Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York)

New York City Subway and SIR

NYCS Route 1 Broadway – Seventh Avenue Local
NYCS Route 2 Seventh Avenue Express
NYCS Route 3 Seventh Avenue Express
NYCS Route 4 Lexington Avenue Express
NYCS Route 5 Lexington Avenue Express
NYCS Route 6 Lexington Avenue/Pelham Local
NYCS Route 6d Lexington Avenue Local/Pelham Express
NYCS Route 7 Flushing Local
NYCS Route 7d Flushing Express
NYCS Route A Eighth Avenue Express
NYCS Route B Sixth Avenue Express
NYCS Route C Eighth Avenue Local
NYCS Route D Sixth Avenue Express
NYCS Route E Eighth Avenue Local
NYCS Route F Sixth Avenue Local
NYCS Route G Crosstown Local
NYCS Route J Nassau Street Local
NYCS Route L 14 Street – Canarsie Local
NYCS Route M Sixth Avenue Local
NYCS Route N Broadway Express
NYCS Route Q Broadway Express
NYCS Route R Broadway Local
NYCS Route W Broadway Local
NYCS Route Z Nassau Street Express
NYCS Route S 42nd Street Shuttle
NYCS Route S Franklin Avenue Shuttle
NYCS Route S Rockaway Park Shuttle
NYCS Route SIRl Staten Island Railway Local
NYCS Route SIRe Staten Island Railway Express
NYCS Route T Second Avenue Local (future)

These are services for lines see List of NYCS lines view

The New York City Subway system is a rapid transit system operated by the New York City Transit Authority, an affiliate of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as MTA New York City Transit. Combined with its bus operations, it is one of the most extensive public transportation systems in the world, with 472 reported passenger stations.[1] There are 656 miles (1056 km) of revenue track, and a total of 842 miles (1355 km) including non-revenue trackage.

Pending legislation would merge the subway operations of MTA New York City Transit with Staten Island Railway to form a single entity called MTA Subways.[2] The Staten Island Railway operates with R44 subway cars on a fully grade-separated right-of-way, but is typically not considered part of the subway, and is connected only via the free, city-operated Staten Island Ferry.

Though it is known as "the subway," implying underground operations, about 40% of the system runs on above-ground rights-of-way, including steel and occasionally cast iron elevated structures, concrete viaducts, earthen embankments, open cuts and, occasionally, surface routes. All of these modes are completely grade-separated from road and pedestrian crossings, and most crossings of two subway tracks are grade-separated with flying junctions.

Lines and routesEdit

Many rapid transit systems run relatively static routings, so that a train "line" is more or less synonymous with a train "route". In New York, routings change often as new connections are opened or service patterns change. The "line" describes the physical railroad line or series of lines that a train "route" uses on its way from one terminal to another.

"Routes" (also called "services") are distinguished by a letter or a number. "Lines" have names.

For example, the "D train," "D route," or "D service," though it can be colloquially called the "D line," runs over the following "lines" on its journey:

There are 26 train services in the subway system, including three short shuttles. Each route has a color, representing the Manhattan trunk line of the particular service; a different color is assigned to the Crosstown Line (G) route, since it does not operate in Manhattan, and shuttles are all colored dark gray. Each service is also named after its Manhattan (or crosstown) trunk line, and is labeled as local or express.

Trains are marked by the service label in either black or white (for appropriate contrast) on a field in the color of its mainline. The field is enclosed in a circle for most services, or a diamond for special services, such as rush-hour only expresses on a route that ordinarily runs local. Rollsigns also typically include the service names and terminals. When the R44 and R46 cars were rebuilt the rollsigns on the side of the cars were replaced with electronic signs while the front service sign remained as a rollsign. All cars built since 1999, including the R142, R142A, R143, and R160, are equipped with digital signs on the front, sides, and interior. These newer cars also feature recorded announcements in lieu of conductor announcements, although live conductor announcements can still be made.

New Yorkers usually refer to each line by the designator and the word train, i.e. the "A train", which can be used to refer to both a single train, "I'm on an A train", or the route, "take the A train." New Yorkers may often shorten the expression to simply the line's designation. For example: "Take the A to the 1" would mean to "Take the A train and transfer to the 1 train." The lines are not referred to by color (e.g., Blue line or Green line), although the colors are often named through their groups ("Take the A-C-E" or "4-5-6", etc).

