Underground Art

Detail from Jessica Raimi's "Subway Series."

People miss all kinds of things now. What’s high on Jessica Raimi’s list are the subways. For years, the Tribeca photographer has felt “compelled” to capture the people who rode opposite her. She delighted in those who look at stylish in a very New York way. Or others who reminded her of fictional characters she met years ago.

There was the man who could have passed for Willy Loman from “Death of a Salesman,” who once rode with her on the #1 train. “He was this tired working guy, very unexceptional, with his tie askew looking like it's been such an awful day. Another fellow rider with a long white beard bore an uncanny resemblance to cartoonist R. Crumb's character, Mr. Natural.

Raimi had long wanted to take pictures on the subway, but not until she got her first iPhone at the end of 2012 did she realize how easily she could snap away without being noticed.

“People act like they’re all alone on the subway,” Raimi says. “They're in their own thoughts. That's being a real New Yorker. It's how we manage to not feel threatened when we're surrounded by so many people.

“I sort of fantasize,” she muses, “that I can read their thoughts. Even though I probably can’t, I'll never know for sure.

Click here to see more of Raimi's subway photos. It's a reminder of the subterranean world we hope to return to soon.