I recently moved to Washington, DC, where I have continued my work as a writer. After having spent the last 25 years living in sleepy southern towns in north Florida, much of living in the “big city” has been a new experience. One of the things that I have noticed the most is the noise. Police cars, fire engines (I love the whirly light on the front of many of them), ambulances, motorcade security details…they are everywhere.
I have found refuge from this noise, however, and that refuge is underground – the Metro. It is oddly quiet in the tunnels under the streets, something akin to an elevator experience. People don’t often talk in the metro, and when they do, it is mostly in sotto voce. With all of the traveling I’ve done over the decades, the metro is certainly a familiar place. But after navigating the loud streets of Washington, DC, I have come to look forward to descending into those quiet, familiar tunnels.
In 1966, Danny Lyon also found refuge in the subways, but for him, it was for art. He went to the subways in New York City for new subjects after having photographed civil rights activists in the South and motorcycle gangs in Chicago. In a series of haunting photographs, Lyon captured a sense of quiet & calm in the riders that is superbly juxtaposed to the edginess of this subterranean urban retreat.