Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New York : Going uptown,downtown,east or west - Mastering the concrete jungle of NYC

The key when trying to DIY a big city is to check how well connected is the city through its Metro/LRT/MRT or City train.
One of the secret for a budget take in touring the Big Apple is to know the Subway system - no need for expensive tour services because you can craft your own itinerary and reach any point within the 5
boroughs for just $2+

Now let's get to the nitty gritty of using one of the famous icon of New York - the Subway

The subway uses transport cards that you slide into the card slots in the turnstile very much similar to our own MRT & LRT. 
Tickets can be bought in ticket vending machines in all stations. You can buy the regular Pay per Ride card which you can refill or you can opt for an Unlimited Ride which comes in 7 days and 30 days pass. The same transport card can also be used for bus rides.
Since you will mostly be out and about in the city that never sleeps, the unlimited ride cards might prove to be a good deal.
Subway Ride cost: $2.25  ($2.50 for single ride ticket - one time use). While the train service from the airport - JFK Airtrain costs $5.

In the era of smart phones or popularly known iPhones, download a free NYC Subway map that you can use to plot your train journey. This will be a big help since the train system of New York is humongous - literally. Try to ask any MTA officer in the stations for a map, you can have it framed and used as a wall decor in your living room after your trip. Using a subway map app will make you look less conspicous aside from being handy and easy to use.

Now that you are ready for your first subway ride, first you must determine the direction that you need to go to. If you are in Manhattan that is either downtown or uptown. Downtown basically means going south (toward Brooklyn) while Uptown is going north (towards Bronx). Make sure to go to the right platform so you can ride the correct train.

Ooopss..not that easy remember NYC subway is ONE BIG SYSTEM and there are train services that use the same track or platform. Before riding the train make sure that you are riding the correct one by checking the train number displayed. Also they have what they call as express service, once you noticed that train number is enclosed in a diamond it's an express train. An express train takes the same route but will not stop at certain stations.

Take this portion of the NY subway map,for example you are in 14St. Union Square and you want to go to Grand Central Terminal. How do you do it?
Take trains 4,5 or 6 (Green Line) with the direction going to Uptown and alight at  42 St. Grand Central Terminal

photo from:

Another example, after munching on Crumbs cupcake at Grand Central,  now you want to walk around NYU
How do you do it? Take train 4,5 or 6 (Green line) with the direction going Downtown and alight at 14 St. Union Square and transfer to train Q, R or W (Yellow line) - you  have to follow the signage inside in the subway station for the platform of these trains with the direction going Downtown and alight at your destination 8 St. NYU

Are you now ready to conquer New York on a Subway?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this very helpful tips.. Yes! I'm very much ready to conquer the big apple.. I just don't know when.. lols! :)