Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mr NYC to Tourists: Please Get a Subway Map!

I truly love and adore anybody and everybody who visits our fair city during these rough times and drops money into our city's economy. Keep it coming, your business is very much appreciated. But ... would all of you tourists, for the love of all that is holy, please look at a map before you get on our subways?

Today, a woman comes up to me before I'm just about to board an N train: "Can you tell me how to get to 125th street?"

"West Side or East Side?"

Big shrug. I sent her to the 2/3 line, hoping that'll get her to her destination.

This isn't even the worst of it. Past examples:
  • While on an R train, uptown: "'Scuse me, will this take me to Rector street?"

  • Tourists on a train in Queens thinking it was taking them to 39th street -- in Manhattan.

  • "Where's Canal Street?"
    "Where's that?"

  • Or once when I was in Soho. "Excuse me, I need to go to Midtown."
    "Take the 1/2 train. The entrance is right there."
    "But that goes to uptown."
    "Midtown is uptown from here."

    "Oh ..."
When I went to London and Paris earlier this year, I made sure to look at the underground maps of those towns and plotted my journey around town. Looking at a map -- that exhausting, mind-numbing exercise -- has helped me get around on the Metros and subways of other cities like Chicago, Rome, DC, and St. Louis. Can't our tourists do the same? The subway map is not that hard to read, most routes, particularly in Manhattan, just go up or down, one way or another.

So, again, Mr NYC, like most New Yorkers, loves our tourists. I just ask them to look at subway map before getting on it.


  1. Awww, have some pity on the poor souls who are a long way from their monster SUV and cupholder containing 52 oz of sugar water and carbonation.

  2. I got one for you.

    The automated announcement on the downtown 6 at Grand Central said "this is a Brooklyn Bridge-bound 6 local train"

    The sign on the side of the train said that it was the local going to the Brooklyn Bridge.

    The sign above the platform said that it was going to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall.

    The tourist asked, you guessed it "What train goes to the Brooklyn Bridge?" And "does this make every stop, or does it skip some stops?"

    I think I told her she wanted an uptown 4 to Yankee Stadium.


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