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.
2) E TRAIN
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.
3) D TRAIN
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.
4) B TRAIN
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 .
7) F TRAIN
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.