America. I’m not saying you have to shoehorn it in if your fic is, idk, a PWP where they never leave Steve’s apartment, but seriously, you can’t underestimate how much the subway impacts our lives here.
Plus, narratively, it’s a great cheat: there are few things more iconic than the New York subway system. We’re intimately familiar with the feel of the subway from popular culture; it instantly sets your scene as being in New York; and you’ve got a great vehicle (pun intended) to literally and metaphorically move your scene and characters forward.
I won’t be coy here: the New York subway system is gross. It smells weird all the time. We started building tunnels in 1900 (experimental elevated lines first arrived in Manhattan in the 1860s and were expanded to Brooklyn in the 1880s. They were pulled by tiny steam engines! How adorable, except that elevated lines were purposefully built because so many people were killed by street trolleys back in the day)