old new york subway

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New York used to be a different town than it is today. People use terms like “Old New York,” and “The Bad Old Days” to talk about the 70s and 80s. In fact, the crime wave that is associated with New York City lasted well through the late 1990s.

For example, in 1977 there were 1,919 murders in New York. By 1991 that number reached an all-time high of 2,571. The murder rate didn’t dip below 1,000 until 1998. To put it in perspective, from 2000-2010, it has been hanging around 800.

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Louis Biedermann illustration published in The World, 1904, of the brand-new underground New York City subway. The City Hall station is shown as a glorious, colorful, brightly lit cavern under the streets—a beautiful vision of skylights and tiled arches along the curve of the track and platform. The amethyst glass skylights were covered over with tar during World War II, and the station was then abandoned in favor of the Brooklyn Bridge station, closed to public service on the last day of 1945. 

The reviews for ‘Fantastic Beasts’ are in and they’re mostly positive:

Peter Debruge, Variety:

The first in an ambitious five-film pentaptych, whose first two installments are being handled by David Yates (the director responsible for the four ultra-bleak blockbusters that wrapped the “Potter” franchise), “Fantastic Beasts” does double-duty as yet another imagination-tickling fantasy adventure and a deeply troubled commentary on tolerance, fear, and bigotry in the world today.

Cath Clark, Time Out:

Redmayne radiates a wet-eyed warm glow as stumbling, bashful Newt – an English wizard in New York. He’s perfect for Rowling’s world, where a kind heart is the most potent magical power of all.

Eric Kohn, Indiewire:

But the real star of “Fantastic Beasts” is its heavily stylized, period-specific setting. From a seedy jazz club filled with outrageous beings to an explosive showdown in Manhattan’s old City Hall subway station, the movie captures a New York that’s at once nostalgic and otherworldly.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian:

“Fantastic Beasts” is a rich, baroque, intricately detailed entertainment with some breathtaking digital fabrications of prewar New York City. This is Steampunk 2.0, taking its inspirations from Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil” or Howard Hawks’s “His Girl Friday” but the New York [Rowling] creates also has the dark, traumatized look of Gotham City.

But not everyone was on board. Entertainment Weekly wasn’t feeling a couple of characters in particular.

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Before he went down in history as one of the greatest film directors of all time, 17-year-old Stanley Kubrick was known for something else – New York City subway photography. Over two weeks in 1946, Kubrick worked for LOOK magazine to capture the everyday lives and intimate moments of the people of a bygone era.

While working for LOOK, Kubrick completed 129 assignments for a total of 15,000 photos. His photos captured the mundane and everyday side of an era often heavily romanticized in the U.S., giving us a closer and more identifiable look at their lives. They commuted just like us!