Sleeping in the Subway

Sleeping In the Subway

DC Metro 7000 car sleeping berth, 2 PM Saturday, January 20, 2018.

In 1956, Edmund G. Love wrote a magazine article about individual homeless New Yorkers, the circumstances which forced them to sleep  in the subway, and how they coped with daily needs. It was so fascinating that Mr. Love expanded the article into a book. So New York responded by implementing social policies that ended homelessness, right?

Ha. The book inspired a Tony-award-winning romantic musical comedy on Broadway. It was at the St. James Theatre, close to the sleepers on the A, C, and E trains.

Broadway’s “Subways Are for Sleeping” was written by Comden and Green, but none of the play’s songs has survived today, even if homelessness has. But the name of the play inspired Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent to write “Don’t Sleep in the Subway,” a big “Easy Listening” hit for Petula Clark in 1967. That tune was covered by other artists, including Frank Sinatra.


“As waves of homeless descend onto trains, L.A. tries a new strategy: social workers on the subway,” Laura J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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