The New Yorker’s mandatory long read on the new president of New York City Transit: Can Andy Byford Save the Subways? leaves me feeling more hopeful about the future of the subway than I have in a long time. There are too many fascinating tidbits to choose from, but this bit about a press conference at a railyard really works for me on a couple of levels:
Byford caught a 4 train at Bowling Green and then switched to the Coney Island-bound D. It was a swift, on-time ride on relatively clean trains. Byford, who often points out that most subway trips are successful and therefore forgettable, stood in a half-empty car and considered his position. “I need the Governor’s confidence that I will turn things around,” he said. “I sense the crest of my honeymoon period. It’s a gut feeling—a bit like political antennae. If I ignore it, I always regret it.”
[New York State’s Governor Andrew] Cuomo arrived, with his aides, in black S.U.V.s. Trackside, he greeted Byford warmly. The Governor, wearing pale chinos and a dark windbreaker, watched a worker demonstrate the magnetic wand, then squatted and ran the instrument under a rail flange himself. With news cameras recording the action, he came up, triumphantly, with a wandful of metal filings.