The Roman subway trains are covered in graffiti in a way reminiscent of the New York City subway trains in the 1970s and 80s. I assume the yards where the trains are parked at night are insecure – that would be the only explanation I can think of for the sheer amount of graffiti.
While my memory of New York City subways in the 1970s is a bit vague, my impression is that the graffiti there was not so much artistic as it was mostly tagging by individuals and/or gangs. Here, as in seemingly all things Italian, there is an underlying artfulness to at least some of it.
And even the text commentary (“Who sleeps not [something] with the fishes”) is relevant to the designs. I don’t know if my misreading of the handwriting is wrong or if the phrase is some Italian/Roman slang phrase that Google Translate can’t figure out. Any readers who understand the expression, please chime in and correct me!
I found the shot I had taken of the NYC subway train oncoming. Again a bit impressionistic, but you can still feel the difference between it and the other city’s subways that I’ve photographed, even though the car isn’t at all visible in the exposure. I THINK this is the N/Q/R platform at 5th avenue and 59th street- it’s been a while since I took the shot.
Here are a couple more of my subway shots as a comparison. Please pardon the repetition of the recent post:
All shots taken with my Rolleiflex 2.8E. Film used was either Ilford FP4+ for the b/w shots or either Kodak Portra 160 or Ektar 100 for the color.
The old part of the Metropolitain subway system in the city center of Paris is famous for the art nouveau railings and signs at the station entrances. I know I put a couple of photos in an earlier post about Transportation, but these three are specifically about the entrance railings and signs.
The railings LOOK to be bronze, from the patina, but I would suspect that they’re iron that has been painted. Bronze would make them extremely expensive, but then again, when you look at how lavish the French were in their public buildings in the late 19th century, it’s not inconceivable.
The entrance to the Ile De La Cité metro stop. This is where you get off the train to go see Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle. Immediately across from it is a little open-air market which has flowers and pet supplies. I have two pictures from the market of two little dogs staring each other down and goldfish in a tank from the market, going into another post.
The most famous sight of all – the Metropolitain sign. There is a replica of one of these in the sculpture garden on the National Mall between the National Gallery of Art and the Natural History Museum here in Washington DC.