New York Subway


I grew to be comfortable with the subway system in New York City pretty young and to this day have never taken the bus. The bus system is also mapped nicely and SHOULD be easy for me to use. It also offers the chance to see the shops and buildings along the route, although the street traffic slows down the trip. I just never have opted to take a bus.

A few things I noticed about the subway in New York last week compared to trips taken in earlier years—the system seemed cleaner, the feeling was one of safety and there were more air conditioned cars. 

Many stations have manned booths for ticket purchases but there are also kiosks in the wall that take cash and/or credit cards, offering single, round-trip and combination of tickets purchases. It was easy to purchase a card that gave us $20 of trips and then to supplement with single ticket purchases as we completed our trip there.

Subway stations have been getting renovated and some now have decor that relates to something in the vicinity. This was part of our “home station” decor near the Museum of Natural History.

Ever since I read the story about Joshua Bell playing his Stradivarius in the Washington Metro and being ignored, I try to take a few minutes to listen to subway musicians. Within a short time you can assess if they are worth paying attention to for a while and a small tip is a nice way to encourage them to continue sharing their art so others can enjoy.Ridership has been increasing and recently are now higher than highest levels established in 1950. Daily weekday ridership is over 5 million!!! Crowds, of course, depend on time of day and where your route is headed. This was during rush hour. It was NOT this crowded all the time and I often was able to get a seat when we entered the car.

In the past three years I have used subway systems in New York, Boston, London and Paris. All had their differences but all had easy to read maps that made route selection work well. Handicap accessibility is provided more often in the United States but even in New York not every station was accessible. The Subway website provides information about each station in the system.

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5 Responses to New York Subway

  1. Gunta says:

    I used to hate relying on the subway in Boston. The waiting in the cold and all the delays. From friends I haven’t that it’s improved much over the years. I know it’s wasteful, but so much more convenient to hop in the car and go. Of course not living in a big city helps because there are virtually no parking problems.

    • OUr last two trips to Boston were in the spring. This past year the access was outside but the weather was superb. The earlier time we were closer to downtown so the access was underground out of the weather. In contrast, driving in 2 years ago, we were stuck in a traffic jam 30 mile sout of downtown Boston! People using public transportation would go a long way to decreasing that kind of mess.

      • Gunta says:

        I totally agree that more public transportation is needed. It might even be nice to have some out here in the boonies. I was just remembering the bad aspects and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m spoiled by being able to hop into the car whenever I wish. I hit really heavy traffic at about the western border of Massachusetts during my visit last fall. I never made it into the city at all, just enjoyed the visit to the outer suburbs with good friends. Big cities simply don’t do it for me anymore.

  2. Samuel Wood says:

    It has been years since I visited New York so I can’t comment on the subway system there. I am used to the Montreal, London and Paris networks. All, of course, have their problems though those of Paris and Montreal seem to be the best functioning (something about the French?), but I could not imagine living in a city without one. Not just because I’m not fond of driving, but because on the metro I can lose yourself in a book or just take in the sights offered by my fellow travellers. In Montreal, the system sells itself with the line ‘Mouvement Collectif” which suggest that we’re all in it together. That is something I understand. Also, it can be so much less stressful than driving; I have noticed that I think heavy traffic is somehow my responsibility, while if the metro is delayed, well there’s nothing I can do about it, so I may as well take it as an enforced break.

  3. One big thing that convinced me to use mass transit for our trip was the huge increase in the tolls into the City as well as the ridiculous price of parking, let alone the hassle of driving. Taking the train from New Jersey and the subway in the city worked great. We did more walking and I think it could be urban dwellers may get more excerise than us lazy hop-in-the-car (I’m with you all too often Gunta) suburbanites.

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