The graffiti was scrawled on plastic sheeting that covered the walls and windows of the subway car rather than on the walls and windows themselves. The atmosphere was festive, not grim. The air conditioning was working. People riding the train—and dancing to Prince and other vintage tracks—thought nothing of waving around pocket computers (a.k.a. cellphones) that cost a few hundred bucks and would be easy targets for an enterprising thief.
In other words, it was nothing like the 1980s.