A few months ago, a friend and I had dinner at Farallon, a spectacularly-designed San Francisco seafood restaurant. We were seated in the Pool Room, which is barrel-vaulted and covered with charming and suitably marine mosaics. I took a look around and said "This room reminds me of a subway station." I meant that in a good way, and my friend knew exactly what I meant. He's been in plenty of subway stations himself.
Since I arrived on the East Coast last week, I've taken several subway lines up, down, and across Manhattan, and all the way to Brooklyn. My, what a difference a few decades makes. I remember the hot, grimy, noisy, filthy, scary NYC subway system of the 1970s all too well. Today...well, I wouldn't exactly want to live down there, but the stations and cars are clean, and much quieter than they used to be. There's no stink or garbage, and much of the acrid, characteristic subway system odor has disappeared. The grime is gone, and every available surface is now covered with shiny white tile or mosaic. Some of the mosaics are newly-commissioned artwork; other mosaics are restoration of tiling from the early days of the subway system. It's so much nicer than it used to be!
I wish I had photos to blog, but not yet, not yet. Next visit, though!