Current Route servicesEdit

Route North terminal South terminal
A Division (IRT)
NYCS Route 1 Broadway – Seventh Avenue Local Van Cortlandt Park – 242nd Street South Ferry
operates at all times, fully local, making all stops
NYCS Route 2 Seventh Avenue Express Wakefield – 241st Street Flatbush Avenue – Brooklyn College
New Lots Avenue (some rush hour trips)
operates at all times, normally express on the IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line in Manhattan, and local elsewhere
operates fully local late nights
NYCS Route 3 Seventh Avenue Express Harlem – 148th Street Times Square – 42nd Street (late nights)
New Lots Avenue
operates at all times, express on the IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line in Manhattan and local elsewhere
short turns at Times Square – 42nd Street late nights
NYCS Route 4 Lexington Avenue Express Woodlawn Crown Heights – Utica Avenue
New Lots Avenue (some rush hour trips and late nights)
operates at all times; normally express on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line in Manhattan and IRT Eastern Parkway Line in Brooklyn and local elsewhere
extended to New Lots Avenue and operates fully local late nights
NYCS Route 5 Lexington Avenue Express Eastchester – Dyre Avenue
Nereid Avenue (some rush hour trips)
Flatbush Avenue – Brooklyn College (weekdays)
Bowling Green (evenings & weekends)
Crown Heights – Utica Avenue (some rush hour trips)
New Lots Avenue (some rush hour trips)
East 180th Street (late nights)
operates the full route (Dyre Avenue to Flatbush Avenue) rush hours and middays; with additional service rush hours
short turns at Bowling Green evenings and weekends
normally express in Manhattan and on the IRT Eastern Parkway Line in Brooklyn
operates as a shuttle (Dyre Avenue to East 180th Street) late nights
NYCS Route 6 Lexington Avenue Local Pelham Bay Park
Parkchester (rush hours and middays)
Brooklyn Bridge – City Hall
operates at all times, fully local
short turns at Parkchester when the <6> operates
NYCS Route 6d Lexington Avenue Local Pelham Bay Park Brooklyn Bridge – City Hall
operates rush hours and midday only, in the peak direction
express on the IRT Pelham Line between Third Avenue and Parkchester and local elsewhere
NYCS Route 7 Flushing Local Flushing – Main Street Times Square
operates at all times, fully local
NYCS Route 7d Flushing Express Flushing – Main Street Times Square
operates rush hours and evenings only, in the peak direction
express between Queensboro Plaza and Main Street and local elsewhere
42nd Street Shuttle (New York City Subway) 42nd Street Shuttle Times Square Grand Central
operates at all times except late nights
B Division (IND/BMT)
NYCS Route A Eighth Avenue Express Inwood – 207th Street
168th Street (some peak direction rush hour trips)
Euclid Avenue (late night Lefferts Boulevard Shuttle)
Ozone Park – Lefferts Boulevard or
Far Rockaway – Mott Avenue
Rockaway Park – Beach 116th Street (some peak direction rush hour trips)
operates at all times, normally express between 168th Street and Euclid Avenue and local elsewhere
operates fully local late nights to Far Rockaway with additional shuttle service between Euclid Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard
NYCS Route B Sixth Avenue Express Bedford Park Boulevard
145th Street (middays)
Brighton Beach
operates weekdays only, until 11:00 p.m.
operates express in Brooklyn and on the IND Sixth Avenue Line in Manhattan; local on Central Park West / Eighth Avenue Line in Manhattan and in the Bronx
short turns at 145th Street during middays
NYCS Route C Eighth Avenue Local 168th Street Euclid Avenue
operates at all times except late nights, fully local
NYCS Route D Sixth Avenue Express Norwood – 205th Street Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue
operates at all times, normally express in Manhattan and on the BMT Fourth Avenue Line in Brooklyn and local elsewhere
operates fully local in Brooklyn late nights
express on the IND Concourse Line in the Bronx, rush hours in the peak direction
NYCS Route E Eighth Avenue Local Jamaica – 179th Street (some rush hour trips)
Jamaica Center – Parsons / Archer
World Trade Center
operates at all times, normally express on the IND Queens Boulevard Line in Queens and local elsewhere
operates fully local late nights
NYCS Route F Sixth Avenue Local Jamaica – 179th Street Kings Highway (some rush hour trips)
Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue
operates at all times
operates express in Queens between Forest Hills – 71st Avenue and 21st Street – Queensbridge and local elsewhere
some rush hour trains short turn at Kings Highway
NYCS Route G Brooklyn–Queens Crosstown Local Court Square Church Avenue
operates at all times, fully local
NYCS Route J Nassau Street Local Jamaica Center – Parsons / Archer Chambers Street (weekends)
Broad Street (weekdays)
operates at all times, normally fully local
operates skip-stop with the Z train during rush hours in the peak direction
operates express in the peak direction between Myrtle Avenue and Marcy Avenue midday and rush hours
short turns at Chambers Street on weekends
NYCS Route L 14th Street – Canarsie Local Eighth Avenue Canarsie – Rockaway Parkway
operates at all times, fully local
NYCS Route M Sixth Avenue Local Forest Hills – 71st Avenue
Myrtle Avenue (late nights and weekends)
Middle Village – Metropolitan Avenue
operates the full route weekdays, fully local
operates as a shuttle (Myrtle Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue) at all other times
NYCS Route N Broadway Local Astoria – Ditmars Boulevard
57th Street – Seventh Avenue
Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue
operates at all times
via the Manhattan Bridge and express on the BMT Fourth Avenue Line in Brooklyn at all times except late nights
via the Montague Street Tunnel late nights, fully local
NYCS Route Q Broadway Express Astoria – Ditmars Boulevard
57th Street – Seventh Avenue
Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue
operates at all times, express in Manhattan and local elsewhere
extended to Astoria – Ditmars Boulevard on weekdays
short turns at 57th Street – Seventh Avenue at all other times
NYCS Route R Broadway Local Forest Hills – 71st Avenue
36th Street (late nights)
Bay Ridge – 95th Street
operates the full route at all times except late nights, fully local
operates as a shuttle (36th Street to 95th Street, Brooklyn) late nights
Franklin Avenue Shuttle (New York City Subway) Franklin Avenue Shuttle Franklin Avenue Prospect Park
operates at all times
Rockaway Park Shuttle (New York City Subway) Rockaway Park Shuttle Broad Channel Rockaway Park – Beach 116th Street
operates at all times
NYCS Route Z Nassau Street Express Skip-stop clone of Route J during rush hours in the peak direction only


