New York City Subway Platforms Are About To Get A Whole Lot Louder

Nearly all stations will have wireless internet and cell phone service.

New York commuters may have to contend with yet another subway nuisance: the phone call.

As of this week, most underground stations will be connected to Wi-Fi and cell service, enabling passengers to stay connected while underground.

The news was received with dual excitement and dismay for many commuters — connectivity underground offers the possibility of checking train schedules, scheduling plans and making emergency phone calls. However, it also bids farewell to a rare space of mandated disconnectedness and quiet in a city constantly plugged in and on the go.

As Launa Schweizer, a Brooklyn-based teacher, told the New York Times, “After my initial joy at being connected underground, I realized: Now my emails, my texts and my digital world will follow me everywhere I go…Will I stop reading poetry on the subway?”

But there may be hope for commuters who use the subway as a time for recharging. A group of students and professors from Hunter College studied subway habits, and found most riders did not make phone calls, even when above ground. Assistant sociology professor Mike Owen Benediktsson, who was involved in the study, told the New York Times he thinks this reflects “a social norm of preserving your own privacy and respecting the privacy of others in a public space.”

Read more on NYT.