stand clear of the closing doors

Second Ave. Subway Sparks Debate on Value of Sidewalk Grates

16 Sep 1954, Manhattan, New York City, New York State, USA — Film star Marilyn Monroe poses over a Manhattan subway grate as the wind blows her white dress up. Photographers capture the moment on camera, which takes place on September 16, 1954, during the filming of Seven Year Itch. Reportedly, Monroe’s husband Joe DiMaggio was displeased at the attention his wife received from the crowds. Photo: Image by ? Bettmann/CORBIS

In the New York Times, at least. Rather than the familiar grates, the Second Ave. subway will feature “mechanical ventilating towers” near all air-conditioned (!) stations. While it’s noted that this is a triumph for high-heel wearers, parts of the paper’s report read like an ode to the subway grate. They’re praised as a way to hear if you’ve missed your train, a key element of Marilyn Monroe’s iconography, and warm spots where one can “cozy up to on a brisk fall day.” Luckily for fans, the city will still feature 39,000 of these “urban artifacts” – plenty of spots to go “fishing for coins and valuables with a wad of gum as bait stuck to the end of a string.” 

Second Ave. Subway Sparks Sidewalk Grate Debate