Some Ways NYC Could Get Governor Cuomo To Care About Our Broken Subway System


The image of the hands of the passengers on Monday’s trapped F train attempting to pry open a door so they could escape a car that is literally drenched in sweat will haunt us for weeks.

It’s also emblematic of the complete deterioration of the New York City transit system that’s occurred over Governor Andrew Cuomo’s five years in office. (Despite what you might hear, the governor has ultimate authority over the MTA).

Cuomo has shown an eagerness to spearhead infrastructure projects that he feels he can make “sexy.” From new bridges with light shows, to new subway stations with fancy murals, and the replacement of toll plazas (with, you guessed it, light shows), the governor has indicated a preference for initiatives where he can impose his own special sense of “bold” style.

Following this logic, we at the Voice have come to the conclusion that the only way to get our governor to use the considerable power he wields to meaningfully improve public transportation is to entice him to put his own specific spin on the century-old system. If we build it, he will come.

  • Realistic Harley engine–revving noises when the trains leave the station.
  • Make the turnstiles sing “Jesse’s Girl” when anyone swipes through, and “Bad Company” when anyone hops them.
  • Install E-ZPass on everyone’s foreheads, earn rewards for Finger Lake canoe rentals when they ride the subway.
  • Turn all station platforms into Saturday Night Fever–style light-up disco floors.
  • Change the MTA’s catchall announcement to, “We are delayed because of great deals on upstate wines ahead of us.”
  • Express trains rebranded “Excelsior Service.”
  • Set aside the last car of every train as a small-business incubator.
  • Designate some track engineer to head up the “Bleecker Street Billions Initiative,” then dump a quarter of the state budget on him to promote underground cinema production.
  • NYPD subway patrols stand down; order to be maintained by executive press flacks wearing brass knuckles and red berets.
  • Replace current touch screens in stations with new, bigger touch screens, featuring Picture-In-Picture™ technology.
  • “We’re gonna give the pizza rats little lasers, so you can enjoy a little laser show.”
  • 7 trains get a special wrap treatment simulating authentic-but-tasteful graffiti.
  • Tunnel ceilings raised on 2/3 train tunnels, and a boardwalk installed on top of cars so tourists can train-surf in style.
  • Hologram walls in the pedestrian tunnels show Cuomo, Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel, and Tim Roth in full Reservoir Dogs getup slo-mo walking down the corridor along with commuters, telling upstate House Republicans to “watch out.”
  • Beer allowed back on LIRR, but only Genesee.
  • “Our subways should be monitored by drones — but not just any drones, New York drones.”
  • No one over six foot four is allowed to ride the subways. Also, the mayor of New York is prohibited from riding. Or anyone named Bill. Or de Blasio. No Bill de Blasios allowed. Ever.