Okay, so this post is about the amazing transportation network in New York City. It truly is a “modern marvel” and puts Utah’s TRAX and bus system to shame (sorry UTA). The extensive underground infrastructure is totally incredible and somewhat overwhelming when you first start to use it. On two of the days on our trip to New York, Robin and I each bought a $7.50 unlimited one-day Subway pass, which pays for itself after four rides. With the help of good signage and maps, we were able to get to where we wanted to go fairly quickly and easily. At first we didn’t understand the difference between the “local” track (which stops at every stop) and the “express” track (which skips several stops to get travelers to their more distant destinations more quickly). So we ended up going sixty blocks past our destination (which was the American Museum of Natural History), only to get on another “express” train that took us right back where we started from. When we finally caught the right train, it only took us a few minutes to get to the museum, but we had ended up wasting 30 minutes or so on the wrong trains. We didn’t make that mistake again.
Anyway, the New York Subway is an amazing system. Just check out the map of Manhattan below and you can see the amazing labyrinth of underground tunnels that it encompasses. It is truly the city’s circulatory system. Of course, the streets above are filled with buses, yellow cabs and regular cars, but without the Subway system, the city would not be able to function. Not only did I find the massive infrastructure project jaw-dropping (Subway entrances on every corner, ticket vending machines, trains, tracks, tunnels, oh my!), but I also was fascinated by the masses of humanity that pass through that system every day. It is an incredibly diverse group of people of all races and walks of life, from street musicians to business men to homeless people. The English language was almost the exception since so many people of various backgrounds live and work in New York City. It was a true “melting pot” (although I think the PC thing to say now is a “mixed salad” since the idea is not to create a homogeneous society, but one in which each person adds to the overall flavor, without losing his or her own cultural identity.) Again, I don’t think I’d want to live there, but what a fascinating place to visit.