Friday, May 31, 2013

I Get Around (Big Apple Chronicles-Day 6)

Hubby Tony and I didn't have a car during our recent New York vacation.  Instead, we relied on the subway system.

The subway in New York City is one of the largest in the world, with 468 stations on 34 lines designated by a number or letter and grouped by colors.  It's extensive, but we've used transit systems in other big cities, so I was confident we could figure out this one, too.

I did a small amount of the navigating, but mostly left the job to Tony (who enjoys the task).  He did a great job of figuring out which train we needed to be on and when we should transfer to a new one. Although I dabbled with using our smartphones to plan the trips, I found it hard to see the maps on the small screen.  Tony went old school.  We got a map from the hotel front desk when we checked in.  Halfway through the week the paper was in tatters, and the second one was in the same shape when we left.

Before we could ride on the subway we needed to buy a MetroCard.  There were several options available; even though we would only be using it six days we we chose the 7-Day Unlimited card. According to a fare chart we referred to, taking 13 trips would bring the cost per ride down below the standard price of $2.50.  Our passes did end up being cost-effective, but even if we hadn't used them quite as much as we planned it was a good idea; we didn't like the idea of loading more money on the cards when we wanted to get somewhere in a hurry.

It didn't take long before I was swiping through the turnstiles like a pro.  Once we got past the turnstiles we had to figure out where to go.  Some stations had more than one platform that served different lines.  We learned to look at the overhead signs at the platform entrance and over the tracks to see which trains stopped there, and at the arriving train to see which one it was.  Of course once we were on the train we had to figure out where to get off.  Sometimes it was hard to hear the conductor when they announced the stops, but we could just look at the station walls, where the name was predominantly displayed.

Most of our trips were pretty straightforward.  They involved getting on the subway and getting off when we reached our destination.  A few involved changing trains once, but there was one elaborate excursion where we got on an express route by mistake, got off at the next stop and found the correct one, then transferred two more times to get to where we wanted to go.  Whew!  A couple of times we got the "true" subway experience when we got on a crowded car during rush hour and had to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other riders.

Highlights of Vacation Day 6:
  • Ate breakfast in room (granola, yogurt, fruit)
  • Took subway to Central Park
  • Guided bike tour of Central Park
  • Ate lunch at a diner
  • Took subway to Chelsea neighborhood
  • Did souvenir shopping at Chelsea Market 
  • Back to hotel for a nap
  • Rode subway to Prospect Park in Brooklyn
  • Listened to free music in park

Five years ago today: New thing #141--Lunch Adventure


  1. wow that's a complicated looking system!

    1. We stayed mainly in Manhattan, so we only navigated part of it :-)

  2. I have fond memories of riding the NYC subways. You can get around quite easily and a car really isn't necessary!

  3. Ahhh... You were on vacation too! I always find subways so difficult to figure out. Thank goodness my husband almost enjoys figuring the connections. It wasn't easy in Hong Kong. Thank you for your kind messages while I was gone and cut off from my blog while in China, Kathy!

    1. May must have been a good time to get away :-)