How to: Navigate the Subway (Letters)

April 2, 2009 at 1:01 am 5 comments

120px-nycs-bull-trans-asvg1A Train: The A train can either be your best friend of your worst enemy. If you live downtown, then golly, that train sure is fast! If you live above central park, then shit goddamn, I hope you get used to taking a shuttle every weekend when the A train decides to mysteriously stop working on a regular basis. If you’ve got an Inwood commute, chances are you’ve almost slit your wrists trying to leave your neighborhood on a Saturday night. If you’re heading to Bed-stuy, your commute’s a little better since the JFK terminal is serviced by this line, which means more $$ for the MTA, which means that your swipe to Nostrand Ave isn’t so superfluous. Score.



120px-nycs-bull-trans-bsvgB Train:  Kind of like the A train, this line can be amazing. At least, when it’s running. Since the B train only runs on weekdays, its glory is short-lived. Making commutes in both Brooklyn and Harlem 50% easier, the B train skips a lot of stops in the Upper West Side and Prospect Park area, making the B a godsend from the MTA deities. But only on the weekdays. Fuck. 




120px-nycs-bull-trans-csvgC Train: Oh snap, remember how I said the A train was great if you live in Bed-Stuy? Well, let’s hope you live off the A/C line, and not just the C. This train, like its two-faced friends, works well in Manhattan. But…well, you already know how the story ends. Let’s just hope you’re not trying to get to Fort Greene on the weekend. Godspeed. 




120px-nycs-bull-trans-dsvgD Train: You know what? I have no beef with this train. Please share your thoughts on the D train, as it’s always given me a good time. Especially when it skips every stop between 59th to 125th. Glorious!





E Train: Riding the E train to Queens is awesome. It is incredibly satisfying to not make any stop whatsoever for 10 solid minutes. Sure, it’s a little dicey in Manhattan, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t make the Jackson Heights commute 50% easier. 




120px-nycs-bull-trans-fsvgF Train: I fucking hate the F train. I’m pretty sure the F stands for Flake, because it has inconsistently screwed me over. It’s barely functional enough to warrant constant use, but in Brooklyn, it can literally become a ghost. Fuck you if you live in Park Slope and swear by this train. It has given me nothing but headaches.




120px-nycs-bull-trans-gsvgG Train: The Ghost Train. The G train has a reputation for being the single-handedly worst train in New York City. The mere mention of this train incites a handful of curses, hissing, and some people even crossing themselves. Some trains can be pretty bitchy, but the G is just a cunt. Average wait time for this train is a full 20 minutes, and that’s on a weekeday at peak times. Screw you, Ghost Train. You’re what makes Bed-Stuy a ghetto. 



120px-nycs-bull-trans-jsvg1J Train: I have always had luck on the J train. It’s extremely under-rated, and I don’t think it gets the credit it deserves. Sure, it takes you straight through the heart of what used to be of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Brooklyn, but that’s slowly changing. The J train has the newer subway cars with benches instead of individual seating, and a nice LED map to boot. It runs pretty frequently, even late at night and on the weekends. Yeah, I’d say the J is a good egg. 



120px-nycs-bull-trans-lsvgL Train:  Ah, the L. While it may be good for falling in love with that cute hipster seated across from you, it is generally overcrowded and predictably shitty. Every weekend (at least, every weekend I can remember), the L has switched to shuttle service between Bedford and Union Square, making commutes past the Bedford stop impossible. The only good thing about the L is that there’s a timetable of when the next train is coming, a new system that the MTA is giving a trial of. Too bad ENTIRE CITIES (ex: DC) use this system for their subway, and the MTA is just being a fucking cheapskate. 



120px-nycs-bull-trans-msvgM Train: Dear M, 

     Somehow, you have never failed me. Maybe it’s because I take you infrequently, but every time I need you, you deliver. Sure, I only ride you in between the gentrified parts of Bushwick and “South Williamsburg” (whatever the fuck THAT means), but you’re a rock, a rock which, whenever I’m hungover or plastered, you present yourself as an amicable anchor. Except that one time I needed to go to Jamaica, you little shit. Fuck, you still blow.


120px-nycs-bull-trans-nsvgN Train: Unless you’re trying to get to Queens, the N is an alright guy. Sure, he fucking hates going past 57th street when there is so much as a slight gust of possible “rail maintenance” in the air, but, like EVERY SINGLE TRAIN, the N works well in, you guessed it, DOWNTOWN. The best part of riding the N is when you accidentally hop on an express, and woosh past all of those superfluous stops that were going to make you late. The worst part is when you hop on the N and realize it’s express once it’s passed your superfluous stop. Like NYU’s 8th street. Awesome.



120px-nycs-bull-trans-qsvgQ Train: The Q. The Q, out of all the letters, is the winner. That’s right, the BEST LINE EVER. Sure, sometimes it’s a little bit of a wait at the platform, and yes, it runs local late-nights, but other than that, the Q almost always provides a tolerable subway experience. The best part? Making the Mahattan-Brooklyn commute over the Manhattan bridge. With so few stops and such nice scenery past Prospect Park (and by scenery I mean the absence of the NYC sewer system), I always try and finagle my commute to be Q-heavy. Q, you get a fucking gold star. No joke. You’re the backbone of this transit system, and I shiver at the thought of what a Q-free subway must have been like in 2004. 


