23 Crazy Things You Didn’t Know About The NYC Subway


1. The A train is the longest subway in the NYC subway system, logging 31 miles from 207th Street in Washington Heights to Far Rockaway out in Queens.

2. In 2005, a garbage bag was found on the subway tracks 250 feet away from the Nostrand Avenue (A & C) station. In the bag were dismembered body parts belonging to 19-year-old Rashawn Brazell of Bushwick. The murderer has not yet been caught.

3. Three railroad companies merged to create the MTA — the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT), Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) and the city-owned Independent Rapid Transit Railroad (IND). You can tell who built what because of the size and length of station platforms are all different. The subway car widths are also a giveaway. The thinner the cars (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 trains), you know you’re on an IRT-line. The wider the cars (A, B, C, D, E, F, M and G), you know you’re on an IND-line.

4. Line and service are not interchangeable in the MTA. The service is the route that the train takes along lines. The line is the physical track the train runs on.

5. According to the MTA, the lowest subway station is the 1 train 191 Street station in Manhattan, which is located 180 feet below street level.

6. There are two divisions in the NYC subway: the A division (IRT Division) and the B Division (BMD/IND Division).

7. A 16-year-old assumed the controls on an A train and successfully operated it for over three hours until he was noticed.

8. The 4 train was once considered the worst train to be on in the 70s and 80s. People referred to it as “Mugger’s Express.” Crime became so bad that people took matters into their own hands to form the Guardian Angels.

9. A drunk conductor was at fault for the derailment of a 4 train in 1991. He was charged with five five counts of manslaughter and operating under the influence.

10. The MTA’s safety protocols regarding transit workers working on the tracks have come under fire due to deaths that could have been prevented.

11. There’s a moving walkway at the Court Square stop (E, G and 7).

12. The J and Z lines are one of the oldest lines in Brooklyn — officially open to the public in 1893. It was called the Broadway Elevated back then.

13. The highest train station is Smith and 9th Street (F and G) in Brooklyn, at 88 feet.

14. Some subway platforms can be as long as 745 feet — but that’s an IND-line characteristic.

15. If you have to use the bathroom in the subway, hold it — or get off at one of the 77 stations (out of 468) that have open restrooms. If you’re really desperate, you have no choice, I guess.

16. People rode the subways over 1.6 billion times in 2012.

17. Desperate people used to suck subway tokens out of the slot. In return, MTA police would spray the token slots with chili powder for a nasty surprise.

18. Not surprisingly, the L train is one of the more overcrowded trains.

19. Michael Jackson and Martin Scorsese filmed “Bad” at Hoyt-Schermerhorn station (A, C and G) in 1987.

20. There was a proposed subway expansion in 1940 that would’ve helped straphangers living along the G line. Now, we’re stuck with it and have to wait 10 minutes for a dimly-lit car with no heat.

21. One too many people were pushed on to the tracks in 2012. People feared it so much, Slate published an article titled, What Should You Do if You’re Pushed Onto Subway Tracks? The tragic answer? Wing it.

22. In 2006, a mentally unstable man found electric saws in the 1 train 110th Street station and attacked a postal worker on the platform.

23. There are currently 10 closed station platforms unaccessible to the public, and 4 stations that have been demolished.

image – Flickr / derekskey