Reading on the Subway Just Got Easier – Next City

Reading on the Subway Just Got Easier

(Credit: J.P. Chan/MTAHQ Communications)  

MTA, the New York Public Library and Transit Wireless joined forces to make commuting more enjoyable — with the help of a good book.

Hundreds of free ebooks and short stories were made available to subway riders Thursday as part part of a six-week program launched by the MTA and the New York City’s public libraries, AM New York reports. Riders who connect to TransitWirelessWifi at their subway station will receive automatic access to the so-called “Subway Library.”

The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library are offering the service in several different categories, including New York stories (with excerpts from books like “Soar” by David Banks and “At Balthazar” by Reggie Nadelson), new and noteworthy, short stories, and literature for children and young adults.

“Books have always been part of New Yorkers’ subway experience, and this summer it will be easier than ever to ride the M train with Patti Smith, visit the waterfront with Joseph Mitchell, or get to know the Brooklyn of Walt Whitman, Jacqueline Woodson and the many other authors who have immortalized the borough in prose,” said Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda E. Johnson in a release.

As a promotion of the service, one train, alternating between the E and F lines in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, is painted with bright colors and the words “Subway Library.” Inside that 10-car train, the seats and walls are covered in bookshelf stickers to resemble the New York Public Library’s Rose Main Reading Room.

(Credit: J.P. Chan/MTAHQ Communications)  

WiFi became available at all stations in the city in January. At that time, Transit Wireless had so far invested $300 million in the system, which (along with free WiFi) included a public safety broadband network and 3,000 Help Point Intercoms.

Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian.

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Tags: new york cityarts and culturesubways