Those 60 and above in age (and, be assured that I am approaching but have not yet arrived at that threshold) always seem to speak of the cleaner, more efficient modes of transport of years past, with the clear implication being that trains and above-ground counterparts are filthy and unreliable today.
Well, it turns out that there's a reason the fogeys feel that way.
Jim Dwyer of The New York Times points out in a column that our rapid transit network "essentially stopped growing with the completion in 1940 of the IND lines."
Since then it's been a series of efforts to patch holes in the garment, so to speak. No wonder, then, it all seems like patchwork.
Things really got bad in the mid 1970's, when the city -- in the throes of a financial crisis -- slipped into a pattern of deferred maintenance, in which the subways were allowed to essentially fall apart because there was no money in the repair bucket.
And now, help us, we are facing a financial crisis potentially of much greater proportions, which could affect the nation and world, with our Wall Street leading the way.
Some are saying that we need to looking at our planned projects in a new, realistic light.
Joan Byron, for one, director of the Brooklyn-based Sustainability and Environmental Justice Initiative at the Pratt Center for Community Development, wants money put into special lanes for buses.
She and others are complaining that digging more tunnels to expand the subway system is just too expensive in this day and age, costing a BILLION dollars per mile, compared to one to two MILLION dollars per mile to expand bus service.
This issue is now much more important than it's been in recent years.
[Photo: A test run in November of 1948 to the new A line, pictured at the Euclid Avenue station in Brooklyn. Picture is from the collection of Arthur Lonto and has been used by the MTA.]