The welcoming team was in place.
At 1:45 a.m., four transport workers scrubbed benches, disinfected traprails with bleach and washed away the garbage from a subway station in Brooklyn. Four police officers watched.
Nadav Shahaf, 18, a high school student wearing a black mask and a bright red sweater, comes down the stairs and explodes on a newly cleaned bench. He had it all to himself. He was on his way home after a late night with his girlfriend.
“I’m glad we got this far,” he said. “It was a difficult journey, but we did a good job as a city, as a community.”
The 24-hour subway from New York was back.
The country’s busiest transit system returned to full scream service early Monday after more than a year of overnight closures during the coronavirus pandemic to provide more time to clean and disinfect trains, stations and equipment. It was the longest planned shutdown since the subway opened in 1904.
The resumption of the 24-hour service comes at a challenging time for the transit system with fears of metro crime on the rise after a spate of random attacks that also raised questions about how willing commuters would be to return to the subway and move riding closer to prepandemic levels.
Yet restoring the full subway service is a major milestone on the city’s long road back from a public health crisis that has made New York a global epicenter of the outbreak. It’s one of the few cities in the world that usually never closes its subway, which is a source of pride for New Yorkers.
“We are delighted that people are coming back 24-7,” Sarah Feinberg, the interim metro chief, said in a television interview on Sunday. ‘We are a 24-7 city, we want to be a 24-7 system. We have always been except for the past year, so it’s great to be able to bring the management back 24 hours a day. ”