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The Case for the Subway

Long before it became an archaic, filthy, profligate symbol of everything wrong with our broken cities, New York’s subway was a marvel — a mad feat of engineering and an audacious gamble on a preposterously ambitious vision. “The effect it is to have on the city of New York is something larger than any mind can realize,” said William Gaynor, the New York mayor who set in motion the primary phase of its construction. A public-works project of this scale had never before been undertaken in

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