Like-for-like photos of life in Mumbai and NYC

Nisha Sondhe's photos from Mumbai and New York compare like-for-like scenes of life in crowded, exuberant urban centers -- trains and fishmongers and butchers and happy people -- and captures each city's distinctiveness as well as the universal character of urban life.

Nisha Sondhe (via MeFi)


  1. i live in nyc. 
    i’ve never been on a subway car that clean.  never. 
    i say, it’s been ‘shopped.

  2. i’ve never been in a sub car that clean in Tokyo, and if it aint that clean in tokyo its probably not that clean in NYC :)
    But I like the photo and how it contrasts

  3. Agreed. Never seen a train car that clean except perhaps it was the first day in service.

  4. Really, guys? I’d say plenty if not most subway cars look that clean in low def. They are well-designed to hide how gross they are, and they DO actually clean them periodically. I don’t know how well or what that period is, but I’m guessing daily, otherwise they’d all be full of trash.

  5. I’ve lived in NYC for nearly a decade, and that’s the cleanest car I’ve
    ever seen.  You should see the worst cars, or better yet, show the
    platforms/stations, many of which are appalling.

    Station on the 1-line at 181st (Manhattan), I think, recently had a
    large portion of the ceiling collapse upon the tracks and platform.  The
    picture posted above, is the kind MTA would release as white-washed

    My comments are not a point of pride, in the least.  I’d love to have the system that Germany or Japan has.

  6. I’ve never seen a NY subway car that clean either, and the one on the right makes me positively envious!

  7. From the pics above, I thought they were showing how wonderful and clean they keep  Mumbai subway cars, compare to the NYC car on the left.

  8. It’s mainly to perpetuate the thought that NYC is grittier than it is. That’s a clean subway car, but it’s like any other clean subway car and there are lots of them.

  9. I live in NYC and regardless that the NY Subway cars are no THAT clean it sure isn’t Mumbai. So did the photographer shoot the cleanest Mumbai car too? 

  10. I’m not sure about Mumbai, but in Delhi, train platforms are gigantic sleeping areas for the homeless.

  11. I love the concept but the execution fell a little flat, I think. The train and the station shots were the best, then the “skyline from across the river” shot. The rest didn’t really speak to me in the way that was intended (showing what each place is like). Honestly, I’ve spent a lot of time in NYC and these photos didn’t really say “NYC” to me, at all.

    However I do hope this person continues the project and tries to do some more. It’s very cool, but just a start, really.

    Perhaps if I’m inspired some day I’ll do the same thing with my photos from Thailand. The cool thing about this project is that you can do it as an afterthought – just look at what photos you have from your chosen foreign destination that you’ve been to already, then duplicate them at home :)

  12. I rode on a clean car in NYC all day once, and the fucking MTA transit museum guard told me to get off the damn car already so other people could enjoy it for a minute.

  13. The smooth plastic seats were the result of years of vandalism to padded fabric seats. The idea was copied all over the country. But if you sit alone on a multi-passenger bench seat in a bus, going around a bend in the hills will cause you to slide and end up on the floor. Fabric provides friction and plastic doesn’t.

  14. This is a bloody excellent series.

    Also, god its annoying hearing NYers complain about their subway system.

    TRAINS USUALLY RUN EVERY FEW MINUTES FOR 24 HOURS A DAY. I mean sure Tokyos system is amazing, but NY still has it good in the scheme of things.

    Try waiting for 40 minutes to travel 20 minutes because you missed your train at 3pm on a Sunday. 

    1. Minor correction: all trains run every 20-30 minutes after midnight. How often they run during mid-days and weekends depends on the line. The only time they run “every few minutes” is rush hour. This is not to say that the NYC system isn’t amazing for running 24/7, just that it’s not *that* good.

      Also, I have waited more than 40 minutes to travel less than 20 minutes, not because I missed my train, but because I missed my bus (or it was after 1am, when they only run once an hour). Some areas can only be accessed by bus, and those don’t run as well as the trains (and are getting worse because of budget cuts). If it’s only 2-3 miles, I usually just end up walking.

      Again, I love our transit system and I know other cities have it worse, but we’re also not a magical paradise of public transportation.

  15. I’m guessing those people that have never seen a subway car this clean probably don’t live at the end of a subway line.  I stayed at a friend’s place in the Bronx for a few days at the very end of the D line, and when I got on the train at 6am (to make it into Manhattan by 7:15 !! ) those trains were pretty spotless.

  16. The train car photos are a very poor representation of Nisha Sondhe’s excellent photo series. Click onwards and check out the rest of the photos, which are far less contrastive. I think the real thesis of the work is that, despite being worlds apart, Mumbai and NYC are actually (perhaps surprisingly) quite similar. The train photo contrast is an exception, not representative. Similar yet distinct (much as Cory wrote under the top photo).

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