New York City used to be an early adopter of new transportation modes. In the late eighteen-sixties, New Yorkers took up the velocipede, a primitive version of the bicycle. Half a century later, the city embraced the automobile, and eventually made free parking available for the fossil-fuel-burning machines—a remarkable giveaway of expensive public space that many carless citizens would like back now. New York also engineered and built a subway system, above ground and below ground, which, before the covid-19 pandemic hit, carried five and a half million riders every weekday—a landmark of American people-moving the city may never reach again, if remote work is here to stay.

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