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November 13th 2011

The N Line Is The Most Powerful NYC Subway Train Of All Time

It'll blow your mind.

View From the N Train

Let’s begin by getting one thing straight, the N line may very well be the most powerful NYC subway train of all time. It jumps from the heart of Brooklyn to Canal St. in Manhattan within a single stop. It zooms past the silly local R train which crawls through downtown Brooklyn and pitifully, painfully drags its sad, screeching metal shell as it lumbers into the city. To put it another way, if Vin Diesel was reincarnated in subway train form, he would probably be the N. And moreover, he would likely smoke the crap out of the other underglowing Honda Civic subway train street racer wannabes.

But on top of all of that and maybe most importantly, the N runs across the Manhattan Bridge above the East River while many other cross-river trains use those underwater magical tunnels I don’t understand.

The view from the N train is beautiful, and I feel like
I’m the only one who notices it.

The view from the N train is beautiful, and I feel like I’m the only one who notices it. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, as the train emerges from the labyrinth of dark tunnels, the world peeks in, and for a maybe a minute or so, the hustle of the subway, that I’m-busy-and-need-to-walk-faster mentality, the iPhone-checking, cyclically-caffeinated, eating-lunch-over-your-laptop, too-tired-for-the-gym, I-need-wifi-while-underground, never-get-enough-done weight in your lungs… seems to pause.

I like to sit on the West side of the train. That’s because as you look over your adjacent train-mates the windows of the N frame the Brooklyn Bridge perfectly as it spans the two cities.

I never see anyone else peering out the windows. It’s as if the view is no different than the cracking, gray, moist tunnels that seem to wire the city. I don’t get it.

I’m not sure if my fellow ear-bud wearing passengers look at me thinking, “Man is it this guy’s first time in New York or something? Why’s he gawking out the window as if he just spotted Jay Z?” I’m not sure if it’s indeed a product of just being a 4 month New Yorker, or if I just have a weird engineering fetish for bridges.

But I have to say, I really think those other kids are crazy.

The N line is the most powerful NYC subway train of all time. It quantum leaps you from the Target at Atlantic Terminal to the bottom of the fancy, shmancy SoHo stores in a blink of an eye. It puts the tortoise-paced local R, the Snorlax of Brooklyn-bound subway trains to embarrassing shame. And it takes you over the bridge… over the bridge, out of the depths of the blackhole tunnels where I still childishly ponder if underground people actually live down there. The N train breaks up your day. It stops time. It’s the fucking Stargate of subway cars as it glides along the Manhattan Bridge like a beautiful, metal phoenix-like time portal of public transportation. It takes the world out of context and lets you see. It moves. It pauses. It’s magic. And yet, it’s still just a train.



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