Thursday, October 23, 2008
How to work the NYC Subway...
Have you ever looked at a NYC subway map or any map and have those two punctuation marks come up over your head? Well you are definitely not alone! Well I've lived in NYC all my life and sometimes the subway still is confusing due to the numerous changes and weekend and late night changes etc. But don't fret because it's fairly easy to decipher. Why bother with the subway well that's because that's how most New Yorkers get around. You'll miss out on the subway entertainment and it's a WHOOPING 2 DOLLARS a ride that can take you almost anywhere in the city. BTW if you are confused and want to show it those nifty earrings in the first picture is by www.beadedfrog.etsy.com!! Check it out yo!
Say hi to the Metro Card. HI! This is how you get in and out of both the subway and bus lines. It's 2 bucks a ride and they sell metro cards in two ways. One is the pay per ride... you know pop in 4 bucks you get 2 rides etc. There is the unlimited ride which is you pay a certain amount and you can use it unlimited for how many days its set for (1 week, 1 day, 1 month) here's the tricky part with unlimited once you use it you cannot use it for another 19 minutes! So don't think you can just keep swiping you and your buddies though in one shot!
There are machines to get the cards and they come in different languages. There's the smaller machine for charge cards too. Which one should I get? Depends... for example I buy a monthly that's 81 bucks for 30 days. I use it a total of about 2x a day which is 30x 2 = 60 and times that by 2 bucks a ride = to $120 well I just saved myself a good 40 bucks there by getting the 81 monthly card. Get my drift?
Okay second off is where can I get those darn subway maps? Well for one there's one on the MTA NYC site... click it to get there... the site is simple to navigate. What's nifty is that they have pretty accurate updates on the subways like if there's a stalled subway or police investigation etc. Don't be too anxious about the police investigation NYC is relatively safe if you use some common sense.
You can print one out there or you can go to the manned booths and they usually give you one too. Also a lot of those NYC tourist books include a subway and bus map. Also there is a map at every subway station inside and outside and also in every car there is suppose to have a map too. Some of the newer subways trains have a lighted up projection on top that shows the stops and also tells you what stops it is on. Many of the subway stations look like the photo by www.eldphoto.etsy.com!! They have a green bulb that says its open or a red one that says its closed!
Here's a snippet of legend on the map. The full map is HERE. Basically the trains are categorized by color, number or letter and shape (diamond or circle). There are local trains which run every stop and express which only goes to the most busiest stops. The map is pretty self explanatory. If you read the legend... every black dot has the name and also any other subway lines that are found there, that also means you can transfer from those subway lines.
The subway station itself is a bit confusing but there are signs everywhere to tell you where to go. Note: Make sure you are on the right side of the platform Downtown vs. Uptown. For example: If you want to go from 42nd st. to 34th st. you would be going "downtown." Vice versa would be uptown. If you look at the map whatever stops are above a station are considered "uptown" and the ones below are considered "downtown."
The first thing to do is to locate where you are and locate where you want to go and find out which line connects them both. Note: there are streets that have multiple stops on them... i.e. 42nd street Times Square is different from 42nd street Grand Central! Double check if you are looking at the right stations. Second after you locate it, determine if you need to transfer or does that line go straight from point A to point B. Check that you're on the right platform (downtown/uptown) and that its the subway line you need.
Once the train comes which can vary from once every 10 minutes to once every hour depending on the line and whether its rush hour or not (rush hour times: mornings 8am-10am/ school times around 3pm/ evenings: 5pm - 8pm) those are the times I generally notice a lot more people. You are on your way! For those who want to look at a subway map and not want to look like they're completely lost get one of those nifty notebooks by www.brooklynbookbinder.etsy.com! There are two conductors in every train and the one that operates the doors is around the middle to lower half of the train. They also stick their heads out... so if you are still unsure you can ask them real quick "is this the train to so and so" and they will answer you. Love the photo of a conductor by berkleyillustration's shop! A lot of subway booths have 24 hour personal so you can ask them. Or if you're already in the train you can ask fellow New Yorkers... we're not as evil as people portray us! In fact almost every day someone asks about subway directions in the subway and people are actually more then happy to answer. Well maybe not like sunny cheerful with rainbows and gumdrops happy but they won't ignore you. Every where you go there's always help if you ask and know. I'm no expert but hopefully this helps! If anything is wrong with this or you have more questions you can comment etc!
Have fun in New York City Subway System!