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New York Subway
New York City's subway is America's oldest and largest public transit system. And from my experience, it's the best. No breakdowns or delays. And you just have not experience New York City until you've been on the subway.
- Budget Travel
The Most Confusing Subway in the World
New York probably has the most famous, and at the same time most infamous, subway on Earth. What makes it so famous is that New York's subway system is the largest in the world in terms of miles of tunnels and tracks. It stretches to all the five boroughs and is extremely convenient if you are traveling around Manhattan which almost all tourists do. It is also very fast when compared to other methods of transportation available. However there are problems that make New York's subway system infamous. Firstly I will talk about a myth. New York's subway is not crime ridden as it is sometime protrayed in movies and television. I was surprised by how busy it was late at night and I have never felt threatened on the system. There is another problem for those not used to traveling on the subway in New York. It is the fact that many of the various lines travel along the same tracks for a certain number of stations. This may mean you might be intending on hoping on the A train and end up on the D train which might take you to entirely different location that you intended upon going to. Alway pay attention to the name of the train as it approaches the station. You may hope on the wrong train. Another problem is the fact that many trains are express trains. This means that they may skip stations where you wanted to get off. Again pay attention before you get on.
New York has recently introduced a card system which will give you a certain amount rides at cost or for a period of time suggest as a week or 30 days. A single ride is $2.00. A week long pass is quite affordable and recommended for tourists.
I have noticed in my most resent trip to New York that the stations in Midtown and Downtown have been considerable cleaned up and restored. This certainly makes them less threatening. However I also noticed when I visited the Cloister up at the top of Manhattan Island that the stations up there where in very poor shape. Riders might want to take care up here. If I were a robber, this is where I would practice my trade.
New York Subway
Taking the New York subway was much easier than we had hoped. For one thing, get a Metro map when you arrive in NY - the one I printed off the internet was too small to be useful. The subway will get you to (or close to) anywhere you want to go, and can even get you to the train station if you need to go further. :-) Fare is $2.50 each way (no matter how far you go), but the easier way is to get a MetroCard from the machines in the terminal. You decide how much to load onto the card (if you load $20, they add an extra $1.40), then you can just reuse the card until it is empty or you can reload the card.
The subway cars were clean (ish), and very fast. Who needs a car when you have such cheap and reliable public transportation? I wish we had one in Nashville!
Insect and Birds Ride the Subway
“There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm.”
— Theodore Roosevelt, (1858-1919) founder of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, his hometown
The 81th Street subway stop serves the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West and West 81th Street.
As an acknowledgment of the location, the walls of the subway station at West 81th and Central Park West feature mosaics in the forms of insects, birds, reptiles and other creatures. My favorite are the parrots perched on the stair rail (see photo #4).
Ride New York’s subway system. It saves money; it saves energy; it is entertaining.
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Long Island Railroad
It connects to Manhattan at 34th street and 7th ave. If you want to go to the Nassau Coliseum to see a hockey game, baseket ball game, or concert. Plus in the summer they have vacation packages to various parts of Long Island including a mystery cruise.
Okay, I take the Q train to 42nd, and then what?
NYC may seem overwhelming because of it's size and so many places! Don't worry! You will be fine! I put traveling on one of my chapters, because I believe it needed a lot of attention. It is very simple to get around this city. There are subway stations everywhere. When you see the signs, it will list the trains serviced in that area. There are bus stops everywhere with the schedules and routes. If for any reason you feel lost, don't panic. Look for an officer or official in uniform. If you cannot find one, go into a shop or restaurant and kindly ask for directions. Believe it or not, I asked people on the street, and they were very kind to help me. I have to say the people in NYC were very accomodating and helpful.
Great apps and websites for NYC travel
If you have a droid phone, consider downloading for free the NYC Mate application. It has great maps/routes of the subway and the various bus lines in each borough. I use it several times a week and it is really handy. This in combination with www.hopstop.com, into which you can put in addresses and ask for the best routes (subway/bus and/or walking) is really fabulous.
