We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

New to using the Subway, helpful tips needed

Mid Florida, Florida
Level Contributor
32 posts
20 reviews
Save Topic
New to using the Subway, helpful tips needed

First trip to NY in October, staying at the Wellington Hotel (which has a stop right in front of it). Since we are from Florida we are not familiar with using the subway system.

We plan on going down to the 9/11 memorial and was hoping someone could help us out by giving some instructions on which line or lines (if we need to change along the way) we would need.

We will be doing a lot of walking while we are siite seeing, but if we need to give ourselves a break a few tips would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

Likely To Sell Out
Viator VIP: EmptyMet Tour at The...
133 reviews
from US$175.00*
Special Offer
New York City Big Apple Helicopter...
1,099 reviews
from US$199.00*
New York in One Day Guided...
970 reviews
from US$83.99*
Empire State Building Tickets...
2,373 reviews
from US$36.00*
Silver Spring...
Level Contributor
10,740 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: New to using the Subway, helpful tips needed

This might be helpful:


Don't assume people know where your hotel is (even, or maybe especially, cab drivers).

The MTA subway map will be helpful also.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
42,293 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: New to using the Subway, helpful tips needed

You won't be able to walk to all the sites as this city is huge so to get you started on getting familiar with the subway - look this over (it is from the right hand column on this website page):


A very helpful member of this forum wrote it and it has everything you need to know about the subway.

You can also look over a subway map online (and then pick up a hard copy of it when here) at: http://www.mta.info/nyct/maps/submap.htm

Nashville, TN
Level Contributor
768 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: New to using the Subway, helpful tips needed

There are also a variety of videos on You Tube that can give you a visual idea of what you would be reading. New Yorkers are also very helpful with directions, so don't hesistate to ask.

New York City
Level Contributor
17,258 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: New to using the Subway, helpful tips needed

Also understand that there are usually a number of different ways to get from Point A to Point B, depending on whether you mind changing trains or not, or whether you want to do extra walking at the start of the trip or at its end. In your case, since the Wellington is at Seventh Avenue and 55th Street, and you are going to the corner of Albany and Greenwich Streets, you could do any of the following:

* Go to Seventh Avenue and 53rd Street, and take the downtown E train to its last stop: "World Trade Center". Walk down Church Street/Trinity Place to Thames Street and turn right.

* Go to Seventh Avenue and 57th Street, and take the downtown R trin to Cortlandt Street. Walk down Trinity Place to Thames Street and turn right.

* OR -- take the downtown R one more stop to Rector Street. Walk west on Rector one short block to Greenwich Street, and then north on Greenwich Street to Albany Street

*Go to Columbus Circle and take the downtown #1 train to REctor Street; walk north on Greenwich Street to Albany Street.

Level Contributor
971 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: New to using the Subway, helpful tips needed

I can NOT believe that nobody said "HopStop" or Mapquest! I printed off a bunch of Hopstop directions from hotel to eat, theater, tourist attractions since we couldn't download the app to our iPhone. Wonderful!

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
48 posts
104 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: New to using the Subway, helpful tips needed

Hi Lisa,

we just got back from nyc and to be honest the subway system is not very complicated. Just ask for a map at your hotel and it should have most subway stops (manhattan) and respective lines. They all have different colours so it´s easy to find and subway has only two directions, downtown and uptown so also easy to figure out which side to go.

We bought a 7 day pass with unlimited rides and it was great value. We only took 4 or 5 cabs when a bit lazy or very late at night (to be fair we also took the subway at 2am and it was just fine, no problems are all)

Enjoy nyc, its an amazing city

Portland, Maine
Level Contributor
12,105 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: New to using the Subway, helpful tips needed

Don't EVER rely on colors on NYC subway trains as a guide to how to get where you're going. They're only to make maps more readable. Lines with the same colors diverge frequently and it would just be luck if you got to your destination only relying on colors.

Unlike some other American cities, NYC subway lines should only be thought of by letter or number. It's common, especially in Manhattan, to have multiple numbers and/or letters in the same station.

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Wakefield
Level Contributor
6,170 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: New to using the Subway, helpful tips needed

BRA_BNE - So they all go uptown or downtown.. What about the L or the 7... they go crosstown. Also, why does the red train go to Wakefield 241st Street, and also Van Corlandt Park, (that's really the 2 train and the 1 train)

Not all trains go up and downtown only, not all trains terminate or start in the same place, or stop at all the stops, so they MUST be referred to by letter or number.


Manchester, United...
Level Contributor
1,107 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: New to using the Subway, helpful tips needed

I always make sure I had a pocket map with me and used it all the time to make sure I got on the right train. Twice I think we got on an express by mistake and ended up on 72nd Street instead of 50th Street but at least we had a laugh about it and just jumped on a local back down!

Personally I understand why it can be a bit daunting if you haven't used it before but once you get to used to it, it's awesome for getting round the city.

One thing that we could never get the hang of though is where to exit the subway. Like you said, there is a station enterance right outside your hotel (The Wellington; we have stayed there before), but the number of times we exited the subway and found ourselves on one street up was countless! Maybe we are just daft though ;-)

Have a great time.

West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
31,749 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: New to using the Subway, helpful tips needed

Not in the case of the 9//11 memorial because it's pretty far from your hotel but for other attractions in midtown (and nearby) consider taking buses (which use the same metro card). In addition to being able to see something during the ride (besides the insides of a tunnel). a bus can be as quick as a train when you consider that you don't have to descend and ascend into/out of a station to take a bus and buses can run more frequently that trains so you'll reach your destination in about the same amount of time. Also, taking a bus makes it easier to know what direction your heading since the address numbers on the buildings will be increasing or decreasing and if the bus turns, it's obvious which way it's going (whereas if a train turns, it might simply mean that it's entering a station whose platform is perpendicular to the train's direction of travel).