View Full Version : Bus/train/subway stations

August 29th, 2005, 06:36 AM
I'm interested in learning more about what these city transportation hubs are like. I live in an area where public transportation is limited to buses, mainly. There is only one terminal, located downtown, and it's no bigger than one you might find in many much smaller cities and towns.

I'd like to know what kinds of shops and businesses you find in these places (or directly around the area). And how numerous are these stations in New York City? I prefer shopping areas that are more practical with things like barbers, drugstores or coffee shops. As opposed to clothing/specialty stores.

I enjoy any movie or book that features (or even mentions) these places. It's sad that popular shows like Friends and Seinfeld didn't show them more.

Hopefully this post makes sense. I would appreciate if you could share information about this, or point me to an informative source. Thanks.

August 29th, 2005, 10:07 AM
There are a number of excelent documentaries available on the NYC Subway.

NYC is served by the Subway (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, J, L, N, Q, R, S, V, W and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 lines)
NYC is served by local city buses.
NYC is served by the AirTrain to JFK Airport
NYC is served by three commuter railroads: Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and Metro-NOrth.
NYC is served by numerous ferries including NY Waterway and Staten Island Ferry.
NYC is served by Regional / National Railroad: AMTRAK
NYC is served by heliports
NYC is served by three major Airports: Newark, JFK, LaGuardia.

Major Train Hubs are Grand Central Station, Penn Station, Flatbush Ave Terminal (Brooklyn), Jamaica Station (Queens), Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island (Brooklyn).

August 29th, 2005, 01:42 PM
I would just add the M and the Z train lines, in addition to those posted above.

August 29th, 2005, 02:46 PM
Damn - I sat there going A, B, C, D......

Can't believe I forgot those or, at least the "M", which I sometimes take home!


August 29th, 2005, 03:37 PM
dont forget the PATH

August 29th, 2005, 08:45 PM
Thanks for the info. I will try to look out for those types of documentaries. I've seen documentaries on subways that focused on the construction side, which is really amazing. But I'm more interested in just the everyday travel life of the people who use them.

I'm also interested in Chicago to a lesser degree. Or any city that uses a lot of public transportation.

August 30th, 2005, 03:03 PM
Grand Central has art exhibits and events in the spacious and beautiful Vanderbilt Hall, including the excellent Holiday Fair. There are numerous shops and stores like those found in the nicer malls, plus the more practical things like shoe shines, currency exchange, and other services. There is also a dining concourse in addition to some fine restaurants - The Oyster Bar is a must visit, in my opinion.

Penn Station also has shops, some restaurants and bars - Tracks Raw Bar & Grill isn't bad at all. There is a barber shop, shoe repair, cleaners, and banking facilities in the adjacent subway concourse.

Port Authority Bus Terminal likewise has its share of shops and eateries.

Pretty soon we'll be able to return the World Trade Center concourse to the list. You can find things like drugstores and coffee shops in and around all of these, plus much more. Geo. Washington Bridge Bus Terminal has Off-Track Betting! Really, a lovely place.

August 30th, 2005, 03:40 PM
...I'm also interested in Chicago to a lesser degree...

So are we!

August 30th, 2005, 09:14 PM
Thanks. That's really cool stuff.

Shoeshines. That's another thing I've always wondered about. I didn't know if they still had those or if they were just a thing of the past.

One cool thing I've noticed is that some of the newer outdoor malls have a "main street" feel to them. I like smaller towns that utilize their main street shops.

August 30th, 2005, 09:28 PM
Yeah, they still have shoe shines. Lots of bigger stations (i.e. Penn, Times Square, Grand Central, P.A.) have plenty of stores and even barber shops as well. Concerning your initial question about the surroundings of the stations, they're generally just whatever is in that neighborhood as stations and bus stops are so plentiful. Nothing really "special" going on around the stations.

August 31st, 2005, 12:03 AM
It doesn't just apply to stations, but I like commercial centers that are active with people and the shops fill a need. Stores like Walmart are kind of similar, the difference being that people drive their own cars there. You can get almost anything there, including haircuts. And they have gas stations now.

If there was enough demand for shoeshiners, no doubt Walmart would probably have them.

I hate specialty type stores that have such little activity in comparison that the shopkeepers seem surprised whenever someone walks in, and they don't quite know how to react.

August 31st, 2005, 12:11 AM
Harlem you mentioned Times Square. Is that the subway station? I was also curious about subway stations underground. When I was a kid I read "The Cricket in Times Square" which was set in a newstand in the subway. It seemed like there were lots of shops (booths?) there. Is it still like that? Are there underground shops?

I remember seeing a glimpse of it, or part of it, in a movie (maybe Fame) and it didn't appear to be filled with shops.

