NYC residents and tourists longing for the days when the city’s subway system doubled as an art exhibit may be in for a pleasant surprise, as the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has reported a rise in graffiti on New York City trains, which decorated (though some would say plagued) the NYC transit system during the ’70s and the ’80s.
According to the New York Daily News and MTA, there were 120 graffiti-related incidents on subway trains in January 2021, a 21% increase compared to the same period last year. Reports also indicate an 8% rise from the total number of incidents that were recorded in 2020 when subway ridership was twice the current amount it is today prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, there has been an increase in the number of people going onto the subway tracks, with 163 recorded incidents in December 2021, nearly triple the amount recorded by the MTA in July of last year.
“It’s coming back strong,” said a veteran transit worker who chose to remain anonymous. “The speed of these kids is unbelievable. I can’t believe how fast they do a whole train.” MTA spokesman Mike Cortez also chimed in on the matter. “Vandalism is a crime that hurts regular New Yorkers trying to get where they need to go,” Cortez told the New York Daily News. “It senselessly slows down commutes when trains need to be removed for cleaning, costs taxpayers money that otherwise could be used to improve service, and forces cleaners to work around the clock to undo damage to train cars.”