The New York Times really loves its subway grates. The paper of record spent 850 words mourning the fact that the Second Avenue expansion will employ "mechanical ventilating towers" instead of what it has decided are the premiere symbol of old New York—and they're not even going anywhere!
The story first dedicates several paragraphs to Marilyn Monroe's iconic "Oh shit, my skirt" pose filmed for the Billy Wilder classic, The Seven-Year Itch, indicating, somehow, that all the subway grates in the city will be replaced in short-order by the new towers. This is not the case—only the stops along the expansion will utilize the towers. The rest of the city will continue to feature the classic, heel-mangling, cell phone-consuming grates, but you wouldn't know that from the piece, which reads like an overwrought eulogy for an ill-tempered family pet.
"They are the bane of women in high heels; a place for flicking cigarette butts, for expectorating chewing gum or for dropping valuables; a source of warmth to ward off a stiff winter’s wind; and a frightening opening to detour around," it drones importantly.
"Grates are a haven for pedestrians, bundled up, to wait for a bus in winter or even to cozy up to on a brisk fall day," it coos. "Someplace always open, where people with nowhere else to call home can go to keep warm."
And if all the subway grates were replaced—would that be such a bad thing? The whole apparatus can be memorialized in three lines:
Thanks, a lot, subway
for blowing my damn skirt up
as that guy walked by
In any case, none of this will even happen until 2016, so let's try to keep calm. We'll all be deaf by then anyway.