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Incredible Photos of the New York City Subway During the 1980s

Steven Siegel has been photographing the streets and subways of New York City for 30 years, and his Flickr album is a time capsule of a grittier, feral city — before Times Square was scrubbed clean and 9/11 changed the metropolis forever. In honor of the first subway opening today back in 1904, we’ve shared a collection of Siegel’s remarkable photos that capture the underground world bustling with graffiti-covered trains. Several of the images were taken in a junkyard where the metal behemoths were waiting to be demolished. Siegel and friends created several dreamlike scenarios (in a pre-Photoshop era) with clever angles, poses, and accidental exposures. Many of these areas would be off-limits to the public now thanks to tightened security measures, but those were different times. Take a closer look in our gallery. Visit Siegel’s Flickr page for a trip back to New York in the 1980s.

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel

Photo credit: Steven Siegel