Under Ground: Subways and Metros of the World
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These days, an underground railway is an integral part of a city's heritage and a key feature of the urban landscape used by passengers. But these subways are also full of history and art. They reflect a city's personality and its past and future, and are worthy of exploration, even for those not boarding a train.
It's safe to say that a great many subways have overcome a reputation for unpleasant shadiness. Under Ground is a tour of the most fascinating subterranean city railways viewed through the filters of urban planning, ethnology, art, and history. More than 100 subway stations and train cars are described in informative text and stunning colour photographs. The book opens with a chapter on the origins of the subway, the story as told by four subways in particular.
London's Underground was the world's first subway. The Paris Metro was a product of the Industrial Revolution and the first modern subway. New York City's subway is the largest and busiest subway in America. Buenos Aires pioneered South American subway systems. Today, however, the designs and technology of these trailblazing rail systems have been far surpassed.
Under Ground organizes its world tour by continent, starting in North America (New York, Rochester, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Toronto), crossing the ocean to Europe (London, Paris, Brussels, Barcelona, Lisbon, Naples, Valencia, Berlin, Munich, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Warsaw), travelling into Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Russia, and Republic of Tatarstan, home to some of the world's most exciting modern subways), further to Asia (Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Istanbul), making a stop in Dubai, and ending in the Far East (Japan, Shanghai, Taiwan, North Korea).
The 100 subways include: * The Stockholm metro, considered to be 'the longest museum in the world'; * New York City's Art Deco City Hall Station, now closed to the public; * Russia's many underground Cold War palaces that double as fallout shelters; * Prague's Dalek-skinned walls; * The blue-lit passenger halls of Dubai's metro, a cool sea in the desert; * Paris' Concorde station tiled with one gigantic word search puzzle that spells out the Declaration of the Rights of Man from the French Revolution; * The candy-coloured kaleidoscopic University station in Naples, the vision of American designer Karim Rashid; * Olaias station in Lisbon, lit almost exclusively by chandeliers; * Shanghai's Sund sightseeing tunnel, a mind-bending ride in transparent cars with a 360-degree view which races through a psychedelic laser-lit tunnel, one of the city's top five tourist attractions; * Kyoto's immense 15-story multi-use rail station; * Istanbul's underwater Marmaray tunnel, the deepest in the world. Under Ground is a unique trip to the railways beneath the world's great cities.
Readers don't need a token or a monthly pass, only a comfortable seat - perhaps on the tube? - to enjoy the engaging text and gorgeous photographs.