The first underground line of the subway opened on October 27, 1904, almost 35 years after the opening of the first elevated line in New York City, which became the IRT Ninth Avenue Line. The oldest structure still in use today opened in 1885 as part of the Lexington Avenue Line, and is now part of the BMT Jamaica Line in Brooklyn. The oldest right-of-way, that of the BMT West End Line, was in use in 1863 as a steam railroad called the Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island Rail Road. Subway cars (R44s) currently operate on the Staten Island Railway, opened in 1860, but that is not usually considered part of the subway system.

By the time the first subway opened, the lines had been consolidated into two privately owned systems, Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT, later Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation, BMT) and Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT). The city was closely involved: all lines built for the IRT and most other lines built or improved for the BRT after 1913 were built by the city and leased to the companies. The first line of the city-owned and operated Independent Subway System (IND) opened in 1932; this system was intended to compete with the private systems and allow some of the elevated railways to be torn down.

In 1940, the two private systems were bought by the city; some elevated lines closed immediately, and others closed soon after. Integration was slow, but several connections were built between the IND and BMT, and they now operate as one division called Division B. Since the IRT tunnel segments and stations are too narrow to accommodate Division B cars, it remains its own division, Division A.

The New York City Transit Authority was created in 1953 to take over subway, bus, and streetcar operations from the city, and was placed under control of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1968.

In 1934, the BRT, IRT, and IND transit workers unionized into Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union. Since then, there have been three union strikes. In 1966, transit workers went on strike for 12 days, and again in 1980 for 11 days.[3] On December 20, 2005, transit workers again went on strike over disputes with MTA regarding salary, pensions, retirement age, and health insurance costs. That strike lasted just under three days.


