I've been living in New York City for just over a week-and-a-half now, and I have to say, it's been a pretty crazy ride so far! I've gotten lost a few times already, and I'd wager to say that about 98% of these mishaps have involved the subway... First there was the time on my first morning of work that I scurried off the train, panic-stricken, at the 125th street station, thinking I was at Columbus Circle. I was only about 100 blocks too far north... Next, I learned the important lesson that whichever end (front or back) of the train you board will majorly impact from which end of the station you'll end up resurfacing. That's how I ended up four blocks away from my apartment, thinking nothing at all looked familiar, and not knowing which way was North. The most recent blunder occurred when I wasn't paying close enough attention on the late-night local train, thinking I had all the time in the world, and then ending up at the very tip pity top of Manhattan, narrowly missing an unintentional trip to the Bronx.
In my week as a commuter, I've learned that there are a few things you should never board the train without... Be it necessity or entertainment, I am happy to present you my list of Subway Survival Supplies.
2 I'm no germ-a-phobe, but I never forget to slather on some anti-bacterial gel the second I'm back above-ground.
3 Not a day has gone by that I haven't thanked my lucky stars for my Amazon Kindle! Both for curing boredom on a long ride or just distracting me while I'm standing up and clutching a pole as I'm herded toward 5th Avenue like I were on a cattle train.
4 A co-worker back in Columbus, Kaitlin, recommended I download the HopStop app and it's been a life-saver! I put in the addresses, both home and desired destination, and it tells you exactly what to do!
5 I am definitely a fan of listening to music on my commute. While I don't mind a train ride in the slightest, even a long one like mine, it always helps to disengage a little. It clears the mind! But really, the combination of music, reading and avoiding direct eye-contact is the perfect recipe for keeping the crazies away.
The subway system, including the many unique characters who ride it daily, is actually one of my favorite parts about this city. Having no car hasn't phased me in the slightest. In fact, I feel free as a bird without having to worry about it! No more parking tickets, designated driver responsibilities, street-sweeping schedules. It's just me and my MetroCard, Kindle, earphones, and anti-bacterial hand gel...hopping on the subway, ready for anything!