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Posts Tagged ‘Metro

“There is a city beneath the streets”*…

 

Avtovo

Avtovo station, St. Petersburg

 

Anyone who knows a bit about Soviet state socialism knows about the Moscow Metro and its system of underground palaces; these awesome, opulent spaces have been a fixture of travel guides since the 1930s, and now they’re equally prevalent on Instagram accounts. Much less known is that these marble-clad portals in the centre of the capital are just the most visible elements of a gigantic Metro-building project that would gradually expand into more than a dozen different systems across several Republics — Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan. After Moscow came St Petersburg, Kyiv, Tbilisi, Baku, Kharkiv, Tashkent, Yerevan, Minsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Dnipro. “Metro-Trams” with palatial underground halls were built in Krivyi Rih and Volgograd; and a miniature “Cave Metro” was built for the tourist site of New Athos, Abkhazia.

Soviet experts were also responsible for engineering Metro systems outside the USSR — in Prague, Budapest, Warsaw, Sofia, Pyongyang, and Calcutta (as it then was), India’s first Metro system in the capital of Communist-governed West Bengal. Soviet Metro building was an enormous project, spanning two continents. An early slogan had it that “the whole country is building the Moscow Metro”, but between the 1960s and 80s this could have been rephrased as “the Moscow Metro is being built in the whole country”. Why, then, was this particular kind of Metro building so important?…

Decorated with chandeliers, mosaics, and Lenin busts, the Soviet Union produced the most decorative (and probably the most photographed) transport system in the world.  Find out why (and see more gorgeous photos) at “The heavens underground: the Soviet Union’s opulent metro stations, from Belarus to Uzbekistan.”

* Robert E. Sullivan Jr.

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As we go to ground, we might wish a Joyeux Anniversaire to Denis Diderot, contributor to and the chief editor of the Encyclopédie (“All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone’s feelings.”)– and thus towering figure in the Enlightenment; he was born on this date in 1713.  Diderot was also a novelist (e.g., Jacques le fataliste et son maître [Jacques the Fatalist and his Master])…  and no mean epigramist:

From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.

We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.

Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

A thing is not proved just because no one has ever questioned it.

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Written by LW

October 5, 2019 at 1:01 am

Helpful Hints…

C’est ne pas fixer une passagère avec insistance, quand bien même elle aurait les yeux revolver. (Don’t stare at a female passenger, even if she has eyes like a revolver)

Being stuck in a grimy, crowded metal box deep underground doesn’t bring out the best in the average subway commuter. And Parisians aren’t exactly known for their willingness to keep their complaints to themselves.

Last year, the regional transit authority Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens launched an ad campaign to discourage rude behavior on the Paris subway. They used images of hens, warthogs, and sloths to scold riders for holding loud phone conversations, eating gross foods, and taking up too much space.

When public shaming failed, RATP turned to an equally Parisian solution: charming PSAs that look straight out of the Belle Époque. The newly released ebook Manuel de Savoir-Vivre a l’usage du Voyageur Moderne names 12 essential, if slightly tongue-in-cheek, rules for getting by on the subway. Local graphic designer Marion Thomas-Mauro created some very French illustrations to accompany the rules, offering a slightly wacky take on the recommendations…

C’est les jours de grosse chaleur, tel le manchot empereur, bien gardes les bras le long du corps et prendre sa meilleure prise en bas du poteau, pas tout en haut. (On very hot days, be like the emperor penguin — keep your arms along the sides of your body and grip the lower handholds, not the ones on top.)

Read the full story, see more of the instructive illustrations, and find a link to the full guide at “Keep Your B.O. to Yourself, and Other Friendly Tips for Paris Metro Riders.”

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As we just say “non,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1944, that Glenn Miller and the plane on which he was flying disappeared over the English Channel.  The musician, arranger, composer, and bandleader– the biggest star and best-selling recording artist of Swing Era– had put aside his career when the U.S.. entered World War II to enlist and lead The Army Air Force Band.  He was on his way to Paris to perform for troops there; the wreckage of the plane was never found, and he remains listed as “missing in action.”

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Written by LW

December 15, 2013 at 1:01 am

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