Subway stations are located throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. All services pass through Manhattan, except for the Brooklyn-Queens Crosstown Local (G), which connects Brooklyn and Queens directly without entering Manhattan, the Franklin Avenue Shuttle, and the Rockaway Park Shuttle. Although a few stations close overnight or on weekends, the New York City subway is among the few rapid transit systems in the world that operate 24 hours a day, along with PATH (connecting New Jersey with Manhattan) and PATCO (linking Philadelphia with southern New Jersey). (Two individual lines of the Chicago 'L' also run at all times.)[4]

Many lines and stations have both express and local service. These lines have three or four tracks: the outer two for local trains, and the inner one or two for express trains. Stations served by express trains are typically major transfer points or destinations. The BMT Jamaica Line uses skip-stop service on portions, in which two services operate over the line during rush hours, and minor stations are only served by one of the two. The IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line used skip-stop until May 27, 2005.

A typical subway station has waiting platforms ranging from 400 to 700 feet (122 to 213 m) long to accommodate large numbers of people. Passengers enter a subway station through stairs towards station booths and vending machines to buy their fare, currently via the MetroCard. After swiping the card at a turnstile, customers continue to the platforms. Some subway lines in the outer boroughs and northern Manhattan have elevated tracks with stations to which passengers climb up.

A typical subway train has from 8 to 11 cars, although shuttles can have as few as two, and the train can range from 150 to 600 feet (46 to 183 m) long. As a general rule, trains on the lines inherited from the IRT (the numbered lines) are shorter and narrower than the trains that operate on the IND/BMT lines (those designated with letters). Since the original IRT sections—with narrower tunnel segments, tighter curves, and tighter platform clearances than the BMT/IND sections—are integral parts of the modern Division A, these lines do not run the wider Division B (IND/BMT) cars, although all of the IRT built under the Dual Contracts could technically handle Division B cars. Division A trains cannot run in revenue service on Division B routes due to the large gap that would result between the platform and train. All service and maintenance trains, however, are comprised of Division A cars, as these can fit the tunnels of all lines.

Subway tunnels were constructed using a variety of methods. When the IRT subway debuted in 1904, typical tunnel construction was the cut-and cover method. The street was torn up to dig out the tunnel below, then the street was rebuilt above. This method worked well for soft dirt and gravel near the street surface. However, thicker sections made of bedrock required tunnel boring machines.

Most stations are not handicapped accessible. The exceptions are new construction and "key stations", as required by the ADA. See New York City Subway accessibility for more details.

In 2002, an average of 4.5 million passengers used the subway every weekday.

In 1994, the subway system introduced a fare system called the MetroCard, which allows riders to use cards that store the value equal to the amount paid to a station booth clerk or to a vending machine. The MetroCard was enhanced in 1997 to allow passengers to make free transfers between subways and buses within two hours; several MetroCard-only transfers between subways were also added. The token was phased out in 2003. The same year, the MTA raised the basic fare to $2 amid protests from passenger and advocacy groups such as the Straphangers Campaign. In 2005, the MTA increased the prices of unlimited Metrocards, but left the base fare at $2.00.

In the early 21st century, plans resurfaced for a major expansion, the Second Avenue Line. This line had been planned as early as the 1920s but has been delayed several times since. Construction was started in the 1970s, but discontinued due to the city's fiscal crisis. Some small portions remain intact in Chinatown, the East Village, and the Upper East Side, but they are each quite short and thus remain unused.[5]

In the mid-2000s, the MTA began a 20-year process of automating the subway. Beginning with the BMT Canarsie Line (L), the MTA has plans to eventually automate a much larger portion, using One Person Train Operation (OPTO) in conjunction with Communications-based Train Control (CBTC). Siemens Transportation Systems Group will be building the CBTC system. A 1959 experiment in automating the 42nd Street Shuttle in New York City ended with a fire at Grand Central Terminal on April 24, 1964.)

