I hope you enjoyed reading this guide as much as I enjoyed writing it. Don't expect to fully remember everything in this guide and perfectly navigate the system. You will make some mistakes, but hopefully you are now better equipped and more confident in taking the trains.

I started this guide in 2013 after seeing so many people struggle with the system (and also remembering the struggle I had when I first moved to the city). The guide has grown over time with lots more information and I continue to iterate on it on a regular basis. I want to thank the countless people who have helped review and suggest changes and corrections. If you have found any mistakes/incorrect information (especially on prices that are often subject to change), please let me know. If you have found this guide to be useful, please help me by sharing this guide with other travelers and on social media.

What's next?

Despite some of my gripes about the New York subway, I do think it's one of the most valuable subway systems in the world. It certainly provides the most bang for your buck. It's impossible to think of New York City without picturing the subway. The subway system brings a lot of jobs to the city, and is the one place where you encounter people of all races, ethnicities, genders, types, and income brackets. New York wouldn't be this great of a city were it not for its subway system.

Happy traveling!
Minh T. Nguyen
[email protected]

Get this guide in book form

Disclaimer: These books were published in 2013 and are outdated and don't have the same full content as this website.

The most convenient, cost-effective way to travel in New York City is by subway, but many first-time visitors, tourists, and even locals find the complexity of the system intimidating and confusing. Whether you are a first-time visitor or have struggled to use the subway system in the past, this guide is for you!

This book makes absolutely no assumptions about what you know about taking public transportation in New York or elsewhere. Illustrated with more than 70 pictures and figures, this detailed guide breaks down everything you need to know about using the subway - from the ground up. You'll learn how to read the subway map, properly differentiate between the many subway lines, and identify the correct trains and platforms. Filled with detailed information and many pictures, this guide will alleviate your fear and confusion about taking the subway and allow you to navigate it confidently and effectively so that you can focus on enjoying New York City.

What this guide includes:

  • A step-by-step guide on how to use the subway system
  • Dealing with weekend and weeknight service changes
  • Frequently asked questions about the subway
  • 70+ pictures and figures allowing you to visually understand the system
  • Tips, tricks, and subway etiquette
  • Getting from New York's three major airports into Manhattan
Absolute Beginner's Guide to the New York Subway book cover
Buy this ebook for only $2.99 at
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Buy this paperback for only $9.95 at
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French flag Guide d'utilisation du métro de New-York pour les débutants
Lulu  | Amazon Kindle  | Apple iBookstore  | Google Play