7 must-see subway stations when you visit New York
Local commuters loath it, tourists hesitate to use it, yet New York is almost synonymous with its Subway, having made guest appearances in virtually all New York set films. Subway stations are both portals to exciting sights in the city, and in these cases, interesting to visit in their own right. So we have put together a list of 7 Subway Stations you must see when you visit New York … there’s a good surprise at the end.
1. 81stStreet/Museum of Natural History – B, C –
With its walls riddled with intriguing natural history artwork, this station leaves no surprises as to what sits above ground. Murals with all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures, be they insects, reptiles, fish (make sure to look down!), or mammals, will make this an oddly enjoyable experience. You’ll also find creatures long extinct in the form of dinosaur mosaics and wall mounted fossils, and you can even travel to the centre of the earth – well kind of.
Take a look at Excelsior Hotel NYC which sits just steps away from the Museum of Natural History
2. World Trade Centre – PATH Transport Hub, 2, 3, A, C, E, N, R, W –
The newly constructed station building, the ‘Oculus’, is located at the site of the tragic 9/11 attacks. But the station is not merely an access point to ground zero and the surrounding area, but a sombre reminder of that fated day in its own right. In the ADA-accessible ramp entrance on the northeast, which leads to the Subway station from the Oculus, there is a preserved door with a spray-painted “MATF 1 / 9 13” from rescuers searching the station in the aftermath of the attacks.
3. Grand Central Station – 4, 5, 6, 7, S –
With a world-record-breaking 44 platforms, Grand Central Station is all about grandeur, and a must-see when you visit New York. From the minute you take your first step into the cavernous Main Concourse, with the enormous star-spangled banner flag, you will be left awestruck. Oh, and don’t forget to look up at the ceiling!
Check this out! The Roosevelt hotel, at a stone’s throw from Grand Central Station, will match the station’s grandeur
4. Smith Street/9thStreet – F, G –
This station, over the East River in Brooklyn, is worth a brief visit – maybe simply to change platform and return. There are two reasons for this: first, the station offers a unique view of the Lower Manhattan skyline across New York Harbour. It offers these views because of its impressive height, standing at over 26 meters – another record-breaking figure, and the second reason for visiting.
5. 181stStreet station – A –
Found way up town, 181ststreet station is quirky for a number of reasons. First, its entrance on 181ststreet boasts an interesting (original) art deco castle-like façade, with large wooden doors and all. It is also one of the deepest stations on the Subway, and as such has a couple of lifts (read elevators). These however, are no ordinary elevators, for one of them continues to have attendants.
Note: the elevators will be closed between August 2019 and July 2020 for maintenance.
6. The High Line
How about walking along a disused rail line? Coming out of a renovation project of an abandoned railway viaduct starting 2006, the Highline is an elevated walkway that spans over 2km – the final section was completed June 2019. The tracks have been repurposed into landscaped gardens, street art exhibitions, and other fun open spaces, but nevertheless carry its railway heritage.
7. Old City Hall station
Below the majestic City Hall building lies the equally imposing City Hall station… but unlike its upstairs namesake, this station has not been used since 1945. However, the tiled station, and its jaw-dropping skylights can be glimpsed in two ways. The first, become a member of the New York Transit museum, and wait for one of the rare and highly subscribed sale of tour tickets, or, catch a fleeting glimpse on the 6 train…
Jump on the 6 train before it reaches its Brooklyn Bridge terminus, where it will asks passengers to leave the train, DON’T. The train will then drive around the Old City Hall station (it’s a curved station) to make the turnaround. It does so pretty quickly, so be sure to position yourself appropriately.
We hope this list has inspired you to explore these Stations (and tracks) when you visit New York.
Why not take a look at hotels in New York now?
Words: Jeremy Sacramento