Riding Trains Under The Ground

My first day in New York City included my first trip on the subway system. So first impression? It’s a bit dingy, makes me think of a dirtier version of the Berlin U-Bahn because of the squareness of the tunnels and that the Tube is far superior. That last one surely shouldn’t surprise anyone.

We took a number 1 train from 14th Street and 6th Avenue to Columbus Circle (I keep wanting to call it ‘circus’).  Well, we started at 14th and 6th but to get to the 1 platforms we had to walk to 7th Avenue. It was a bit like Bank for the tourist confusion factor. Along the journey there were several trash cans, some of them overflowing. Something you never see on the Underground for various reasons.


Once at platform level the ambiance didn’t improve much. The thing we really noticed was how filthy the tracks are. Sure it’s a bit sooty and mucky along the tracks but these look like they are never cleaned and are used as make shift garbage bins. The platforms in some cases can be quite narrow. I found the whole experience a bit claustrophobic.


Our silver train approached and we hopped on. The trains themselves are a bit like those airstream caravans on the outside. But with more American flags. Inside is quite minimalistic but at least was pretty well clean. As we made our way North you could see that there are stations in much better nick then the one we started at but they still all basically look the same. I’m keen to check out more stations to get a better feel for it all. For all the dingyness it still has a certainly quality to it. Not everything can be the same as London I suppose 😉

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Author: andrea

A Londoner from eastern Canada. City of London Guide, fixer of Macs, collector of old video games, appreciative of synths.

4 thoughts on “Riding Trains Under The Ground”

  1. I actually liked lots of things about the subway – more room on the trains, express trains, fairly easy to understand how the stations relate to the streets in Manhattan.

    I still managed to get separated from Helen on one, though, and I got a rude awakening when I thought, in my little English way, “I know, I’ll ask a policeman for help, policemen are helpful”. Oh, boy. Hand straight to gun: “PLEASE STEP AWAY SIR, STAY BACK SIX FEET”.

    Still, awesome city.


    1. @Tom Oh dear hehe. We found it was a bit odd seeing guns on police everywhere. Some with two guns. Yes I must say the express trains are pretty neat. That and a 24 hour service is a big plus over the Tube.

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