Rather than hiding behind newspapers, riders stare into tablets and smartphones. Instead of actual straps overhead, strap hangers today have a stainless steel bar to grab.
And could that really be a wood floor riders rest their feet on, unlike the one inside subway cars today?
But otherwise, the experience of taking the subway hasn’t changed much since Francis Luis Mora, a Uruguayan-born illustrator and instructor at William Merritt Chase‘s School of Art, painted “Evening News—Subway Riders” (top) in 1914.
Colorful ads beckon riders’ attention. People sit crammed in close in a row against car windows. And most everyone looks away from each other, their eyes focused anywhere but their fellow commuters.
Mora’s “Morning News,” above, from 1912, gives us a different lineup of riders, also looking away or into newspapers, with one man doing that thing of reading over a fellow rider’s shoulder.