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I really think that it's just that New York City is massive both in population and area, yet not very conducive to automobiles, so mass transit is desperately needed, pretty much round the clock. Of course it's not nearly as busy late at night, but I've been on trains at 11:00 PM or later and all the seats were filled up. As to how they maintain the infrastructure if the trains run 24/7, there's the occasional service disruption at night or on weekends, during which they do their repairs and construction.

As has been becoming more and more evident, actually they maintain it considerably poorly compared to systems in other cities, and upgrades take considerably more time and money too.

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I really think that it's just that New York City is massive both in population and area, yet not very conducive to automobiles, so mass transit is desperately needed, pretty much round the clock. Of course it's not nearly as busy late at night, but I've been on trains at 11:00 PM or later and all the seats were filled up. As to how they maintain the infrastructure if the trains run 24/7, there's the occasional service disruption at night or on weekends, during which they do their repairs and construction.

As has been becoming more and more evident, actually they maintain it considerably poorly compared to systems in other cities, and upgrades take considerably more time and money too.

 

I do agree to a certain extent. There is apparently something to be said for just shutting down a line or segment altogether to get all the construction and maintenance done, and then continue service once again. The current system of doing repairs at night or on weekends, over the course of weeks or even months, hasn't been working great. The question is, is it better to inconvenience a bunch of people for months on end, or to screw with a ton of people for a few days. I feel like the latter is better in the long run.

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All subways are safe day and night. It’s not like it was 30-40 years ago. Take one of the subways to Brooklyn after dark and walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge. Very cool. There’s a new Midtown attraction called Gulliver’s Gate that might appeal to your son. I really enjoyed it. Could take Path train to Hoboken and ferry back to Chelsea. Also consider Classic Cruise Line trips around Manhattan. Goldstar has discount tickets.

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I would definitely recommend the NY Waterway ferries if you get the chance. They're very inexpensive, pretty efficient, and offer you a great view of the NYC skyline. There are plenty of routes, but I most recommend you take the East River Ferry from midtown to Pier 1 (near the southern tip of Manhattan). There's a large open area up top, which will let you enjoy the sun and get some great pictures of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Here's their website.

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How stupid for the "city that never sleeps"...

I feel like part of anyone's first visit to New York is the realization that most of it sleeps just as much as any other big city. -_-

Meanwhile, a couple of years back I walked around the western edge of the Loop in Chicago around the same time of day before catching the last Orange Line train of the night for an early morning flight, and there was virtually nobody on the streets.
You were hanging in the wrong area if expecting nightlife. It isn't hard to find very active streets late with 2:00, 4:00, and weekend 5:00 liquor licenses abounding.

 

 

Though, there are those who recall Chicago partying hard every night till dawn more than now in decades past.

 

Still, a lot of the most interesting stuff in town doesn't really get going until at least 11 or after Midnight.

Edited by NorthShore

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Still, a lot of the most interesting stuff in town doesn't really get going until at least 11 or after Midnight.

My Savannah is much like that. With a bar closing time of 3 AM, we have quite the party reputation. Bar tenders are going home while breakfast cooks are going in.

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I suspect one of New York's claim to 24 hour claim is the Subway system. Until recently it was pretty much the only system that ran 24 hours.

 

I assumed it was based on the clubs and drug culture from the sixties and seventies. Humans can't normally keep going all day and all night long unless they're on something stronger than a conventional OTC stimulant. In many major cities the transit curfew is when most/all of the maintenance is completed. Not sure how New York gets around it but I guess they just wait until something important fails before shutting down the interchange/station/bridge/tunnel to fix or replace the failed component(s).

 

 

New York is "The City That Never Sleeps." The people--they sleep.

 

Mass transit is 24/7, but so are many stores, esp. coffee shops and local convenience stores. Families are known to keep their stores open 24/7, explaining "We pay rent 24/7." Also bars and clubs are generally open till 4 AM, sometimes 5 on weekends. I've been to many "big" cities where bars close at 1 or 2 AM.

 

Another factor is getting ready for "normal" working hours. The number of people who work overnight--to clean up, collect refuse, or sell fresh fish to restaurants (business hours at the Fulton Fish Market are 1 AM-7 AM daily)--is huge. (Which is one of the reasons for round the clock public transportation.)

 

Safety? Depends entirely on time of day and location, whether above ground or below. That said, things are much better than they were decades ago.

Edited by Manny T

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There are famous "breakfast club" recordings from the jazz era of New York. Generally, that was in reference to an early evening performance, which was breakfast time for musicians who had stayed up performing all night.

 

In Chicago, you see cleaning ladies from the downtown offices going home at 1 A.M. and flight attendants and other airport workers riding the L at 3 or 4. It's interesting to watch the 24 hour bus on a nearby street carrying heavy loads in one direction till about 2 and be standing room only in the other direction after 3.

 

Red Line is party shuttle central every Thursday-Saturday night.

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Well, sure, there is always infrastructure that is going on at all hours. As I drive Uber & Lyft, some of the most interesting stuff happens between 3 and 6 AM.

 

But like momma used to say, "Nothing good happens East of midnight!"

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Also bars and clubs are generally open till 4 AM, sometimes 5 on weekends. I've been to many "big" cities where bars close at 1 or 2 AM.

Bar closing times have more to do with state/city alcohol laws than anything else, so it's not necessarily the best barometer of city awesomeness. (That said, I do have very fond memories of the time I was out with some friends in New York until the bars closed, and then we went to a diner for breakfast. I was still in my 20s then, though!)

