I thought the New York Subway would be a walk in the park. I’m used to the mysterious ways of the Tube, surely nothing could surprise me?
Well, I was wrong. To everyone else who is heading to New York and hasn’t given the subway a second thought, here are my top tips for you. Because things may not be as easy as they seem…
Some stops are named twice
Some subway stops are called different things on different lines. For example, I totally missed getting off at Union Square because it was called 14 Street on the line we were on. Spoiler alert, it’s quite a long walk between subway stops. And I made this mistake more than once. Sorry, Emma.
Some stops are double decker stops
There is no such thing as a double decker stop on any metro system I’ve ever been on. At all. So I just didn’t think to check for another platform when waiting for a train. Emma and I stood like lemons waiting for a train that came (and left) on a lower level that we had no idea existed. Cue a 20 minute wait for the next subway… Which leads me to my next point.
There are sometimes really long gaps between trains
I’m used to 2 or 3 minutes until the next tube. Perhaps 4 on a particularly bad day. I was not prepared for such long gaps between trains – particularly as so many different lines run through the same stations. That’s because…
There are fast lines and slow lines
Take, for example, the green line. However the green line is not just one line. Running along the green line you have three different lines; the 4, 5 and 6. They all stop at different places. Some are slow and stop at all stations (the 6), some are express and stop at only a couple (4 and 5) but end up at vastly different terminuses. You need to be quite sure you’re on the right one, which can be tricky due to the fact that…
There aren’t always displays on the platforms
Meaning you have no idea what train is coming next, when it’s coming, or where it’s going. This is a bit of a problem when you’re trying to account for all of the above. However, I learned (possibly a bit too late) that…
There is an app! And free wifi at stations!
If you download the MTA app, it tells you exactly which train is coming next, what platform, where it stops… You can plan the quickest route to your destination and generally feel a little bit more in control. All this is possible thanks to the free wifi at stations which is easy to connect to, and fast. Hallelujah. Just as long as you have a smartphone, that is.
The rats are huge
If you think you’ve seen big rats, you ain’t seen nuffin ’til you’ve been to New York. The dainty little mice that dash around the tracks on the tube look positively quaint in comparison to the beasts that lumber around the tracks of the New York subway. I still found them intriguing to watch; but if you’re not a fan of rodents you may disagree.
And those are my subway tips for those more used to travelling on the tube. I’m afraid I have no actual practical tips for you about the best ticket to buy or how to avoid weirdos because I never figured that out. Sorry.
Have you ever been to New York? Any subway tips you can pass on?
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