- Budget Travel
Your first metro ride
I found the subway in New York surprisingly easy to use, and quite affordable: if you are staying for more than 4 days, it's actually worth getting the weekly pass. However, when I first arrived in New York, I was caught out by 2 things that made the whole "first experience" one that I'd rather not repeat.
1. The entrances for the subways are for one direction only - which makes it very difficult when you realise that you're on the wrong platform only after you've gone through the turnstiles. You'd think it would be a rather simple solution, right? You just go out, walk across the road, then get on the train. Only problem with that, is that the machine won't let you through! You either have to walk up/downtown to the next subway entrance, or ask the attendant to let you in (from the long-suffering and unimpressed look I was getting from the lady at the ticket machine, they must get that a lot!). So, the tip: always make sure you are going in the right direction BEFORE popping your ticket in, it will save you time and hassle.
2. No stairs, so no matter how cheap using the subway is (which is wonderful if you're on a tight budget), if you're carrying a large and/or heavy suitcase that has wheels and doesn't convert to a backpack, I advise not using the subway (unless you have someone nice and strong to carry it for you or want to work out your muscles)
- Budget Travel
Subway is the Way to Go
This is the main link and hub of getting around for about 5-6 million daily. It has lines running in all, and every direction and on all the different islands. They also connect to those other burroughs. Fee cost is $1.75 one way, and transfers 50 cents, but tickets can be purchased for the week, month, etc.
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World's Most Extensive Subway System
The New York subway dates as far back as the late 19th century, and today the cars seem rather quaint and somewhat rundown. The stations have ancient riveted and painted steel columns holding up the street and high rise buildings above. Although Moscow, Tokyo, and Seoul enjoy greater daily ridership, New York has the most extensive system of tracks of any urban metro system. New York claims it's metro system is larger than all the other such rail systems in the United States COMBINED. Certainly, in terms of ridership, New York leads all other cities in the USA, and if other city systems a limited to the single umbrella of their rail metro, New York's track system is indeed expansive. New York's system functions 24/7 for a nominal passenger price, so forget the rental car or taxi, New York's subway provides the easiest and safest way to get around town. With exception of a few corners in the Bronx, Brooklyn, or Queens, the rest can be walked. As a result, New York's metro trains are filled with all manner of dress, from the lowest immigrant and hip hop baseball cap, to the loftiest banker business suit with umbrella hooked on one arm.
However, while New York's system is impressive and seemingly complete, no public transport system is perfect in design and function, and I find that the New York public transport system suffers in particular for its lack of alternative rapid and clean surface transport. Finding a station and riding underground for a short distance can be a chore at times. New York's grid of broad streets and avenues tangle diesel buses, taxis, auto, and truck traffic into one thick jam at rush hour. Another criticism I have is with New York's access to New Jersey and other parts of the Northeast. Heavy rail connections between New York, New Jersey and other parts of the Northeast are among the nations fastest diesel and electric powered trains, but these could be greatly improved both in terms of hardware and scheduling. Amtrak and other traditional rail systems aren't exactly "bullet" trains, and service on the nights and weekends is sparse or absent, leaving New York an inaccessible island if it weren't for a motley collection of jitney buses sponsored by the Port Authority.
While New Orleans clings to the antique electrified trolley car system, The Street Car Named Desire* having long since been swapped to San Francisco in trade for a motionless museum quality Cable Car, most American cities, including San Diego, Houston, Saint Louis, Sacramento, Charlotte, and others I have developed cheap surface light rail trolley systems that unfortunately really don't compare in service with a high speed dedicated rail transport system. I personally have no experience on Philadephia's SEPTA, Miami Metrorail, or the Washington, D.C. Metro Transit systems, but I've ridden on others-- the Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta rapid electrical multiple unit (EMU) heavy rail passenger systems, and these are all unique and worth a system wide ride as a comparison to that of New York. I invite New Yorker's to correct my misperceptions by VTmail, as I know I've probably overlooked many aspects of the NYC system.
