In the interest of full disclosure, when I traveled to Broolyn last week for the Secret Science Club lecture, the ride from Woodlawn in the Bronx to the 9th St/4th Avenue stop in Brooklyn took over an hour and forty-five minutes. That day, the entire subway system was a mess, a crappy day in what has been dubbed a Summer of Hell. Currently, the state and local officials are engaged in a blame game and the transit situation just seems to worsen.
Coincidentally, my current reading obsession is pulp tales of morlocks/ghouls/deros/CHUDS- those creepy, subterranean people-eaters that seem to crop up periodically in lurid tales from questionable magazines and low-budget movies. One of the best of these 'cannibalistic mole-people' stories is Robert Barbour Johnson's Far Below, which seems to build on one of the most memorable lines in H.P. Lovecraft's ghoulish Pickman's Model:
There was a study called 'Subway Accident,' in which a flock of the vile things were clambering up from some unknown catacomb through a crack in the floor of the Boston Street subway and attacking a crowd of people on the platform.
Far Below elaborates on this theme, chronicling a secret police division tasked with protecting commuters from the hungry creeps which inhabit the tunnels 'far below' the subway system... it also has a nice, shuddersome take on the perils of fighting monsters. The story also serves as a precursor to Clive Barker's The Midnight Meat Train, which also concerns a secret cabal of government operatives working in the subway for arcane purposes.
Counterintuitively, last week, the subway train I rode on at midnight was much more crowded than the 5PM train I rode to Brooklyn. Part of that is due to the fact that fewer trains run at night than during the daylight hours, but it also speaks to the reality of work in this day and age. Far more people are working night shifts than did before- office cleaners, maids, restaurant workers, CNA's and nurses... a lot of the hard work of the city is done between 3PM and midnight, and there is another crowd that starts work at 11PM to midnight. Many of these people live in places like the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. The very idea of a quiet 'midnight meat train' in which shadowy killers can stalk their prey is pretty far-fetched these days... can't have a meat train when everybody is packed in like tinned sardines.
Now, who needs a pulpy mole-man subway horror story? The real horror is the ride itself.