Why was it that in the gross fat country, with its obscene heaps of wealth and its even more obscene obsession with creature comforts, they were unable to create an Underground as quiet, orderly, presentable, and - well decent as... Because they were childish. So long as it was underground, out of sight, it didn't matter what it was like.To shock and stun you the Undergrounds being compared are New York and London. And no, New York isn't the "quiet, orderly, presentable and decent" one LONDON is!
Now I know the book was written in 1987 but either; Wolfe had never used the London Underground - if he had he wouldn't have picked those adjectives - or London Underground has gone down hill a hell of a lot since 1987, or New York's was in some seriously bad trouble!
Either way it's a seriously big insult to be compared to London Underground in that way - even if it was in 1987: New York you should be very ashamed - even more than us users and hosters of the 2012 olympics at the world's greatest capital city are!