A New York’s subway adventure

New York city has one of the most complicated subway networks I have ever seen in my life. It’s one of the first thing you have to learn about when you arrive to the city: how does this system work?

New York Subway system: a quick review.

First of all, the New York City subway is a three or four tracks system. That means that in each tunnel or aerial lines you have three or four tracks instead of two, that are more common in European cities like Madrid or Paris. This has one advantage: you can have more than one line in each tunnel because trains can overtake each other. So, the first thing you learn is that you have Local or Express trains. Especially in Manhattan, there are trains that don’t stop in every station, only a few ones. Those are the express trans. In the other hand you have the local trains that stop in every station. So, if you have to take a local train to arrive to your destiny but the next local train is a lot of minutes away, you can take an express train and hope that when you arrive to other station you can reach a local train, that can make your trip faster!

Other important characteristic of the New York Subway is that it works 24/7. No matter when you want to use it, the stations are open, and trains are operating. Maybe you have to wait 20 to 30 minutes for the next train if it’s very late (or soon).

The problem.

BUT, these two things, putting together cause something: because there is no time to do maintenance works on the tracks and tunnels, they make it on weekends and holidays. And because there is more than one track on the tunnels, trains can arrive on another track. So, if you are planning going somewhere, especially during the weekend or holidays and this place is far away from you, you better check the service status! This is FUNDAMENTAL. For that you can download the app “MYmta” and check the status of the lines.

This summer a friend of me and I wanted to go to the beath, from West Harlem to Rockaway Beach it takes 1h30 on the subway… IF everything is ok. We made the unforgiveable mistake of not checking the status and we spend 2h30 on the subway! But we finally arrived at the beach. It was the last beach day of the summer, and we weren’t going to lose the opportunity!

My advice.

Therefore, if I can give you one and only one advice for using the subway is: check the status before taking the train!

Jesus Verastegui


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