When The New York City Subway Was The Most Dangerous Place On Earth

Published July 2, 2014
Updated March 25, 2021

Venture back to the 1980s in this photo gallery, when the New York City subway was the most dangerous mass transit system on the planet.

The New York City subway of today is what one might lightly call “starkly different” from its predecessors. In the 1980s, over 250 felonies were committed every week in the system, making the New York subway the most dangerous mass transit system in the world.

Over the course of a decade, New York public transportation would lose over 300 million riders, largely due to its reputation as a hotbed of crime and drug use. In the gallery below, we take a look at what the New York City subways were like in tfache 1980s:

New York Subwy Pictures
1980s New York City Subways
6 Train
Caught In The Act
When The New York City Subway Was The Most Dangerous Place On Earth
View Gallery

We also recommend watching this video of taking the subway from Union Square to Coney Island in 1987:

Thank you to Time, The Rsvlts, and Flickr for the images above.

And if you enjoyed these photographs of New York subways in the 1980s, check out our other posts on the summer of 1969 in New York and the most incredible photographs of New York City. Then, learn more fascinating facts about New York City.

Alexander is a Brooklyn-based cofounder of All That's Interesting with an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in History and Economics and an MSc from the School of Oriental and African Studies in Economics. He specializes in American history, the Cold War, and true crime.