The New York City Subway System
Initially the size and bustle of New York may seem intimidating, but the subway is a great and cheap way to navigate and explore the city. The subway map of weaving and intertwined colored lines can at first appear completely indiscernible, but understanding and using the subway system in New York is the key to making New York accessible. The subway map can be accessed here, on the MTA's website. Websites such as Hopstop and google maps will plan trips for you, recommending the fastest subway (or bus) route to your destination.
The subway in New York is among the city's greatest assets. Sure, the subway cars are not as clean as London's tube cars, nor is New York's subway system as timely and organized as Paris's metro, but New York City's subway system runs all night, and connects riders to all five boroughs. New Yorkers have a love-hate relationship with their subway system. When the trains come, you go anywhere in the city cheaply and relatively fast. Most weekends, however, at least one train line is being serviced, which means delays. The MTA's service alert website updates their website with information about which train lines are being worked on and the potential delays.
You can purchase a MetroCard from MetroCard vending machines inside most subway stations, as well as from subway station booths and some neighborhood merchants (like newsstands, delis and hotels). The fare for a subway or local bus ride is $2.25. If you qualify for reduced fare, you can travel for half fare. Up to three children 44 inches tall and under ride for free on subways and local buses when accompanied by a fare-paying adult.
By buying anything other than a single-ride MetroCard, you can save money. There are two types of MetroCards to purchase:
Pay Per Ride Metro Card: Buy as many rides as you want from $4.50 up to $80. Put $8 or more on your card and you receive a 15% bonus. You may refill these cards.
Unlimited MetroCards: There are four different varieties, the one-day 'fun pass' for $8.25, the 7-day pass for $27, the 14-day pass for $51.50, and the 30-day pass for $89. If you know you are going to be riding the subway twice or more per day, then unlimited MetroCards save you quite a bit of money.
The Red Line
1 (Local) Train: The 1 train runs all the time from Van Courtland Park at 242nd Street in the Bronx to South Ferry in lower Manhattan and makes all local stops, running exclusively on Broadway/7th Avenue.
2/3 (Express) Trains: The 2 service operates between Wakefield - 241st Street in Wakefield, the Bronx and Brooklyn College - Flatbush Avenue in Midwood, Brooklyn at all times, operating local in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Daytime 2 service operates express in Manhattan; late night service operates via local and runs on the 1 train track. The 3 service operates at all times. Normal service operates between Harlem - 148th Street in Harlem, Manhattan and New Lots Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn, making express stops in Manhattan and local stops in Brooklyn. In Manhattan, the 2 and 3 trains make the same stops.
The Green Line
4/5 (Express) Trains: The 4 service is the Lexington Avenue express train. Normal service operates between Woodlawn in the Bronx and Utica Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn via Lexington Avenue. The 4 trains operate express in Manhattan and Brooklyn and local in the Bronx. Rush hour and midday 5 service operates between Dyre Avenue in Eastchester, the Bronx and Flatbush Avenue in Midwood, Brooklyn, operating local in the Bronx and express in Manhattan and Brooklyn. During rush hours, 5 trains operate express in the Bronx. Evening and weekend service terminates at Bowling Green in Manhattan instead of Brooklyn. Riders can pick up the 4 train to take them into Brooklyn. In Manhattan, the 4 and 5 trains make the same stops.
6 (Local) Train: The 6 service is the Lexington Avenue Local. It operates between Pelham Bay Park, the Bronx and Brooklyn Bridge - City Hall, Manhattan at all times and operate local in Manhattan.
The Yellow Line
N, Q, R, W Trains: The N train service operates at all times from Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria, Queens, to Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn, running express along Broadway in Manhattan, and over the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn. The Q train is also a Broadway express line, but runs from 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan to Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn via Broadway. The R train is the Broadway local line. Normal service is from 71st Avenue in Forest Hills, Queens, to 95th Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The W train runs weekdays only from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. as an entirely local service from Astoria - Ditmars Boulevard in Queens to Whitehall Street - South Ferry in Lower Manhattan. The N and Q trains, and the R and W trains respectively make the same stops in Manhattan.
The Orange Line
F/V Trains: The F service is the Sixth Avenue local, operating from 179th Street in Jamaica, Queens to Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn. In Manhattan, it runs on 6th before turning East on 14th street. The V service is also a Sixth Avenue local, operating from 71st Avenue in Forest Hills, Queens to Second Avenue in Lower East Side, Manhattan, making all stops on its entire route.
B/D Trains: The B service is the Sixth Avenue express, operating between 145th Street in Harlem, Manhattan and Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. The B service operates on weekdays only from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The D service is also the Sixth Avenue operates at all times, from 205th Street in Norwood, Bronx, to Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn. In Manhattan, the B and D make the same stops and run along 6th Avenue and Central Park West.
The Brown Line
J,M,Z Trains The J and Z service are express trains that run from Jamaica Center - Parsons/Archer over the Williamsburg Bridge to Lower Manhattan. The M service operates between Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, Queens and Myrtle Avenue/Broadway in Brooklyn at all times, and runs through lower Manhattan.
The Blue Line
A (Express) Train: The A train is the Eighth Avenue express train, running from Inwood - 207th Street to Far Rockaway, Queens or to Lefferts Boulevard in Richmond Hill, Queens via Central Park West and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan.
C (Local) Train: The C train operates at all times except late nights from 168th Street in Washington Heights, Manhattan, to Euclid Avenue in Brooklyn.
E (Express) Train: The E train runs from Jamaica Center in Jamaica, Queens, to the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan via Queens Boulevard and Eighth Avenue, running express in Queens and local in Manhattan.
The Shuttle: The shuttle service runs from Time Square to Grand Central Station in Manhattan.
7 Train: The 7 train service from 42nd street-Time Square to Flushing, Queens, crossing through Fifth Avenue-Bryant Park and Grand Central Station before heading into Queens.
L Train: The L service operates between Eighth Avenue in Chelsea, Manhattan, and Rockaway Parkway in Canarsie, Brooklyn, at all times, crossing Manhattan on 14th street, and passing through Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Money & Costs