7 Must-Know Lines in New York

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Words and Images by Jo Ann Lawery–

   When you visit New York  City, one thing that every tourist must and should do at least once in their visit, is forget taking a cab, Uber or Lyft, and ride the New York  City subway. There are roughly 300 or more stations and roughly 30 lines so no matter where you are in Manhattan ,  Brooklyn, The Bronx ,  or Queens ,  there’s  a  subway station not far from you. The other boro, Staten Island  has it’s  own  transit system ,  but one of the train lines that I’m  going to tell you about can get you to the Staten Island  Ferry, which is free and runs all night, just like the subways do. You’ll  notice that the subways  are either known by letters or numbers, so don’t  look for a Red Line, Orange line or something  else. It’s  always letters or numbers in New York City .
When riding  the subway ,  remember that there are express trains, which make certain stops and local trains ,  which stop everywhere. Some of the trains are underground, others are elevated ,  above ground. Here are a few of the trains that you might be taking frequently  if you come to New York  City .

1) 7 TRAIN

    This train begins at Hudson Yards- 34th Street and 12th Avenue by the West Side Highway in Manhattan and goes all the way to the second Chinatown  in New York ,  Main Street ,  in the Flushing  section of Queens. If you’re  going to visit  Queens Zoo ,  the Highline, which ironically was where the old 9th  Avenue subway was, or if you have to catch a train at Grand Central  Station or a Megabus to either Boston, Washington  DC  or Philadelphia,  this is the train that you’ll  be  taking.


    This train runs all the way from Jamaica Center  in Queens all the way to World Trade Center  Station. After 2001, the station wasn’t in use. When it was rebuilt, they decided to keep the name of the station  rather than  name it something  else. Not only can you take this train to visit the 9-11 Memorial ,  One World Observatory ,  but if you have to take a train from Penn Station ,  or a bus from the  Port Authority Bus Terminal ,  take this train. You can also see the Museum of Modern Art here, just get off at the Fifth  Avenue  stop .  Do you have to catch a plane out of JFK  and don’t want to get a cab? The E train can get you there. Just get off at Suthphin Boulevard- JFK stop and walk upstairs  to take the Air Train to your terminal. You can use that reloadable New York  City  metro card that you brought also. Otherwise it’s $5 for a ride.


    This train makes a lot of  stops but it isn’t a local it’s  an express train. It starts at 207th Street in the Bronx, then onto Manhattan  and the final stop is Coney Island, Stillwell Avenue in Brooklyn. Besides Coney Island with its world famous amusement  park ,  the train can get you to Rockefeller  Center , 125th Street in Harlem, which you should visit.

    The train can also get you to 161st Street and River Avenue in the Bronx, home of New York’s  other baseball  team ,  the Yankees and also to Atlantic  Avenue in Downtown  Brooklyn for Barclay’s  Center, home of the New York  Nets basketball  team  and the  New York  Islanders  hockey team.



    Unlike the other trains that I mentioned, this train just happens to be a local train, which means that it stops everywhere. The B train starts at 145th Street  in Harlem  and also goes to Coney Island .  Since this is a local train, you’ll have a lot of attractions  to see when you get off the train. Let’s  begin with Central Park  and the memorial  to the late John Lennon at 72nd. street. It’s  right across the street from the Dakota House, where Lennon lived and was killed. There’s  also the Museum of Natural History at 8 1st street. You might not be interested  in  seeing dinosaurs, but this museum  has more than that.

5) 1 TRAIN


    Another local train that starts at 242nd Street and Van Cortlandt  Park, which is the second largest park in New York  City  and goes all the way down to the tip of Manhattan  at South Ferry- Whitehall Street .  You can get off at the last stop to get the Staten Island  Ferry  or even the boats that will take you to see the Statue  of  Liberty  and  Ellis  Island . Are you going to see a play on Broadway or the opera at Lincoln  Center? This is the train that you can take. The train begins underground and goes above ground at 125th and 137th street before it goes back underground  again at 145th  Street .  If you want to visit one of the most famous universities  in the country, it’s  right here at 116th street, Columbia  University .

6) 6 TRAIN 


    Another local train which begins at Pelham  Bay Parkway  in the Bronx, and ends also at the very tip of Manhattan  on Whitehall  Street .  You’ll  notice that a lot of trains seem to have many of the same stops but because  New York  City  is so spread out, just remember that the Whitehall Street for the number 6 is not the same for number 1. This particular  Whitehall Street is closer to the Brooklyn  Bridge ,  which you should take a walk on and City  Hall. You can also visit one of the country’s  largest  and  most  famous museums,  the Metropolitan  Museum  of  Art. Just get off the number 6 train at 77th Street and walk two blocks  over to 5th Avenue .



    This train, like the D train, also makes a lot of stops and it’s  not a local train. It begins in Queens at 179th Street and Hillside  Avenue , making stops in Manhattan , before ending in Brookkyn, at where else, Coney Island . The F can also get you to Rockefeller  Center ,  but it can also get you to the section that’s  partly in Manhattan  and partly in Brooklyn  known as D.U.M.B.O, which stands for Down under the Manhattan  Bridge  Overpass. If you get off at High Street in Brooklyn ,  you’ll  not only get to  see the  Brooklyn  Bridge ,  but the Manhattan  Bridge as well.

    If you’re  like me, you really don’t  want to  get  on that  pretty bright red tram that goes over the East River at 59th Street and lands at Roosevelt Island, which isn’t Queens ,  but a part of Manhattan .  You don’t  have  to .  The F train goes directly  there and believe me, you won’t  be the only one  who doesn’t  want to ride the tram, even though you can use your Metro Card . This station has one of the longest and steepest escalators  in the city. Remember  technically  you’re  under the East River.


     There are many other train lines in the city, so why not do what many New Yorkers have done in some cases  since the 1920’s and continue to do now, take the train. Get yourself either a reloadable  Metro Card , which you add money to or get yourself a weekly pass, which is $31.You can buy the reloadable  card at some stores in New York  or get it at the subway station itself, just like the weekly Metro Card. The person in the booth might have subway maps for you if you ask.


      1. A lot of people feel that way when they come to New York City . The subway isn’t as scary as people think it is. Just remember to sit in the conductor ‘ s car so he or she can answer any questions you have.

    1. No problem. The subway isn’t as scary as the movies make it out to be. We New Yorkers have been taking it and complaining about it for years.

      1. I think you New Yorkers are super smart. I come from a city of 17 million souls ( Mumbai) but I must admit I’m scared using our local trains too ! People who use them regularly have no time for rookies like me …. I did use the subway this time when I visited NYC and I must say I was scared …. I felt safer up on the road . But generally I get frightened in America- everything is so HUGE including the cops!

    1. Bumba, thank you for liking the post. The subways aren’t as bad as they’re pictured. We New Yorkers use them all the time and yeah we always complain about them, but we’d be lost without them. I’m glad I was able to bring back some memories of New York for you.

      1. I was talking with another ex New Yorker today, and he too said the trains were one of his favorite things about New York. Cheers

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