New York Underground

[Subway Song]
Photograph by Bob Sacha


Maestro of rush hour, James Graseck strikes a final note as a train pulls into the Herald Square Station. The violinist performs in Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and the subway. “I’m not playing for strangers,” he says. “I’m playing for a bulk of humanity. They’re like extended family. I become part of their commute.” Each day 3.5 million people ride the subway, along whose 230-mile (370-kilometer) route the city grew. “The symbol of New York may be the skyscraper,” writes transit historian Clifton Hood. “Yet, without the subway, the skyscraper would be an empty shell.”