It might be New York City's 'summer of hell,' but 14 photos show how much worse the subway system was in the 1970s


subway 1970s

The U.S. National Archives/Flickr

Back then, New York City was known as "Fear City."


Today, New Yorkers and commuters are in the grips of the "summer of hell."

Mass delays are everywhere throughout various metro transit systems. So far, the MTA alone has seen fires, derailed trains, and dangerously overcrowded subway platforms.

And the situation is taking its toll on frustrated commuters.

But things could always be worse.


Just look at the 1970s, when the Big Apple seemed to be rotting from within.

Crime was everywhere and the city was struggling to deal with a major fiscal crisis.

The city's subway system wasn't faring much better. Crime, graffiti, and frequent mechanical breakdowns were mainstays of New York subways throughout the decade.

Photographer Erik Calonius snapped several shots of the bleak situation in April of 1973. These pictures, along with many others, can be viewed in the Flickr album of the U.S. National Archives.

These 14 photos allow us a glimpse into what it was like to ride the New York City subway system during this troubled time.