Travelling on the New York City Subway

Travelling on the New York City Subway
24th July 2023 Stories

New York City Subway

New York City is one of the most popular cities for tourists due to its reputation for its amazing landmarks, shopping opportunities and energetic atmosphere. Due to how large the city is it has something for everyone to enjoy, from the peaceful walks in Central Park to the enormous crowds of shoppers in Times Square and the best way to ensure you get to experience everything is by using the subway.

The Subway is the quickest and easiest way to travel around the immense city due to how cost-effective and efficient it is. The first subway station opened in 1904 and allows travel to and from each borough of New York having Train lines in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx and is now a more cost-efficient way of travelling from your airport JFK or EWR. This allows you to visit all the must-see areas on New York, for example Central Park. Central Park is the largest park in Manhattan being 840 acres and includes an ice-skating rink, three lakes, a zoo, footpath and cycle paths, access to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and spreads from Fifth and Eighth avenue. To get to the park there are multiple stations nearby to use depending on which way you are travelling from, there is a station on Fifth Avenue near the North side of Central Park and there is a station at Columbus Circle at the South side, so has easy access by train. However, for first-time tourists using the Trains it can be a confusing experience but there are a few things that can help make using the Subway lines easier.

Metro Card

Buying a Metro Card before your trip will make using the Subway much easier, a Metro Card means that you can just use one card for your whole trip and all your journeys and saves the stress of having to purchase separate tickets at the station for each train ride.

There are several options you can choose from to best suit your needs, a 7-day unlimited ride metro card costing 33 Dollars or a 30-day unlimited ride for 127 Dollars. Another type of Metro card is the pay-per-ride Metro Card, this is a card valid for 12 rides on either the Subway or Bus and can be topped up easily at the Subway stations. Not only does a Metro card save you time but also money as a single fair is 2.75 Dollars!

Being Safe Using the Subway

Subway stations can be crowded, making it overwhelming for tourists and a key place for pickpockets and scams. The most common crimes in New York City subway stations are grand larceny (theft), criminal mischief and assault, but there are ways to avoid any crime.

An effective way to play it safe is to stay in a group or in busy areas, especially at night. This is not hard to do due to the city always being busy and the stations near the tourist attractions are the most used, such as the Times Square station on 42nd Street which was used 29.5 million times in 2021. The busiest times of day on the subway is during rush hour when the locals are travelling to and from work and school, this is between 7am and 10am and then 4.30pm to 8pm.

It is also important to keep your belongings close as pickpockets can easily unzip or grab bags without drawing attention, especially in crowded area. Bags such as bum bags around your waist or over-body bags are a safer option.

Another way to keep safe is to stay awake and pay attention to your surroundings, theft from sleeping passengers makes up one-quarter of all subway crimes so ensuring you are alert and aware of what is going on around you will help you stay out of any danger.

It would also be a good idea to wait for your train in areas of the station that feel safer, such as near police, members of staff or tourist help desks.

My Top Travel Tips for New York City Subways: 

  • Buy a Metro Card before or at the start of your trip
  • Wear comfortable footwear, a trip to New York City involves a lot of walking!
  • Have a Phone with subway map or a paper subway map to help you navigate around the city.
  • Use a bag that wraps around your body and has inside components to keep items safe 

Written by Mia Lorriman