120px-nycs-bull-trans-rsvgR Train: Oh, so you were thinking of moving to Astoria? Or was it Bay Ridge? No matter, your commute is probably FUCKED. The R is such a bitch on the weekends I don’t know how people in the extremities of both Queens and Brooklyn manage to not jump in front of the R in frustration. Don’t get me wrong, the R is fine if you’re doing a minimal commute through Manhattan’s wealthy hot-spots. But may God have mercy upon your soul if you need to get back to Ditmas Boulevard at 1am on a Saturday night. You’d have a faster time walking. LOL, Jk. No, but seriously. 



120px-nycs-bull-trans-ssvgS: The “Shuttle”, used in Times Square, Grand Central, Franklin Ave and Prospect Park are fucking ridiculous. Why there aren’t internal transfers where people can just walk underground is beyond me. It’s a nice alternative for people who can’t hoof it the three avenues to the other side of the park or island, but without the option of walking, it makes waiting for the silly, 3-car shuttle unbearable. The worst part? When the Times Square shuttle’s “lane” is announced as being #1 or #2, only to have the shuttle pull into the #3 slip, causing everyone to make a mad, stampede-like dash to the other end of the platform. It’s kind of hilarious, actually. Except when you’re one of them. 



120px-nycs-bull-trans-vsvgV Train: Oh my god, I almost forgot this train existed. Since it ends at 2nd avenue, it’s pretty much useless. If you’re going to take it to Queens, you’re better off getting on the E and looking for the V across the platform until Forest Hills, and then transferring back. Sounds stupid, but YOU’D STILL GET THERE FASTER. This is the train they should have cut during the budget proposals!




120px-nycs-bull-trans-wsvgW Train: RIP, W train. As soon as these new fare hikes are put in place, service cuts will also cause the W train to no longer run. Because making people pay more for less service makes sooo much sense. I have few words to say about the W train’s parting because we were not close friends. The W was that shady pal who was in your circle of friends but only came when he “deigned” to meet up with your group, offering you a lift home. If you live more than 3 miles away from Time Square, however, you’re gonna have to figure it out yourself. While the W wasn’t exactly the workhorse of the transit system, it did help to lessen the crowding of the N, R, and Q lines. Without the W, I can only shiver at how packed to the gills these cars will now become. 


120px-nycs-bull-trans-zsvgZ: Like the W, the Z train will also cease to run. Why the MTA has decided to neglect it’s last members of the alphabet is beyond me. Z, you were ok. You got me to…uh…Actually, I don’t think I have ever taken a Z train. Only Js and Ms. But no doubt you were invaluable to our community, and I wish you all the best in the rotting 2nd Avenue graveyard of rusted subway hulls. Um, I mean…Subway Heaven. Yes, have fun in Subway Heaven.



If you haven’t noticed, our subway leaves much to be desired. But just in case you didn’t think it could get any worse, the following budget cuts have already been approved:


Proposed reduced staff and service cuts

MTA listed the proposed service cuts that are affecting the New York City Subway system.

  • Increase weekend headways from eight to 10 minutes on the A, D, E, F, G, J, M, N, Q, and R lines.
  • Increase headways from 20 to 30 minutes on all trains running between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Shorten the G line so it ends at Long Island City, Queens – Court Square at all times – it currently runs to Forest Hills, Queens – 71st Avenue on evenings, nights and weekends.
  • Shorten M rush-hour service to Lower Manhattan, Broad Street – it now runs to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn – Bay Parkway station.
  • Late night N train service operates over the Manhattan Bridge, instead of via Lower Manhattan and the Montague Street tunnel. This proposed service change will fully close 3 stations (City Hall, Rector Street, and Lawrence Street), while other transfer options will be available at the three remaining stations to be closed (Canal Street, Whitehall Street and Court Street-Borough Hall), all between the hours of 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m., daily.
  • Wipe out the W train. The Q would be extended from Midtown, Manhattan – 57th Street and 7th Avenue to Astoria, Queens – Ditmars Boulevard on weekdays when the W would operate.
  • Zap the entire Z train line, making the J train operate all stops between Myrtle Ave-Broadway in Brooklyn and Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer in Queens.
  • Eliminate the station customer assistants, who help riders outside station booths. This would cut 596 positions.
  • Close 29 staffed booths in stations that have more than one full-time booth.
  • Reduce staffing to part-time in 13 additional booths.


Time to get those bikes/rollerblades/skateboards out!


Entry filed under: How To, Olivia. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Some drugs for Wednesday Greg Gillis

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. neekaps  |  April 2, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    wow you have a lot of time olivia

  • 2. parkrangerolivia  |  April 2, 2009 at 4:37 pm


  • 3. alisaurus  |  April 2, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    these entries are awesome! yes they are thorough, but great!!
    and i have to totally back the F. the F is almost always awesome for me, at least in brooklyn. the only time i get pissed is when, get this, like three G trains come while i’m waiting for it. sounds impossible, right?! G train!? WTF! it only comes when you don’t want it.

  • 4. parkrangerolivia  |  April 2, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    I think I have seen a G train 4 times. And twice I was on it. Alison, soak up those sightings while you can! That’s fucking deadly.

  • 5. A Bailes  |  April 5, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    100% agree. The Q train is fucking awesome. Best train ever. I can go from Times Square to DeKalb in three stops…THREE STOPS!
    Love it.
    Also, love the 4/5 but not during rush hours. The MTA keeps 6 Trains pretty stocked…if you go at 5:30 PM they have 6 trains following each other, one right after the other. Of course….the 6 Train goes through Wall Street.


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