HistoryImmediately following the U.S. Civil War, rail transportation boomed in New York City and other major urban areas nationwide. A rapidly growing population created a natural demand for an extensive public transit system in NYC. In the early 1870's, several elevated rail lines were constructed in Lower Manhattan and some parts of Brooklyn. Steam locomotives pulled wooden cars that had much more capacity than horse-drawn carriages and trolleys. The commercial-scale arrival of electricity dramatically changed the rapid transit system in NYC. In the early 1900's, an electrified subway system was successfully launched to serve the bustling city. In a matter of decades, nearly all of the original elevated rail tracks were replaced with underground tunnels. Throughout the years, the NYC Subway has gradually expanded and evolved into one of the most extensive rapid transit networks in the world. Click to book your Guided Private Underground New York Subway tour.
Riding the SubwayThe NYC Subway provides a convenient way to navigate all five boroughs at an affordable price. When boarding a train, it's important to understand some basic rules and regulations that can prevent unwanted hassles. For example, express trains skip most of the stops that are drawn on the full route of a given line. It's also critical to understand the difference between uptown and downtown directions. In Manhattan, uptown trains head northward, and downtown trains go southward. The MetroCard is used to pay for the fare in the subway system. Featuring a magnetic stripe, this plastic card can be purchased at ticket vending machines (TVMs) in nearly all stations. The card could be refilled with additional funds that are valid for several months. TVMs are typically installed just before turnstiles that grant entry to platforms and tracks. Smaller stations that don't get heavy passenger ridership might not have functional TVMs that accept credit cards. The NYC Subway is connected to a modern IT infrastructure that delivers real-time information directly to passengers. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) posts accurate information on estimated arrival times and delays of each line within the network. Most platform tracks also have electronic timetables that are updated every few minutes.
Major Stations and StopsCentrally located in Midtown Manhattan, the Times Square-42nd Street Station is without a doubt one of the busiest subway stations in the entire city. Situated dozens of feet below street level, this massive complex is served by more than 10 lines. Several blocks in Times Square have clearly-marked entrances and exits that are connected to the underground station. As the busiest commuter rail centres in NYC, Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal are naturally served by multiple subway lines. Both of these transportation hubs in Manhattan have concourses with plenty of dining and shopping options. In Queens, some notable stations include Court Square, Queens Plaza, Queensboro Plaza and Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue. Additionally, Mets-Willets Points gets heavily used on game days at Citi Field and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. In terms of passenger volume and size, the Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center is the most prominent subway station in Brooklyn. This three-level complex is located near the Barclays Center, which is one of the city's top indoor arenas. Another notable stop in Brooklyn includes Jay Street-Metro Tech, which is situated near the borough's hall. The iconic Prospect Park is also surrounded by multiple subway stations, including Grand Army Plaza.
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