The Trouble with New York City’s Subways

There are so many things that New York City does better then the rest of the world. I love living near the city. When people ask me where I am from and I tell them NY they are always excited to hear about it. Part of the reason I am so determined to learn as much about it as possible is to be able to share more. To be an expert on my city and then be able to help other people explore it better.

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We have the best pizza in the world.
Hands down NYC pizza is unlike any in the states. You can walk into any pizzeria ( and there are tons on every street) and you wont be let down.
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We are open later then anyone else.
From 24 hour dinners to bars that never close, you can find something to do at any time in NY. It isnt even like that in most other major cities in the US or around the world. Come on London! You can’t have a metro that runs past midnight?! Unacceptable. You have the last night bus at 230am? Or your stranded. It is so weird to me, being from a place that things never stop running, to go to big cities that shut down at midnight.
When I was in Boston a few years ago the last train ran at midnight as well. No one goes out past midnight? Seems irrational to me.
Travelling around has made me notice one of the MAJOR things New York City did not seem to get right is the subway system.
I have been living in NY for more then half my life at this point and I still have trouble with the subway system. Meanwhile I was in Paris/Brussels/London for less then a day and knew exactly how to get from one side of the city to the other.
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WHY NEW YORK?
¬†Why must you have such a confusing subway? Why can’t the maps be easier to understand? Why can’t they cross each other at major points? Is it necessary for me to have to get out and change lines so many times? These are just a few questions I have had to ask myself when taking the subway. I have been spending a lot of time down in Battery Park. In order to get there I have to switch trains and its a 10 minute walk from one line to the next. Anyone who has spent anytime in the subway in the summer can understand you feel like you’re suffocating as you walk through. It is ungodly hot down there.
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A major problem is nothing seems to run on time and you have no idea which train is coming because multiple lines will meet on the same tracks.At the entrance to every subway in London/Paris/Brussels there is a list of all the stops it will make. If you do not see your stop then you are on the wrong side. How easy is that?
NYC puts a map on the wall of EVERY subway line with a little red circle indicating where you are on the map. How am I supposed to gather from that which way I am going? Uptown, Downtown? WHAT THE HELL NEW YORK.
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I started using a really great app called NYC SUBWAY. It has really been useful when making my way through the subways. There’s also HOPSTOP which is incredibly popular and free as well. Both are really helpful in trying to navigate yourself through the city. Just type in where you are going and it comes up with a route for you!
Some subway lines have started using electronic boards to let you know when your train is arriving which helps when multiple lines are on a track. Not enough of the stops have them yet.
Have you been on NYC’s subways? Do you find them better or worse then other cities?

2 Comments

  • I have New York roots but haven’t lived there since I was a kid. As an adult and essentially an out of towner, I am always perplexed at how the NYC train system is one of the best and one of the worst at the same damn time. Like why is there always weekend track work on the lines I need to take? How are entire stations shut down for such work? And most frustratingly, why can’t I go directly from Brooklyn to Queens without having to go thru Manhattan??? And of course my family is on the farthest ends of the line. 2+ hours on the train…30 minutes by car…UGgggggggh!!!
    All that to say your post is spot on…

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