In 1912, everyone was doing the Subway Glide

How long have New Yorkers been complaining about cramped subways and speeding, lurching trains? (And the violation of personal space that happens when too many people are crammed in car?)

At least since 1912, eight years after the subway opened—when lyricist Arthur Gillespie and musician Theodore Norman put together this zippy little song, the “Subway Glide.”

With lyrics like “rush in, crush in, reach for a handle strap, then turn right around and flop in a lady’s lap,” it may offend the sensibilities of modern subway riders.

Give it a listen here and consider adding it to your commute playlist.

[Image: NYPL]

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15 Responses to “In 1912, everyone was doing the Subway Glide”

  1. papershots Says:

    🙂 thanks for sharing this!

  2. In 1912, everyone was doing the Subway Glide | Holiday in New York City Says:

    […] Source: FS – Real Estate In 1912, everyone was doing the Subway Glide […]

  3. In 1912, everyone was doing the Subway Glide | Real Estate Marketplace Says:

    […] Source: FS – NYC Real Estate In 1912, everyone was doing the Subway Glide […]

  4. Zoé Says:

    Lol! Not much has changed… Maybe what people use for doing the graffiti 🎩🖋🚃 -> 🃏🗝🚊

  5. Walk About New York Says:

    What a hoot this song is! We will have to keep they amusing lyrics in mind during our Subway Art Tours []. We do stop at 42nd Street/Times Square on Subway Art Tour One. Take the Tour; Know More! #SubwayArt #WalkAboutNY #TimesSquare/42ndStreet

  6. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    You must!

  7. mniy Says:

    Good Evening,

    FYI from PBS

    Take care,

    Dana Konikoff

  8. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thank you Dana!

  9. David H Lippman Says:

    That was when “Subways Were For Sleeping.” People forget how popular the subways were when they opened, being the latest in technological achievement. It’s only when they started deferring maintenance and stopped the expansion that the system became the liniments of hell.

    • Zoé Says:

      I’m pretty sure you meant ‘lineaments’; meaning an outline/form/boundary indicating something vs. ‘liniment’ meaning balm/salve/tincture (from linseed oil presumably). (I just removed myself from numerous people’s future invitation lists for offering this spelling/vocabulary critique).

      My knee was once injured for weeks when the stuffed to the gills shopping cart of a homeless man fast asleep at the other end of the car (only other person there) came tearing down the full length of the car before crashing into my knee. Just when you need the wheels on those things not to work easily… they perform as if NASA quality engineered. And as it was NY there was no one to report/complain to. I just walked around limping for a little while.

      Someone should make little breaks/stoppers that get attached to the wheels. Or design special carts for homeless people on the trains.

  10. Subway Appreciation Day – Jane Explains Says:

    […] museum is a must-see for every NYC schoolkid.  Back when it was new and thrilling, it inspired a risqué song (risqué for 1913).  Check it […]

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