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Culture on the go: the New Yorker's Subway

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Commuting can be a drag, even more so in a densely populated city like Manhattan. I’ve done the uptown-downtown journey for years where you learn to block ungainly sights, smells and sounds on the subway. It’s a talent onto itself really. Jammed with the loudly enthusiastic tourists, the drunk and the homeless, and the emaciated college kids heading to east village, you develop a protective force field that usually is a potent combination of your iPod, the Economist and shades. That said, it is astonishing that the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) takes this reality and turns it to its advantage. Understanding that New Yorkers are constantly on the move, it capitalizes on this and makes this commute a cultural experience. And we do stop and notice. While there is comfort in standardization through the quintessential subway blue and white tiles, there is also difference. Difference that reflects specific neighborhood stops. So if you get off the Natural history museum, that’s easy.…