September 1st, 2005, 08:46 PM

So, are there underground shops in subway stations? And, are they like booths, or are they built into the overall structure?

September 1st, 2005, 09:38 PM

So, are there underground shops in subway stations? And, are they like booths, or are they built into the overall structure?

There are underground shops in the bigger stations such as Times Square and Columbus Circle. Most stations however have no shops. Some have newsstands but no shops. The shops are built into the structure, they are not portable booths.

September 3rd, 2005, 10:06 AM
I got curious about New York because I used to read Mad magazine as a kid. It was based in New York. Cartoonists like Dave Berg and Al Jaffee were always drawing scenes with people using public transportation, or with businessmen working in the big city.

September 3rd, 2005, 10:34 AM
I was skimming through "Cricket" and found that the book was set in a TS platform with a shuttle going from TS to Grand Central.

I also imagine a bus station with nearby underground shops. Safer than a subway.

September 3rd, 2005, 06:12 PM
By safe I meant just being away from the tracks. I have a thing about being around rail tracks.

I guess Grand Central was the type of place I was originally asking about when I mention "subway stations." I had thought of it as just a train station - above ground. But does it actually have lower levels for subways? Or do the subways come up to the ground surface first? I saw a movie where someone accessed the Grand Central subway from a street. But can you get to it from inside the terminal also?

Sorry if these are annoying questions. I know that I could find the info if I just did a little research first.

September 3rd, 2005, 06:34 PM
I guess Grand Central was the type of place I was originally asking about when I mention "subway stations." I had thought of it as just a train station - above ground. But does it actually have lower levels for subways? Or do the subways come up to the ground surface first? I saw a movie where someone accessed the Grand Central subway from a street. But can you get to it from inside the terminal also?

Grand Central is an early 20th-century transportation complex with access to both railroad and subway tracks, all of which are underground (almost no subway lines in Manhattan ever run above-ground).

September 3rd, 2005, 11:55 PM
Wow. That's great information. I found a website that has maps of Grand Central, which also helps a lot.

Friends is not a bad show but it doesn't seem realistic to me either. It looks like it could be filmed anywhere. Although I had a boss from New York who really liked the show's settings. Go figure. I preferred settings in Seinfeld, like the diner where they were always hanging out. I also liked the early Laverne and Shirley shows, set in Milwaukee.

I will have to check out Money Train. I've noticed it on the shelves a few times and always considered purchasing it in the hopes that it would have good scenes. Thanks.

I was just thinking about how some shopping malls resemble terminals. They were probably originally inspired by terminals.

September 4th, 2005, 12:20 AM
I think most New Yorkers would agree that the best NY subway movie ever made is "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3". A real NY movie with a lot of real NY'ers. Give it a look, I don't think you'll be disapointed.

September 4th, 2005, 12:38 AM
Certainly. Here' the link. It contains an interactive map.

I will check out the Pelham movie. I like 'Went to Coney Island on a Mission From God' also. It doesn't show stations, but it does show Coney Island in the off season. I also like old amusement parks.

September 14th, 2005, 08:15 AM
Who uses Grand Central Station? Is it mostly people travelling to and from New York City, or do people who happen to live and work around the station use it to travel within the city?

September 14th, 2005, 08:29 AM
The short answer to your question is, both. People commuting to and from the city from Connecticut and Westchester County (NY) use it via Metro-North Railroad. As far as I know, there are no long haul passenger trains that use Grand Central Central Terminal. This is because Amtrak is basically the only long haul passenger railroad left in the country, and Amtrak owns Pennsylvania Station, which is located on the west side of Manhattan.

People use Grand Central to get around the city as well, because a major express subway station is located within Grand Central. The IRT's (a term that isn't used much anymore, but that is for another discussion) east side line has a major stop at Grand Central. You can use that subway line to go up and down the east side of Manhattan and even to the Bronx and Brooklyn. There is also a line at Grand Central which will take you west to Times Square, and another that will take you west to Times Square or east to Queens.

Within Grand Central Terminal, you will find many restaurants and shops. Grand Central Terminal is one of New York City's architectural jewels.

September 14th, 2005, 12:39 PM
I will check out the Pelham movie.
Make sure it's the original 1974 with Walther Matthau, not the 1998 remake with Marky Mark's brother. I was so dissapointed when it was the remake on tv and I was expecting the original.

September 16th, 2005, 07:39 AM
I finally watched the Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. It was pretty good. I especially liked the performances by the people at the police and subway headquarters.

In the movie "Off Beat" with Judge Reinhold there is a shot of a subway or underground train station I'm curious about. It's definitely not a typical looking subway station. He walks through a passageway before getting to some steps that go just slightly lower to the platform next to the train. In a brief shot before that they show a sign on the street level that says either West 53rd or West 43rd.