The subway system of New York City is a practice in the suspension of disbelief. From the patina of aluminum past its prime and the high voltage arcing of an ancient third rail to the patchwork of tiles unevenly dimmed by incongruous eras of second-hand smoke and the lack thereof, the system exhibited one of the rarest kinds of beauty, alien to man and mathematician alike: sheer improbability. The very notion of twenty-two different trains, 840 miles of criss-crossing track and tunnels that would fill with water in minutes without a robust system of pumps was, in and of itself, the kind of thing to get one kicked out of engineering school. But that it was the primary form of transportation for a city of 8 million, a source of pride akin to the misfiring family sedan, tamed the metropolis, humanized it, gave it its reason to talk to strangers and its universally accepted excuse for being late. When such a match of dysfunctional partners creates a unit so inexplicably fruitful and lasting, we have no other word for it but beauty.