Skip to main content


Keep the subway free of “cell-phone jabber”

Scrolling’s fine; talking’s not. Getty

New York’s subway agency wants to provide mobile and wi-fi coverage across all 660 miles of the network, says Steve Cuozzo in the New York Post. What a miserable idea. Never mind that it would take 10 years to install this “supposed technological triumph”. Or that it would distract from the system’s real crises: high crime and lousy service. No, my biggest issue is that subway carriages are pretty much the only place in the city free from “cacophonous, vapid cell-phone jabber”.

You know the sort of stuff: domestic emergencies, dating dilemmas, monkeypox theories. “On my way, honey!” “My cat threw up on me!” Call me old-fashioned, but I’m of the belief that such “momentous statements” can probably wait until the next stop. Indeed, those reception-less few minutes between stations are “precious” to some of us: they’re the only time we’re truly free of the 24/7 intensity of “Big Apple life”. Plus, the subway is the best place to see “real New Yorkers in all their funky variety and glory”: the lovebirds all over each other, the banker-guy mysteriously sound asleep at 3pm, the young women in “gauzy halter tops” heading out on the town. Set all that to a soundtrack of “banal cellphone yakking” and the mystique turns to mush. Please, let’s keep the subway free of phones – “before there’s no place left to hide from them”.