Let me start off by saying I am absolutely in love with the subway system in New York. AND I finally understand why they use it as the stage for a large amount of action-drama-thrillers. Outside of the amazing accessibility the subway provides the city, it's also underground, packed a large majority of the time, and there is no reception between stations. I kept thinking, "dude, I love this." quickly followed by, "If we got hijacked right now, we would be utterly screwed." That being said, don't let me freak you out. Not once did I feel unsafe on the subway, even if some of the people were creepy or made an awkward habit of staring unapologetically.
During my time in the city I used the subways quite a bit. I was staying with a friend in Brooklyn, but was spending most of my time exploring Manhattan. I also find it interesting that I couldn't have told your the difference between, nor the geographic location of either of those places until now. I attribute that to how much time I spent studying my map to figure out how to get from point A to point B. Shout out to Maps (Iphone) for automatically updating to show the subway systems on my phone once I landed in New York. Couldn't have done it without you Apple!
So. To start my flood of New York adventures, here is a quick little rundown to navigating the Subway, and a few tips, because we all know I'm a huge fan of not being an asshole.
1. KEEP MOVING
this one is courtesy of my beautiful, native NYC partner-in-crime. Keep. Moving. Especially on the stairs. If you need to stop, or check your phone, or look around, or whatever, just step to the side. Everyone is headed somewhere and when you hit the brakes in the middle of that traffic the odds are a pileup is soon to follow. And people really don't like that. This also refers to getting on the metro. Don't just get in the door and stop, move in please. I ask nice, but they will just push you.
2. USE YOUR BRAIN, AND WHEN THAT FAILS LOOK AT A MAP
Uptown means north, downtown means south. It's pretty basic. I do however suggest taking a gander at a map and getting your bearings as it's helpful for navigating. Also: CityMapper because apparently it's the best (I used Maps on my Iphone the entirety of my trip with no issues)
3. WHENEVER POSSIBLE JUMP ON THE 2/3
Express lines, for the win. And pretty self explanatory, I think. Local lines are going to make a million stops, so do yourself a favor and cut your time!
4. BE A GOOD HUMAN*
when someones grandma - or mom for that matter - gets on.. get your young butt up and give them your seat. Unless you have a doctors note, you can stand.
5. DON'T TRIP
My dad is the king of this statement, and in recent years I've done my best to adopt it. Seriously, though, just breathe. The metro is pretty simple. It took me less than three days to get the hang of it and to feel confident in my moving about the city. Plus, there are so many stops if you miss yours, or go the wrong direction, just get off and re route! easy peasy.
6. DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK
Okay, I know the east coast boasts this intimidating, just-dont, persona, but truth be told under all the noise is just another human. I bet if you asked, they would be hard pressed to shut you down or turn you away.
I think it's also worth a mention, for those of you who are first time explorers of this great city, to keep your metro card somewhere safe and keep refilling it. It's only a dollar to get a new one, but hey, that's half a ride to somewhere fun!
*According to my local-native friend, being a good human should not extend to you swiping your metro card for someone else, as you can and will be ticketed.
Stay wild -- stay safe and adventure on beauties!