On July 22, 2005, in response to bombings in London, United Kingdom, the New York City Police Department introduced a new policy of randomly searching passengers' bags as they approached turnstiles. The NYPD claimed that no form of racial profiling would be conducted when these searches actually took place. This has caused the NYPD to come under fire because these searches were deemed ineffectual if racial profiling was not used. "This NYPD bag search policy is unprecedented, unlawful and ineffective," said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU. "It is essential that police be aggressive in maintaining security in public transportation. But our very real concerns about terrorism do not justify the NYPD subjecting millions of innocent people to suspicionless searches in a way that does not identify any person seeking to engage in terrorist activity and is unlikely to have any meaningful deterrent effect on terrorist activity."[6]

In August 2006 the MTA revealed that all future subway stations, including ones built for the Second Avenue subway, the No. 7 line extension, and the new South Ferry station, will have platforms outfitted with air-cooling systems.[7]

Rolling stockEdit

The New York City subway has the world's largest fleet of subway cars. Over 6,400 cars (as of 2002) are on the NYCT roster. Cars purchased by the City of New York since the inception of the IND and for the other divisions beginning in 1948 are identified by the letter "R" followed by a number; e.g.: R32. This number is the contract number under which the cars were purchased. Cars with nearby contract numbers (e.g.: R1 through R9) may be virtually identical, simply being purchased under different contracts. Subway car models begin with the letter "R" and are followed by the last 2 or 3 digits of the contract number under which they were purchased. The "R" stands for Revenue service as originally used by the IND, however, others feel it now stands for Rolling Stock since the "R" is used on contracts for the purchase of anything that deals with subway and work cars (e.g. cars, wheels, other parts).

The system maintains two separate fleets of cars, one for the IRT lines, another for the BMT/IND lines. All IRT equipment is approximately 8'9" (~2.67m) wide and 51' (~15.5m) long while all operating BMT/IND equipment is about 10 feet (~3.0 meters) wide and either 60 feet 6 inches (18.4 meters) or 75 feet (~22.8 meters) long.

Though the equipment of the two fleets can operate on the same tracks, the key impediment to interoperation is the fact that the original two subway contracts built for the IRT were built to a smaller profile. This is because the IRT chose to use equipment substantially the same size as that already in use on all the pre-existing elevated railway lines in the city. This profile was consistent with older lines in operation in Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago.

When the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company entered into agreements to operate some of the new subway lines, they made the decision to design a new type of car, 10 feet wide and 67 feet long, the subject of several patents, whose larger profile was more similar to that of steam railroad coaches, permitting greater passenger capacity, more comfortable seating and other advantages. The BRT unveiled its design to the public in 1913 and received such wide acceptance that all future subway lines, whether built for the BRT, the IRT or eventually, the IND, were built to handle the wider cars.

As a result, while most of the IRT lines could accommodate the larger BMT/IND equipment with modifications to the station platforms and trackside furniture, this is not deemed feasible, because the original, narrower, subway includes portions of both IRT Manhattan mainlines, as well as a critical part of the Brooklyn lines. This could be remedied, but at very great expense. On the other hand, it would be relatively easy to convert many of the Bronx lines for BMT/IND operation; some of the plans for the Second Avenue Line have included a conversion of the IRT Pelham Line.