For pure service efficiency my home San Francisco Bay area system compares most favorably with that of New York. Like NYC and the Northeast, the Bay Area has an improving traditional network of commuter diesel trains linking San Jose and Sacramento to San Francisco, known at the Caltrain and Capitol Corridor trains, respectively, and then there's the ACE commuter train between Stockton direct to San Jose's Silicon Valley. The most important of these Bay Area diesel rail systems is Caltrain, which starts at Gilroy at the bottom of the Santa Clara Valley, traverses north through San Jose, important Silicon Valley cities, cities south of San Francisco in San Mateo County, before ending in the city, having several stations in San Francisco itself, including a large terminal station in China Basin within walking distance of the Giant's Baseball Stadium. It's also worth mentioning that San Jose and Silicon Valley Cities also have VTA, a 62 stop light rail system, including a direct transfer station for the Stockton destine ACE train, and for Caltrain stations in San Jose and Mountain View. Currently, Caltrain provides a maximum of five trains per hour during peak commute times on it's locomotive based rail system. This system has plans to transition by 2015 from the diesel locomotive system to an all-electric rail EMU system, to improve speed, frequency, and comfort, and to reduce cost, noise, and pollution. The busy Grand Central Station junction between region trains and New York's metro contrasts with the individualized terminals of the Bay Area trains, where CalTrain's San Francisco Terminal has access only to the MUNI N Judah train.
Then, of course, there's the well known and excellent electric rail and 24/7 BART train system, which services a region geographically larger than New York City. BART's stainless steel cars are on a very stable 6 foot wide rail base, and the upholstered seats more comfortable than the hard plastic seats on the graffiti marked New York metro cars. BART has at four downtown stations with excellent cross dock access to the SF MUNI train system--a smaller network of cars similar in size and comfort to NYC metro--plus both BART and MUNI stations have excellent access to surface transport of antique trolley cars running along Market Street, the old fashioned tourist oriented Cable Cars beginning at the foot of Powell Street, and SF extensive overhead wire electric bus system.
Both New York and San Francisco are investing heavily in diesel hybrid and CNG buses to reduce street level air pollution, but San Francisco's crammed streets have an overhead wire electric bus system that is quiet and completely polllution free at the street level.
Both New York and San Francisco have, in my opinion, poor rail to ferryboat transfer, where the passenger must brave weather and street traffic to board ferryboats. Also, while some systems have improved access at the station, no city in the USA that I know of provides ready access to a cell phone signal, much less free WIFI, while passenger aboard train, bus, or ferryboat.
Oldest and Dirtiest Subway!
The New York Subway is either famous or notorious depending on who is saying it. It is the largest Subway system in the World although not the most efficient not the cleanest and though it is known as "the subway", about 40% of the system runs on above-ground right-of-way (the system is almost entirely underground in Manhattan, as well as portions in the other boroughs), including steel or cast iron elevated structures, concrete viaducts, embankments, open cuts and surface routes.
Again, together with its bus operations, it is the most extensive public transportation system in the world, with 468 reported passenger stations,(or 422 if stations connected by transfers are counted as one), 656 miles (1056 km) of revenue track, and a total of 842 miles (1355 km) including non-revenue trackage. The subway is also notable for being among the few rapid transit systems in the world to run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Among the ten busiest systems in the world in terms of annual passenger traffic, it is the only one to hold such a distinction, setting it apart from cities such as London, Paris, Tokyo, and Moscow. Current New York City Transit Authority fare for local and limited stop buses and trains is nominally $2, Unlimited cards for 1-day (Fun Pass) ($7), 7-days ($24), and 30-days ($76) are also available. Subway turnstiles accept only MetroCard (The MetroCard is the main form of fare payment, which is a magnetic stripe card that can be in any amount from $4 to $80)
I usually ride it in roosevelt avenue/jackson heights station in woodside queens since it is near where my uncle lives. Roosevelt ave also houses a number of Filipino Restaurants like the Perlas ng Silanganan (my favorite but now closed).
