The NYC Subway Experience

13 03 2010

Going to a new city is very exciting and also very scary. Not having a car was a blessing in New York because the pedestrians are crazy and the cabs are worse. Our only options to get around were walking and taking the subway.

Those numbers and letters are different lines.

My friend’s job on the trip was our itinerary. She planned it weeks in advance and we had almost everything covered. My job was figuring out how to get to those places.

Thanks to our trusty guide books that were equipped with lovely subway maps, I spent 30 minutes to an hour every night or morning trying to figure out what line to go on and what stop to get off at. It makes the TTC look so bare, and very easy. The MTA is very intimidating, I mean look at this map!

And this is only Manhattan!

I should have read this blog before I left but  I didn’t find it until today!

I wanted to share some funny experiences that I… experienced. And some not so funny.

  1. First ever trip: Crazy man yelling out and when people looked at him he started yelling at them. Didn’t like people who were not white because he directed a lot of the yelling at two innocent men a few feet away. Sarah and I were afraid of the swearing and got off at the next stop and waited for the next train.
  2. A lady with 3 large purses talking to some girl about how confusing a book that the girl was holding was. She couldn’t understand any of it when she was in school apparently. The women also was putting on lipstick and reminded me of the foundation queen (see previous blog).
  3. The train stopped and within 5 seconds there was someone on the speaker telling passengers that the delay was being caused by a train just ahead of us and we would be moving along shortly. This happened a few times during the week and I was very impressed with the customer service and communication. Thumbs up! The TTC would never ever do that!
  4. We saw these guys!
  5. A very cute, blond New Yorker was very happy to hear the musicians above. He was applauding them and “was a prefect ending to his work day.” He gave them money. When he got up he told us to have a wonderful day. When we also got up at the same stop he again told us to have a wonderful day. Sarah said I should have flirted back. Oh well.
  6. When we got off at that stop, there was a big fat rat on the platform to greet us. He was cute. Other people were shrieking in horror.

Riding the MTA was a wonderful experience. As long as you do your research before you get there, there is nothing to worry about. The cars are very clean; no newspapers or litter anywhere to be seen. It makes it look like Torontonians are animals!! The communication was wonderful! They announced every stop and which direction the train was going every time the doors were opening. People just listened to their iPods and minded their own business. There were digital route maps on some trains that showed all the stops.

We also had Metrocards that you had to load money onto from machines before you got on the subway and all you had to do was swipe! It told you how much money was on your card and if you had enough for your next trip. So awesome!!

I am proud to say we didn’t get lost once! When you got above ground, that’s when it got confusing.

So my advice to you! Do your research, look at signs, get off the train if someone is cursing in your direction, don’t pick up the rats, and heaven forbid you ever take your guide book out of your bag with all those people watching 😉