NYC Trip

Just thought I’d give a quick rundown of when I spent yesterday in NYC. With a nice long holiday weekend, it was only natural that I spend a day in the city.

I drove up the NJ Turnpike to Jersey City, where I parked in a garage next to the Pavonia/Newport PATH station and took PATH the rest of the way into Manhattan. Arriving at 33rd Street, I walked down Seventh Avenue to around 14th Street to look around in some furniture stores in that area. I then walked east until I found myself at Union Square, where I browsed around the farmer’s market and some of the holiday-themed booths that are set up near the subway entrance.

Feeling a few raindrops on my head, I decided to head into the subway, and took the (R) train up to 5th Avenue/59th Street and check out the holiday shopping crowds. I walked around a bit up there, poking my head into St. Thomas Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral before crossing the street and checking out the ice skating rink and Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Down in the concourse level of the RCA Building, I was very pleased to find one of those cool Pret A Manger shops that I saw all over London. Here’s hoping that more of those open up in the US.

From Rockefeller Center, I boarded a (D) train of R-68’s up to Columbus Circle, where I transferred to a northbound (1) train of R-62’s. I got off at 110th Street and grabbed a burger at The West End before heading over to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine for Evening Prayer. St. John the Divine, of course, was as magnificent as always, and it was hard for me to pull myself away from there. But I couldn’t stick around forever, and being in a somewhat ponderous and brooding mood at the moment, decided to take a walk down Broadway.

How far down Broadway from 111th Street? Well, at first I decided to try to make it down to my old high school friend’s neighborhood around 86th Street, which would make a nice healthy walk. Once there, I decided to continue on to Columbus Circle. Once at Columbus Circle, I figured Times Square wasn’t too far away, so what the hell…

About two hours later, I finally found myself down at Canal Street with two very sore feet. That’s right, a non-stop walk down Broadway from 111th to Canal Street. I parted Broadway and walked east on Canal over into Chinatown, and walked around some of the narrow side steets of Chinatown for a while. What a cool neighborhood at night, with all the shops facing the sidewalk and all the neon and colors… It was like something straight out of the movie Blade Runner. The coolest thing about New York City, I’ve found, is that no matter how many times I go there, on each visit I always come across something new and interesting.

By this point, as you can imagine, my feet are killing me, and I decided I wouldn’t mind riding around on the subway for a while before I head back home. I realized that I had still never seen the infamous Chambers Street station on the BMT, so I naturally headed down in that direction.

Finally, in front of City Hall and nearly at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, I ducked into the subway station and ended one incredibly long walk: From the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to City Hall, with only one stop at a Starbucks in SoHo to use the restroom and grab a latte. This was probably at least as long as the walk I took on my first-ever visit to NYC, from the High Street station in Brooklyn across the Brooklyn Bridge, to the World Trade Center, and then up the East Side of Manhattan to around 86th Street and across Central Park to my friend’s place on Amsterdam Avenue. Damn, there have certainly been a ton of changes since there: The WTC is gone, my friend now lives back in Florida, and I’ve been through about a million changes in my own life.

Once inside the Chambers Street station, all I can say is: Wow. I was very impressed to find that it was all it’s been cracked up to be here on SubTalk. If Detroit had a real subway, I’m sure it would look something like Chambers. After a short wait, I grabbed a (J) train of R-40M’s headed toward Jamaica. This was my first time on this area of the NYC subway, so I decided to do some exploring, nevermind the fact that it was now pushing 10:00 PM.

We went through the Canal Street station, which I see is now the topic of discussion on another thread, and also the Essex Street Station. It was only this evening, after looking around on this site, that I found out what it was I saw off to the right-hand side of the train as we passed through: the old trolley terminal.

We then headed across the Williamsburg Bridge, which made the first time I had been across the Willy-B. It seems to have a very interesting configuration, with each of the two roadways divided down the middle by the bridge structure.

Once on the Brooklyn Side, we passed some cool old loft buildings as we slowly made our way down the line. At Myrtle Avenue, I saw a train of R-143’s for the first time ever, waiting on the other track as an (M) shuttle. I decided to take the (J) to Broadway Junction, where I would take the (L) back into Manhattan and transfer to PATH at 14th Street.

Out at Broadway Junction, I went upstairs to wait for the inbound (L) train, and was very pleased when a train of R-143’s pulled in. My impressions: This must have been a very new trainset, as it still had that “new car smell”. The interior didn’t seem as harsh as that on the R-142’s, and the sounds reminded me a lot of the M4’s on Philly’s Market-Frankfort Line. The only real negative was that stupid Mr. Ed voice that announces when the doors are closing. Somehere around Lorimer Street, I was cursed at by a drunken wino.

I got off at 6th Avenue and transferred to the PATH train, and drove home from Pavonia/Newport without incident.

This was hopefully the last major trip in my infamous 1986 Trans Am, as I’m currently shopping for a new car and hope to have one sometime this coming week. I’ll let everybody know what I end up with.

(originally posted on the SubTalk forum at

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