New York City’s first underground train line opened in 1904, and a guy named Billy Murray wrote a song about it. A scandalicious, vaguely suggestive song that called the subway “a new lover’s lane” and “a new place at last to go spooning where lovers can love with delight.” Alternatively (or coincidentally), it could be used to “hide away from your wife.”
Spooning used to cover all types of affectionate behavior, not just the rather specific type of cuddling it’s used for now. The Detroit News explains:
The term “spooning” first appeared in Detroit newspapers in the early 1870s. It’s a term used for a wide spectrum of behavior, from a goofy love-sick crush, simply sitting with your boyfriend or girlfriend to talk privately and hold hands, to heavy making out, and beyond.
In other words, you heard it here first: Bill Murray wants you to fuck in the subway. Quote me on that.
Listen To This 1904 Song About Riding The Subway, Gothamist.