In 1979, there were 250 serious crimes reported in the New York subway system – per week. There were six murders in the first two months alone. No other subway in the world was more crime-ridden and infamous.“Hell On Wheels” is a joyous and soulful trip in the bygone era of the New York subway system in the years between 1977-1984. Swiss photographer Willy Spiller, living in New York at the time, documented his underground travels with the curiosity of a foreigner, fascinated by the rush and the madness of its time. It’s the period of the first rap music, graffiti, The Warriors in the cinema, Guardian Angels on the trains and Ed Koch in charge of a broke and crime-riddled city. Willy Spiller’s images are as much a visual document of this incomparable realm as they are a syncopated, colorful poem to the city of New York and its people.
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