Tag Archives: subway

  • Old Subway Fleet Supports New York Marine Life

    New York City’s subway system has been steadily replacing its old fleet with newer train models over the past decade. This begs the question of what happens to the old trains once they permanently go out of service. Between 2001 – 2010, the subway reef program offered a solution & a home for the 2,500 retired train cars by introducing them to a new aquatic environment. After their motors, lighting, air conditioning units, etc. were removed, the old subway car shells were placed on the ocean floor. Here they were transformed into artificial subway reefs where they improved the marine environments for a variety of sea life. The new reefs have since attracted sea bass, tuna, mussels, sponges, and coral. Sea Train, a new exhibition at the New York Transit Museum, which opened March 20, features up-close photography of the subway reefs by Stephen Mallon.

  • The EL–New York's elevated train from 1878

    Public transportation has always been a tricky topic in New York, now just as much as 150 years ago. Unknown to many of today's visitors is the mass transit solution the city discovered back then, an elevated train soon called the “EL.” Unlike the above ground Subways today, which can mostly be found in Queens and Brooklyn, the original EL used to run along 3rd Avenue, from South Ferry to Grand Central. The first segment opened in 1878 and service was phased out in 1955. The Third Avenue EL was the last elevated line to operate in Manhattan and a frequent backdrop for movies. Those were the days!

  • Musical Instrument in New York Subway

    Since 1995, a public instrument in the New York City subway has engaged travelers to connect musically with their urban environment. Waiting pedestrians reach up and wave their hands in front of one of the eight openings, to interrupt a beam of light. This activates the artwork titled REACH, which then emits a range of sounds—from melodic instruments (flute) to environmental sounds (rain forest). The piece by Christopher Janney is installed on both the uptown and downtown platforms of the 34th Street N/R station. Jam with your fellow subway riders! See a live performance here: https://youtu.be/yFzfcjogMxg


  • 10 Tips for a Seamless Transition into New York Life

    LOCALIKE is at home in New York. Visitors often ask us how to avoid sticking out, so we’ve written down important ten things to keep in mind. These tips will help you experience New York like a local.

    1. The sidewalk is really a highway.
    New Yorkers are high-velocity creatures. It seems like they’re always in a rush or running late. Because it’s often fastest to get from one place to another on foot, the sidewalks are sometimes comparable to highways (complete with invisible divided lanes). Accordingly, there are several unspoken traffic rules. So that the traffic flow stays consistent, New Yorkers stay to the right. If they have to stop or change pace, they move to the side and make way for the eternally frazzled ones behind them to avoid being trampled. Another unwritten rule is not to walk side by side when traveling in large groups; rather, proceed single-file. This way, the pedestrians in a hurry can still get by and everyone can get to their respective destinations at their desired tempos—and usually in a zig-zag.

    2. Choose the right shoes.
    New York women are known for their love of high-heeled shoes, but you’ll rarely see evidence of this on the street. Why? New York is a city of pedestrians and many streets are uneven or made of cobblestone. For this reason, women often hide high heels away in handbags and replace them on the sidewalk by flats or sneakers that will get them more comfortably from A to B. As soon as they’ve reached their destination, they change into high heels and restore their trademark New York look. P.S.: if your handbag is too small, we’d recommend taking a taxi or Uber. This way you’ll save yourself both blisters and a stressful trek through the city.

    3. Don’t avoid visiting museums on the basis of their entrance prices.
    Culture is a high priority in New York, and although it isn’t really publicized, the entrance prices at many of the city’s big museums are only recommendations. That means you can often decide what you’d like to pay (even if it’s only a dollar). Before you decide against visiting a museum because of its high entrance fee, it’s worth doing a little research online (or asking LOCALIKE).

    4. Don’t get into empty subway cars.
    It’s rush hour on a hot summer day and every single subway car is packed except for one…score? Afraid not! There’s probably a very good reason the car is empty. The air conditioning might have gone off (the least of all possible evils) or there may be something in there causing an ungodly stench. In any case, don’t be seduced by the generous amounts of space—your nose will thank you. Trust us. :)

    5. Ask for directions.
    New Yorkers can be brash if you get in their way (keyphrase: fast walking), but if you ask them a question they’re usually very friendly and willing to help. Sometimes they’re even proud to show off how NYC-savvy they are, so don’t be afraid to ask for directions or for the best subway connection. Sometimes locals will even come up and offer their help before you even knew you needed any.

    6. Become a master of the MetroCard.
    Visitors often struggle with the New York subway card. How should you swipe it? How fast should you pull it through? Which side should the magnetic strip be facing? We’d recommend keeping cool and getting your card out before you even enter the subway station. Make sure the magnetic strip is facing inward (or left) and pull the card through the reader at a medium, casual pace—like a local.

    7. Exit taxis on the right.
    Always exit taxis on the right-hand side, unless you’d like a bicyclist stuck to your open door.