Trivia Edit

  • According to the United States Department of Energy, energy expenditure on the New York City Subway rail service was 3656 BTU/passenger mile (2397 kJ/passenger km) in 1995. This compares to 3702 BTU/passenger mile (2427 kJ/passenger km) for automobile travel. [1]
  • According to a February 11, 2006, New York Daily News article, the New York City Subway hit a 50-year record in usage in 2005, with ridership of 1.45 billion. According to the article, "New subway cars and other upgrades have made tube travel more reliable and have helped lure more than 23 million new riders to the rails in 2005 compared with the year before" ("TRACK RECORD: 1.5B RODE SUBWAY" by Pete Donohue).
  • The article also cited the average fare as $1.27 per trip in 2005, which the transit authority claims is lower than the average fare in 1996.
  • The first theft was reported in the subway on October 27, 1904; the first day the subway system opened.
  • Until the replacement of the metal token, a popular scam was to jam the token slot in an entrance gate with paper. A rider would innocently drop a token in, be frustrated when it did not open the gate, and have to spend another token to enter at another gate. The token thief would then race out from hiding, and suck the token from the jammed slot with their mouth. This could be repeated many times so long as no police officers spotted the activity.[8]
  • In the late 1980s or early 1990s, enterprising transit riders discovered that tokens purchased for use in the Connecticut Turnpike toll booths were of the same size and weight as New York City subway tokens. Since they cost less than one third as much, they began showing up in subway collection boxes regularly. Eventually, Connecticut authorities agreed to change the size of their tokens.
  • For the 75th anniversary of the subway in 1979 (also called the Diamond Jubilee), a special token with a small off-center diamond cutout and engraved images of a 1904 subway car and kiosk were issued. Many were purchased for keepsakes and were not used for rides.
  • Train-announcement voices beginning in the late 1990s were recorded by Bloomberg Radio on-air personalities, who volunteered at the request of their employer, future city mayor Michael Bloomberg. Voices include Jessica Gottesman, later of 1010 WINS radio, Charlie Pellett, and Catherine Cowdery. MTA spokesperson Gene Sansone said in 2006 that, "Most of the orders are given by a male voice, while informational messages come from females. Even though this happened by accident, it is a lucky thing because a lot of psychologists agree that people are more receptive to orders from men and information from women".[9]
  • From 1941 to 1976, the transit authority sponsored the "Miss Subways" publicity campaign. It was resurrected in 2004, for one year, as "Ms. Subways". Featuring young models, entertainers and others, the monthly campaign, which included the winners' photos and biographical blurbs on placards in subway cards, numbers actress Mona Freeman, and prominent New York City restaurateur Ellen Goodman (née Ellen Hart).
  • Currently, the MTA Rules of Conduct allows photography on all MTA property, including the subway. However, on the subway, ancillary equipment such as lights, reflectors or tripods may not be used. Only members of the press holding valid identification issued by the New York City Police Department can use necessary ancillary equipment.

Popular cultureEdit

The subway is often seen as an integral part of the city and has had a place in popular culture for at least three quarters of a century. Many living in the area through the 1980s remember it for crime and graffiti, but these have since subsided.

  E at 34th Street-Penn Station) and the IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line (1 2 3   at 34th Street-Penn Station).

  • In 1967 The Velvet Underground and Nico, the debut album of the American rock band The Velvet Underground, included the track "I'm Waiting for the Man," a song about buying heroin in Harlem. The line "up to Lexington 125 / feel sick and dirty more dead than alive" references 125th Street on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line.
  • The Velvet Underground also used a painting of an old TA Subway Entrance with pink smoke coming out of it for the cover of their 1970 release, Loaded.
  • The entire All In The Family episode Mike The Pacifist (which aired in 1977) takes place on a subway train. A set was constructed at Television City in Hollywood, which resembled the interior of a subway train traveling towards Queens, New York.
  • The second half of the 1974 The Odd Couple episode The Subway Story takes place on a NYC Subway train interior, which was a constructed set as the show was filmed in Hollywood, California.
  • An episode of the television situation comedy I Love Lucy from 1956, entitled Lucy And The Loving Cup, has a scene in which Lucy Ricardo (played by Lucille Ball) is on a Lexington Avenue Line NYC Subway train, with a loving cup stuck on her head, needing to go to Bleecker Street.
  • In the 1980s, a 16-year-old immigrant from Jamaica, who was obsessed with the New York subway system, put on a uniform and successfully impersonated a subway driver. For three hours, he chauffered a train up and down Manhattan tracks, passengers none the wiser, until his brakes locked up, and he was unable to unjam them. He received a suspended sentence and a lot of publicity.
  • In the 1987–1989 American television series Beauty and the Beast, Vincent (the "Beast"), who lived in tunnels beneath the city (see "Mole People"), would ride on top of a subway car to travel surreptitiously around the city.
  • In the 1992 Seinfeld episode "The Subway", a subway ride leads to four unique experiences. Jerry Seinfeld befriends an overweight nudist; George Costanza meets an attractive woman who invites him to her hotel room; Elaine Benes misses a lesbian wedding; and Cosmo Kramer wins a horse bet.
  • The 1999 debut album from Jennifer Lopez was called On the 6, named after the 3 line that she regularly rode while growing up in The Bronx on her way to dance practises, which eventually led to her mega-stardom.
  • Living Causes Death is a popular online Internet cartoon by Mike Gupta. It contains numerous references to the New York City Train system.
  • In the Futurama episode "The Luck of the Fryrish" (first aired March 11, 2001), Bender uses the run down subway system, apparently still electrified, to get to Fry's old neighborhood. He hooks his feet up to the tracks and, just before leaving the station, says, "This is the Brooklyn-bound B-train, making local stops at where ever the hell I feel like it, watch for the closing doors!" and imitates the sound trains make just before the doors close. In reality, the B train does indeed run to Brooklyn: It originates at Bedford Park Boulevard in The Bronx, then proceeds downtown through Manhattan and into Brooklyn, eventually terminating at Brighton Beach. The station they debarked at, Newkirk Avenue, however did not see B service until 2004.
  • In the Without a Trace Episode "Birthday Boy", Gabe Freedman disappears on his birthday while with his father at the Yankee Stadium subway station.
  • Some episodes of Disney's American Dragon: Jake Long shows Jake fighting bad guys in the subway. Sometimes Jake and his friends just take the subway to get around.


