A little under a year ago, authorities stopped running the New York City subway 24 hours a day, seven days a week, shutting down the system from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. to sanitize subway cars, in what critics have more recently called “hygiene theater.” In a couple weeks’ time, the 24/7 subway will be back, baby.
Now, I say that the subway used to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that much is technically true, but any New Yorker knows that taking the subway at three a.m. is touch-and-go at best, as lines shut down all the time for track work and maintenance, and trains run slower to accommodate workers. Still, the trains in the wee hours are essential to large swaths of the city’s workforce, who may need to get home or get to work at an hour when many of us are in bed.
On May 17, the trains overnight will finally be back.
I am most of all happy for the workers who need overnight service, but, secondarily, the nice thing about the subway being 24/7 is the idea that, in New York City, you are never truly stuck somewhere, not the case in cities like Boston or DC, where trains stopped running overnight even in the Before Times.
Further, we must address another group of people that this will affect: New Yorkers who stay up late “partying,” usually with the aid of mind-altering substances. The first (obvious) point: If you intend to “party” with your friends be sure that you and your friends are fully vaccinated, or keep your social distance. The second point: If you need the train before 5 a.m., you probably aren’t “partying” hard enough. The third point: Consider a more enlightened form of “partying,” which is going to bed at 10 p.m. The fourth, related point: Do the kids even “party” anymore? I have heard some worrying things about Generation Z. The fifth point: I regret to inform you that this also means that, soon, New York City will go back to pretending that it is “the city that never sleeps.” When we can retire that? People sleep here all the time.