“Subway Stories” is an interactive subway simulator exploring the inner-lives of commuters in New York City.

Living in New York City, many of us spend hours a day below ground. Each day millions of people commute via the subway — an apparently “interactive” experience if you stop to consider the potential collisions that could happen. But if you’ve spent significant time on subways, you begin to realize it’s often an isolating experience — one of the last frontiers where cell phone service and networks are still absent, leaving its inhabitants to their own conversations, music, and inner-thoughts. Like a horizontal elevator, passengers anxiously wait for their stop, acutely aware of their temporary neighbors.


What of the judgments we make about those around us in places such as a subway car? The passing encounters, the conversations, the thoughts of our temporary neighbors? Through an interactive storytelling environment, “Subway Stories” invites users to reconsider the seemingly ordinary and daily experience of commuting.

Using two handles, a user controls the position of the adjacent car from which the camera looks into the subway on screen. Passengers have accompanying thoughts and sounds that play when the camera is focused on them.


Our hope is to create an intimate experience between the user and the subway, but more importantly between passengers — bridging the gap between the isolating experience of public spaces with the power of stories.


Subway Stories


“Subway Stories” is a collaborative project by Alon Chitayat & Jeff Ong.

It was created during their graduate studies in the Interactive Telecommunications Program ( I.T.P. ), NYU, 2013.


alon-portraitAlon Chitayat  commutes from Brooklyn to Manhattan on the C train everyday. On his daily subway rides he sketches people, never knowing how much time is left till they get off the train .


Alon (Israel – US) is a digital artist and founder of Animishmish Creative Studio , which explores the intersection of video and interactivity. His artistic work has been exhibited at various international festivals, including “ARS Electronica Festival” ( 2009/ 2010 / 2013) and “Siggraph Festival” (2011).


Alon is currently pursuing his graduate studies at the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), NYU. His research concentrates on the study of drawing as a means for interaction.

Alon’s ITP Blog.



 Jeff Ong is a master’s candidate at NYU ITP. With a focus on creative coding, his work creates visual, sonic, and material connections between unexpected inputs.

Previously working at The Barbarian Group in New York, Jeff came to ITP to explore ways to both humanize and push the applications of interactive technology.



We are so grateful to the following for making this project happen:

Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP)


Dan O’Sullivan 

Benedetta Piantella Simeonidis 

Gabe Barcia-Colombo

Nancy Hechinger


Roopa Vasudevan

Fellow Students :

Gal Sasson,  Rosalie Yu , Surya Mattu, Sam Brenner, Omer Shapira.

Sound recordings:
Rena Anakwe, Vicci Ho, T.K. Broderick, Kate Sukpisan, Só Pedro, Kina Smith, Sisa Bueno, Karam Byun, Edwin Reed-Sanchez, Michael Oneppo, Joelle Fleurantin, David Tracy , Qingyuan “Luna” Chen, Rucha M Patwardhan, Adarsh Kosuru , Kyle Greenberg, Mary Fê.



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