Whenever people think of the New York City subway system, they are often intimidated by its complexity. Although the subway system does tend to “look” like a challenge to navigate, once you establish a certain foundation; getting around New York City is easy.
New York City has been featured in many great films and commercials, most of which depict the subway system as this dark hole of confusion and terror. However, they often forget the many signs, maps, and staff available to help. Apart from these great tools to facilitate your daily or visiting commute, here are a few tips to help you get around New York City:
As always, planning ahead always helps!
No matter where you are, planning your trip/commute is crucial. Take a few minutes the day before to make getting around NYC easy. With great tools such as Google Maps, HopStop, or even Trips123, your trip to a new part of New York City will be easy. If you are a tourist coming to have some fun in NYC, Google Maps is a handy tool to use. It is a great tool since it has the option to travel by foot, car, or public transportation. So if you know how to get to New York Penn Station, you can input the remaining part of your trip and use New York City’s public transportation to get you to your destination. EASY!
Now for the subway system!
In every subway station, there is always a map. Although it may be difficult and confusing to read it at first, familiarizing yourself with it is key. Here is a link to the MTA subway map. Take a look at it and you will start to notice it is actually organized and simple. Everything is color-coded and each one represents a different path with a destination at both ends of that path.
At some of the larger stations, you will also see that there is a small booth with a person who not only sells tickets but can also help you navigate your way.
If you are one of those people who likes planning all aspects of your trip…
A little more preparation is never a bad thing! Specially on days where there is a slight chance of severe weather. The MTA has its service alerts available here.
The Fares – Metrocards
In today’s fast-paced world, everything is better quicker. In New York City, this is very apparent as they have overhauled the subway system. They have replaced tellers and tokens with machines and little plastic cards. Metrocards are in and are very handy and simple to use. Just swipe through the subway entry points and you are done. To get them, simply get to one of the nearby machines and purchase your card. There are different fill options and bonuses available. Each ride costs generally $2.25 and if you are planning to go to different places, simply buy the day pass. It will save you some money.
Like in all public places, anything can happen. Always be cautious about your things and who is around you, especially towards the nighttime or after coming out of a club/bar. After the usual rush hours, the subways tend to get less crowded and some interesting characters get onboard. Don’t worry; there are always police officers on board (they may just not be in your car). The subways are usually fast as the New York nightlife starts so you can and will get to your event in no time.