The New York City subway has been featured prominently in many films. One of its first color appearances is in the 1949 musical On The Town, shot on location. One of the characters takes a fancy to "Miss Turnstiles," a "typical rider" whose picture appears in many different poses on advertising placards.

  • In the 1971 film The French Connection. The subway and car chase on and underneath the elevated BMT West End Line is often considered the greatest chase scene in film history.[10]
  • The 1967 film The Incident (which starred Beau Bridges) takes place on a IRT subway train along the Jerome Avenue line in the Bronx.
  • The 1974 movie {{subst:Wikipedia reference 2|The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (film)|The Taking of Pelham One Two Three]] focuses on the hijacking of a subway car in Manhattan on the 3 route. (Pelham 1-2-3 refers to the originating station [Pelham Bay in the Bronx] and the time of departure [1:23pm])
  • The 1974 movie Death Wish has a few scenes on various lines of the NYC subway in which the character of Paul Kersey (played by Charles Bronson) gets to practice his questionable vigilantism.
  • The 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever features a scene near the end showing Tony Manero, played by John Travolta, taking an all-night ride on the Subway, during which he realizes his need to rise above and go beyond his childhood roots and seek a more meaningful life for himself.
  • The 1978 movie Superman has its villain of the film, Lex Luthor (played by Gene Hackman), living beneath Grand Central Station in Metropolis (New York City). There is also a scene in the film where Luthor's bumbling henchman, Otis, (played by Ned Beatty) has a run in with the law in the station itself.
  • The 1979 cult film The Warriors focuses on a street gang taking the subway from upper Bronx to Coney Island. The movie's heavily graffitied cars contrast starkly with today's relatively clean subway system.
  • The 1981 film Nighthawks (starring Sylvester Stallone) has a chase sequence with Rutger Hauer on a subway train.
  • In the 1989 film Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Voorhees is electrocuted on subway tracks after attempting to attack two teenagers on a train.
  • The IND Culver Line, particularly the Bergen Street station, features prominently in the opening of the 1990 film Jacob's Ladder.
  • In the 1990 drama Ghost, Patrick Swayze encounters Vincent Schiavelli, a "subway ghost" who has haunted several trains in the system since being pushed onto the tracks while alive. All the scenes were filmed on an unused platform under the A-C-E 42nd Street/Port Authority station. This platform is often used for filming- in fact, the station name on the walls differ as you walk down the platform, so that the same platform can stand in for multiple locations.
  • Abel Ferrera's 1990 thriller King of New York has Frank White (Christopher Walken) riding the 42 Street shuttle.
  • The 1990 movie {{subst:Wikipedia reference 2|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (film)|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]] featured Judith Hoag's "April O'Neil" character being attacked in the subway by Shredder's "Foot soldiers" before being rescued by one of the eponymous turtles and taken through the tunnels to the turtles' subterranean lair.
  • The 1991 sequel to the first "Turtles" movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, found the turtles residing in an old subway tunnel far beneath the current system. In one scene, Ernie Reyes, Jr.'s character remarks that he "never got a seat on the subway system so fast" in his life after carrying odorous chemicals from the streets to the lair.
  • Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) is set in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn and has the D train as a prominient supporting background character.
  • The 1995 film Die Hard: With a Vengeance features Simon Gruber (Jeremy Irons) planting a bomb on a 3 train in order to blow up the Wall Street Station
