The New York Subway header

10 Sublime Facts about the New York Subway

When you think of New York City, you probably tend to think of yellow taxi cabs, Broadway, Times Square, and the iconic New York subway. This transportation system is used by millions of people every day, and connects everyone in the whole city. But, how much do you know about this system? Here are some fun facts about the New York subway!

1. It is one of the oldest subway systems in the world.

Having first opened in 1904, the New York subway system is one of the oldest networks of its kind in the world! To this day, it is one of the biggest systems in the world, too, as it covers over 660 miles (1,062 km) of track, reaching a total of 472 subway stations!

2. It’s open 24 hours a day.

Unlike certain subway systems, the New York City Subway runs 24 hours a day, across all seven days a week, every day of the year. This makes it incredibly easy to get to where you need to go around the city at any point during the day, and on public holidays when it might otherwise be tricky to get around!

3. The subway once used tokens, but these have been replaced by phones and cards.

Once upon a time, tokens were used as fare on the New York subway. That is until 2003 when the MetroCard became the primary means of payment. Nowadays, you can still use a MetroCard, or simply tap your contactless card or phone (with an active e-wallet), to catch a train.

New York Subway

4. The subway is often thriving with art and music.

One of the most famous things about the New York subway is that you can often find performers at the stations, and even in the train cars! In fact, numerous celebrities have even performed on the platforms, including Miley Cyrus and Hozier!

5. Many stations feature pieces from the New York Transit art installation.

If you ever go to a New York subway station, you’ll likely come across a few art pieces. These are part of the New York Transit art program which showcases sculptures, mosaics, and other art installations.

6. The very first line opened on the subway was the IRT.

The very first New York subway line was known as the IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit). It ran from City Hall to Harlem, covering 9.1 miles (14.6 km)!

7. The white subway tiles were a purposeful choice.

One of the key ways people recognize the New York subway system is from the iconic white tiles. In fact, many choose to use such tiles in their own homes to emulate the areas! However plain these tiles may seem, however, they were chosen for a specific reason. The iconic white subway tiles and mosaics were designed by George C. Heins and Christopher Grant LaFarge in an attempt to make stations feel cleaner and more appealing.

8. There is a whispering gallery in Grand Central.

In the Grand Central Terminal, there’s a fascinating architectural anomaly known as the Whispering Gallery. There, sound carries across the ceiling arches, allowing whispered conversations to be heard from across the room!

The Whispering Gallery @ the NYC Subway
The Whispering Gallery @ the NYC Subway

9. There was a subway race shortly after its opening.

With the idea of proving the new system’s efficiency, the Great Subway Race of 1905 took place, which involved a subway train, a car, and a horse-drawn carriage. The subway did indeed win the chase, unsurprisingly!

10. The system carries millions of people every day.

Generally speaking, the New York subway system carries over two million people on an average business day. However, there have been recordings of that number going over five million in a 24-hour period!

NYC Subway entrance @ Times Square
One of NYC Subway’s entrances

FAQs about the New York Subway

How much does it cost to ride the NYC subway?

At the time of writing, it costs about $2.90 on average to ride the New York subway. However, fares can vary depending on the age of the rider.

How do tourists use the NYC subway?

Tourists can use the NYC subway just as easily as locals! You can use cash, credit, or debit cards to buy each ticket or invest in a weekly or monthly MetroCard.

How much is a 7-day unlimited MetroCard NYC?

At the time of writing, a seven-day MetroCard in New York City is $34, but this might be subject to change. If you plan on using the transport system a lot during your stay, it can definitely be worth investing in the card for the week.

Further reading

Do you know any interesting facts about the New York Subway? Share them in the comments below!

Like our content? Like us on Facebook and never miss out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This page was last modified on September 29, 2023. Suggest an edit

There are 1000s of interesting and fun facts to learn about our planet.

Explore our world map to discover some fascinating facts for every country…

Explore our world map and discover facts for every country

Latest Facts