Photographed Edmond Yu
Written by the ackn crew

The metal, the wood, the plastic, the glass: these aren’t materials which set the mood for a sleep. But, if you mix in soft, dark lighting, warm temperatures, and a rhythmic rocking pace, then the temptation of a nap can overpower the judgmental glares of a dozen strangers 10 feet away. The subways around the world are home to countless temporary residents: 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, people set up a temporary camp while they ride the train tracks to their destination. No stranger to this is New York City where many lean their heads on the glass windows to catch up on some sleep.


Life’s a hard grind. Wake up, work, rinse, repeat. The only way to repeat is to sleep. Finding the time to sleep can sometimes be tough, especially at the pace which society drives us to. With the global time zones and inter-connectivity we live with these days, our sleep times are getting shorter and shorter. People resort to finding all sorts of places to catch a quick nap and the subway is not immune to this, regardless of how uncomfortable might be. Yet, humans are a resilient species, and comfort is trumped by the need for sleep – always.


For some, sleep can be a difficult thing to achieve. The lasting effects of stress can stretch far beyond when it was caused. The foods that we eat have so many additives that it can disrupt our sleep cycles. The ever-so-often social smoke keeps us awake as nicotine lingers in our system. Whatever the cause, many still seem to be able to find comfort in a subway ride. Maybe it’s the motion. Maybe it’s lack of anything to do while underground. Maybe it’s the paradox of being invisible in a crowd.

This photo series was photographed by Edmond Yu, and written by the ackn crew. First visited in 2018, the photos were taken in in New York City, USA. This photo series is part of a set of photos taken in cities across the world. To see more, go to Places and discover other cities.