  • The 1995 film Hackers has a key scene which takes place on a New York City subway, in which Jonny Lee Miller's character Dade "Zero Cool" / "Crash Override" Murphy, Angelina Jolie's character Kate "Acid Burn" Libby, and the other hacker protagonists convene to plan their electronic strike against Fisher Stevens' villainous character, Eugene "The Plague" Belford, who is threatening to create a worldwide ecological disaster.
  • The 1995 film Money Train takes place in the subway system, with Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, and Jennifer Lopez playing New York City Transit Police officers. The main plot of the film dealt with a plan to hijack the NYCT revenue collection train. The train scenes were actually filmed in Los Angeles on a specially constructed replica of the New York City Subway system on an old railroad yard adjacent to Chinatown known as "The Cornfield."
  • In 1997, HBO held a contest wherein New Yorkers were encouraged to send in stories about their experiences on the system to be part of a documentary. The documentary, Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground, included over ten stories featuring performances by actors such as Denis Leary, Steve Zahn, Jerry Stiller, the late Gregory Hines, and Rosie Perez (who also helped to produce).
  • In the 1999 Adam Sandler comedy Big Daddy, Sandler's character, Cole and Dylan Sprouse's character, and Sandler's friends are shown buying food from a hot dog stand infront of the Christopher Street Station which then served 1 and 3 trains running on the IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line.
  • In the 2000 {{Wikipedia reference|Adam Sandler]] comedy Little Nicky, the subway below Grand Central Terminal possesses a portal to hell. At one point, Sandler's character saves girlfriend Patricia Arquette from an oncoming train by throwing himself onto the tracks in her place; upon dying, he finds himself in heaven.
  • The Yards (2000) revolves around private subway and commuter railroad contractors and corruption. Several scenes in rail yards are present and Mark Wahlberg rides the 3.
  • In 2001, the producers of the drama Don't Say a Word, starring Michael Douglas and Brittany Murphy, converted the abandoned Lower Bay subway station platform in Toronto to a station similar to Canal Street. [2]
  • In 2004, Spider-Man 2 featured a fight and crash scene on an out-of-control elevated R train in Manhattan. In reality, the R is not elevated at all; the scene was actually filmed on the Chicago 'L'.
  • In the 2004 film Immortel (Ad Vitam), the Egyptian god Horus crafts a new leg for Nikopol out of a piece of abandoned subway trackage in a dystopian late 21st century New York City. Flying cars attached to overhead electric rails are portrayed as commonplace by 2095.
  • The 2005 film Madagascar features some computer-generated scenes on the 4,5,6 IRT Lexington line.
  • The 2005 film Rent featured several cast members dancing and singing while riding the F train; this scene was actually shot on a set.
  • The 2005 film Little Manhattan shows Gabe and Rosemary riding from 72nd to Christopher Streets along the IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line. Also, Gabe wears a 3 train T-shirt during parts of the movie, available at the Transit Museum Store.

See alsoEdit

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MTA: New York City Subway
Routes NYCS Route 1NYCS Route 2NYCS Route 3NYCS Route 4NYCS Route 5NYCS Route 6NYCS Route 6dNYCS Route 7NYCS Route 7dNYCS Route ANYCS Route BNYCS Route CNYCS Route DNYCS Route ENYCS Route FNYCS Route GNYCS Route JNYCS Route LNYCS Route MNYCS Route NNYCS Route QNYCS Route RNYCS Route Z
Shuttles NYCS Route S (42nd StreetFranklin AvenueRockaway Park)
Defunct NYCS 89HKTVWJFK Express
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External linksEdit

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Currently operating heavy rail rapid transit systems in the United States
Atlanta · Baltimore · Boston · Chicago · Cleveland · Honolulu · Los Angeles · Miami · New York City/Staten Island/PATH · Philadelphia/PATCO · San Francisco Bay · San Juan · Washington