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5 Tips for Riding the NYC Subway Late at Night


After a long night out in Manhattan, it’s finally time to cross the mighty East River and return to your homeland, Brooklyn. While it’s nice to imagine lounging in the back of a luxurious Uber, you don’t really have those kinds of funds, especially after having spent a pretty penny on lavish umbrella-adorned tiki drinks and truffle fries. Fortunately, the subway is there for you! Well… most of the time. To help you navigate your trip back to your leftover Chinese food and well-loved soft pillows, we’ve got 5 tips for taking the subway late at night.




Map it Out

Take a couple minutes to download a pdf of the late night service MTA map. Make sure to map out your route before you leave. This will help you get a better sense of what trains go where and will come in handy if you’re travelling sans wifi. In addition, it’s always wise to check the MTA service website for any last minute updates on train delays or construction.



Give Yourself Time


When the clock strikes midnight, trains simply don’t run as frequently. With that in mind, give yourself enough time to get back home. Instead of hanging out for one more (probably not necessary) drink, make your way to the nearest train station. I’m sure your head will thank you in the morning.



Play it Safe


If you’re travelling alone, make sure to use the busiest subway station entrances and exits. While on the platform, don’t wander off to the far edges in search of Narnia. I promise you that this path will only lead you to pools of rancid urine and other ungodly scents. Instead, stay close or within view of the station agent (who wears a bright orange vest), or in the Off-Hours Waiting Area generally located near a station booth. Electronic signs in many Off-Hours Waiting Areas indicate when a train is approaching the station, and if you wait near the sign, you will have enough time to walk to the platform as the train arrives.


Know Where to Sit


It’s best to sit in the first car of the train, behind the train operator. There are usually more people on this car and it tends to be closer to exits. The middle car is also a good option as the conductor usually rides in front of this car. Avoid empty cars, and not just because there’s safety in numbers. They are usually empty for a (smelly) reason. You don’t need to find out why.





Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Leave your headphones in your pocket or keep the volume low. It’s best to be aware of your surroundings when taking the train late at night. This will prevent you from missing any announcements and will also keep you alert. Instead, read a book or scroll through an article on your phone. Whatever you do, stay awake, and when you exit the train, walk with purpose. You’re a New Yorker now, after all.


Check out our neighborhood guides for more things to do in beautiful Brooklyn!