    8. Keep your celebrity cool.
    New York hosts a high concentration of celebrities in a relatively small space, so the chances of seeing someone famous are quite high. In general, New Yorkers don’t ask for autographs or photos. Smile and walk on LOCALIKE-style. If you’re having trouble containing your excitement, you can always share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

    9. Please wait to be seated.
    New York restaurants usually have a “please wait to be seated” policy. While in most European restaurants you can go ahead and pick out tables yourself, in New York, guests should consult the host at the entrance before sitting, regardless of how full—or empty—the restaurant is. The host’s tasks are to bring guests to their tables, to make sure that each server has a more or less equal number of tables, and to prevent general chaos. The latter rarely works ;)

    10. Don’t rent a car.
    New York is not a city for car-driving tourists, at least not when you’d like to be in Manhattan and the surrounding areas—there’s too much traffic and too little parking. What’s more, you’d be surrounded by wild, fearless drivers and unpredictable pedestrians and bike couriers. Do as the New Yorkers do: walk, use public transportation, or flag down a taxi. Finally, try not to spend too much time in Times Square. The “center of the universe” has amazing magnetism and should be a stop for anyone traveling to New York; however, the real city exists in the neighborhoods and on the streets outside of Times Square, in Downtown Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens, in the restaurants, bars, and parks. Allow yourself to wander away from the crowd. Want to see the real New York? LOCALIKE is a friend away from home. Its on-site experts show you sides of the city that postcards never would. Like a local. www.LOCALIKE.com

  • Subway of Superlatives

    Opened in 1904, the New York subway is today one of the oldest public rail transportation systems in the world. And New York wouldn’t be New York if there weren’t a couple more impressive facts.

    The subway runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. It is one of the most-used metro systems in the world. 5.7 million passengers use the 6,400 cars every day, which makes for 1.7 billion passengers each year.

    The 25 different lines connect 472 stations across over 236 miles (380 km) in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. No other subway system has anywhere near as many stations. A huge number of tracks converge, and if you were to extend them all into one long track, the stretch would add up to about 665 miles (1’070 km) and reach from New York to Chicago or from Italy to Denmark.

    Although the name “subway” implies that the New York system runs underground, about 40% of the tracks and 39% of the stations are above ground. Most of these are in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. The majority of the stations in Manhattan are underground.

    A New Life for Old Subway Cars
    “Hundreds of cars taken out of service and submerged in the Atlantic.” Admittedly, this notice left us perplexed when we first read it. What at first sounds like a ruthless act of pollution is in fact part of a large-scale project to build artificial reefs off the coasts of Delaware and South Carolina. These subway car reefs provide food and protection for many species of fish and mussels. The pioneer project has caught on across the world.

    What's coming?

    The future is here! For a long time, there was neither telephone reception nor WiFi in the NYC subway. As of January 2017, however, all stations offer phone and WiFi reception – and that’s one year ahead of schedule.

    Also, the 2nd Avenue Subway, the result of about 100 years of planning, was inaugurated on January 1, 2017 and finally offers additional service to three stations on the Upper East Side. Further construction on the line is planned down to South Ferry in Lower Manhattan.

    And there’s even more: the MTA has ordered new subway cars. These will not only have broader doors to make entering and exiting easier; they will also replace the doors that previously separated the cars with accordion-like joints. In essence, these new subways will glide down the long tunnels like centipedes, and passengers will be able to walk all the way from the very back to the very front of the train. Aside from that, the new subway cars will of course be state-of-the-art: along with timely display systems, they’ll offer WiFi and mobile phone charging stations.

    There’s also a plan to renovate the subway stations and to allow for an easier payment system via the Metrocard. When all these things are finished, the New York subway will also finally be welcomed into the 21st century.

    Last But Not Least – NYC Subway Etiquette
    Want to move around like a New Yorker? We’d recommend observing the following dos and don’ts:

    • Each subway line is marked with a different color, but New Yorkers never refer to these colors. Instead, the lines are identified by numbers or letters – you take the “A Train” or the “6” and not the “blue” or “green line.”
    • Never eat in the subway.
    • Have lots of luggage with you? It’s best to remove your backpacks and put bags on the floor, not on the seat next to you.
    • If a car is noticeably empty, there’s usually a good (and odorous) reason for that. You’re best off not getting in.

    Finally, the most important tip for visitors: riding the subway is a must-do. This is where New York is at home, where you can breathe in its very essence, and where life takes place. This is where rich and poor, tourists and New Yorkers, bankers and artists, crazy people and geniuses all meet in the same space. And it’s not just the subways themselves that are full of life – the stations and platforms are just as vibrant, thanks to the countless street musicians, performance artists, comedians, puppeteers, dancers, etc. So it’s time to hop on the subway – the underground of Gotham City.