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Looking down the length of a subway car. Harsh light from above, seats along the sides or perpendicular to the sides (in sets of 2). The seats are bright orange molded plastic.

The New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn

With its bewilderingly complicated passages, dank smell, bare concrete floors, tangles of pipes and conduits, and the rumbling roar that shakes the ground and then fades, the New York City subway system doesn’t win any prizes for beauty. It’s immense, though, and remarkably fast and efficient, and can take passengers within a few blocks of…