In New York, we ride subways every day. If you stay in Manhattan, you’re typically underground the entire trip. I’ve never been a fan of the dark, underground subway tunnels. Although I admire their reach & efficiency, I would much rather be above sea level. So much of New York is crowded and cramped, that when a moment comes where you get to be above ground and moving quickly through the city on the train, you feel so lucky to “see the light”, literally!
I was inspired to write about above ground subways by this photo of the J Train in Williamsburg at the Marcy stop, taken by my boyfriend, Zeh. The J train is one of many in Brooklyn that rises above the matrix of subterranean tunnels throughout the city. Typically, if you venture out past the madness that is Manhattan, you most certainly will experience that ground breaking moment.
Aside from that quick breath of relief and melting of anxiety, above ground subway rides are a cheap and easy way to tour parts of the larger city! You will see some great elevated views, often with 360 degree spans of the city, for just the cost of a subway ride!
Some of my favorite trains to ride are:
- Q train to Park Slope – goes right over the Manhattan bridge with great views of the Brooklyn Bridge & lower Manhattan.
- N train to Queens – most of the ride within Queens is above ground, providing landscaping views of Astoria & mid-town Queens. See the Yelp Page for N train reviews!
- 1 Train to Harlem – between 120th and 130th street, the 1 train pops above ground. If you keep going, it will pop back up for air between Dyckman St and 225th St.
…And there are many more above ground moments on other trains such as the 7 train in Queens, the 4/5 in the Bronx, the 2/3 far out in Brooklyn, and the entire line on Staten Island, I believe.
Although most of my riding these days involves a quick & crowded trip on the underground L train, from time to time I am lucky enough to cross the Williamsburg bridge on the M train, or the Manhattan bridge on my old friend the Q train.
It’s worth it.