- Budget Travel
Do not be intimidated by the NYC subway system. It's actually a very reliable, efficient and SAFE mode of transportation and you can generally get anywhere within 30 minutes.
I suggest getting a map of the subway system (free) from any conductor booth and review it to get your bearings. You'll see where each line runs and where the subway stops are located. Most stops are within easy walking distance of any location, especially since the local stops are usually 10 blocks apart. The easiest way to get across town is by bus, as only the L train and 7 train really run east to west. If possible, don't take the subway prior to 9:30a, to avoid the chaos of rush hour when many of the trains are extremely crowded.
Purchase a MetroCard at any station and you're on your way! As of Oct. 2010, bus and subway will cost $2.50 one-way/$5.00 round-trip. Most subway lines run north-south along an avenue (A, C, E runs along 8th Ave.; 1, 9 runs along Broadway; F runs along 6th Ave.; 4, 5, 6 runs down Lexington Ave.), so as long as you know the cross-streets for where you are headed, you should easily be able to plan your route. If you have access to the internet, you can also try using hopstop.com - just plug in your starting/ending addresses and it will tell you the fastest way to get where you're going by taxi, subway, bus or walking!
Keep your valuables close to you and don't take up too much room - during rush hour the trains get extremely crowded and locals won't hesitate to push and shove to gain some personal space. Also, keep your feet and bags off the seats (you can be fined; plus, it's just not nice).
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SUBWAY and tickets
The single tickets for subway or buses cost 2.25$ but get a metrocard depending on how long you are staying in New York. You will likely need to take the subway every day at least twice (each fare is $2).
The daily metrocard costs $8.25 but if you are staying 5 days or more it is more economical to take a 1-week unlimited metrocard ($27) that you can use on buses too. Transfers between bus and subway are free during two hours of travel with a simple ticket.
Usually, there are machines at the stations with a simple menu to give you your metrocard and you can also use coins. I felt much more comfortable with the metrocard, no wasting time for tickets all the time (some times there are looong queues)
I don’t know what they say about NY subway but we didn’t have any trouble using the subway even after midnight. It is much dingier that in Europe but fast and safe. Hopefully, it runs 24 h so it was very helpful. Always have a subway map with you and take a look at it before you leave the hotel so to know where everything is, if you have to change lines etc The only problem that some times the trains were crowded (pic 3 shows an empty one but it's off peak hour) and the stations no so well signposted.
Subway stops are much closer together here than in Europe and every north south avenue has a bus service as well. There are crosstown busses no more than 7-8 blocks apart as well and we used them many times just to be a few blocks away and relax our feet for a while.
New York City Subway
The NYC subway is a wonder. Sure, it can be frustrating, with the ever-hiking fares (we're at $2.25 a ride right now), crowded trains, and weekend construction that messes up the schedules. But, in terms of reliability and effectiveness, it's better than any other subway system in the country, in my experience.
Although I do highly recommend the subway to visitors, I understand how it might be a little intimidating to the New York City newcomer. The MTA site has maps and schedules but personally I find it a little hard to navigate if you're not already familiar. A more consumer-friendly website is www.nysubway.com, which has some helpful articles on how Metrocards work (the subway no longer takes tokens), how to use mass transit to get to the NYC airports, etc. Best of all, it has an interactive map that can help you more easily find the route to your destination.
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Forget the car
If traffic and other things were not enough to convince me not to have a car in NYC, the parking rates would. In the photo, you can see one place in Manhattan offering a special rate – of $9 for a half hour! With the ease of navigating the NY Subway, the cost of parking, the traffic and the pleasure of walking, don’t even think about bringing a car in.
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New York City Travel Guide
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