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Safety? Depends entirely on time of day and location, whether above ground or below. That said, things are much better than they were decades ago.

 

 

Which locations are safe, at least until about dark-thirty? (Reasonably safe for three "mature" ladies?) Thanks!

 

 

On another, related note:

 

 

New York doesn't compare itself to Chicago. It compares itself to London, Paris, Tokyo, etc. Which to be fair are three more cities that also sleep. If I had to pick a city that did the least amount of sleeping I'd probably choose Las Vegas or Manila over New York, but that's not exactly a ringing endorsement. :wacko:

In terms of world cities, I agree with you. However, many if not most Americans who are visiting New York for the first time have not visited comparable cities in other countries.

 

 

I'm in the definite minority on this. I've visited several major US cities coast to coast, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Mexico, England, Wales, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy, and have trips planned to the Holy Land and to Maine. But I've never been near NYC, not even for a connecting flight! (Closest was probably on the CL on a trip from DC to Chicago--not close.) This is just plain un-American, so I need to get to NYC before I kick the bucket, LOL.

 

Therefore, advice on safe locations is much appreciated!

 

Thanks for the informative thread, OP, and enjoy your trip. :)

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I feel like any illuminated and well travelled street or area in NYC is going to be safe pretty much all the time. And I really feel like the subways are always safe, since there are lights in all the stations and train cars, and there are pretty much always people there. My point is, I guarantee you'll be fine if you use any common sense.

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The Loop in Chicago used to be more 24/7 but after the mid 60's quieted down at night (less retail and bar/restaurant activity, as well as less light manufacturing, such as the Garment District, which closed for the Sears Tower construction). Generally American cities and towns appear quiet to people from some countries - I remember a classmate from the UK in college being shocked at how desolate our college town was at night, even around the bar district.

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Anyone ever been to Coney Island? According to Wikipedia, the subway stop is the largest elevated metro stop in North America. They have a boardwalk, a beach, and a few of the amusement park rides escaped the depredations of Robert Moses, Fred Trump, and Rudy Giuliani.

 

You can also get a Nathan's hot dog at the original stand.

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Another possibility I'm considering for my day trip is to ride the A train to Rockaway and return on the NYC Ferry back to Manhattan. Runs hourly, fare is the same as the subway, and you actually ride offshore for a while.

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Anyone ever been to Coney Island? According to Wikipedia, the subway stop is the largest elevated metro stop in North America. They have a boardwalk, a beach, and a few of the amusement park rides escaped the depredations of Robert Moses, Fred Trump, and Rudy Giuliani.

 

You can also get a Nathan's hot dog at the original stand.

Some of us were born and raised in NYC area.

 

My wife and I went back a few years ago. Area of the subway station smelled and looked dirty. Police had a place on a level above the tracks so they could look down (for trouble?) but I didn't feel unsafe. Coney Island is not the cool place it used to be but is well worth visiting. We did stop at the original Nathans and, once more, I had a hot dog. My wife didn't like them as they have a skin you have to bite through. I love 'em.

 

I still remember the Red Bats. They were in a cage. You climbed some stairs to look in and you saw them - two small baseball bats painted red. When I saw them in the '60s, the paint was peeling. There was no charge to see them. Just one of the quirky Coney Island things. I couldn't find them when I visited with my wife.

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Anyone ever been to Coney Island? According to Wikipedia, the subway stop is the largest elevated metro stop in North America. They have a boardwalk, a beach, and a few of the amusement park rides escaped the depredations of Robert Moses, Fred Trump, and Rudy Giuliani.

 

You can also get a Nathan's hot dog at the original stand.

I've been there many times. It's a great area and a small yet fantastic amusement park. As I mentioned earlier:

 

 

As to the ideal subway line to enjoy the city, I would take the F to Coney Island. You can enjoy the boardwalk, as well as the original Nathan's Hot Dog Stand, and if you have time, there's the amusement park itself. There's also an the the aquarium to enjoy. Hope this helps!

Edited by cpotisch

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Anyone ever been to Coney Island? According to Wikipedia, the subway stop is the largest elevated metro stop in North America. They have a boardwalk, a beach, and a few of the amusement park rides escaped the depredations of Robert Moses, Fred Trump, and Rudy Giuliani.

 

You can also get a Nathan's hot dog at the original stand.

Some of us were born and raised in NYC area.

 

My wife and I went back a few years ago. Area of the subway station smelled and looked dirty. Police had a place on a level above the tracks so they could look down (for trouble?) but I didn't feel unsafe. Coney Island is not the cool place it used to be but is well worth visiting. We did stop at the original Nathans and, once more, I had a hot dog. My wife didn't like them as they have a skin you have to bite through. I love 'em.

 

I still remember the Red Bats. They were in a cage. You climbed some stairs to look in and you saw them - two small baseball bats painted red. When I saw them in the '60s, the paint was peeling. There was no charge to see them. Just one of the quirky Coney Island things. I couldn't find them when I visited with my wife.

 

Yeah, the station isn't particularly clean, but in my experience it's nothing particularly unpleasant. It's definitely a quirky area, and some parts aren't particularly nice, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

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Is this a vintage photograph? I notice there's a lot of trash around. Is NYC cleaner than this now?

 

 

 

I'm also bummed to see that the vintage subways will be running THIS weekend - a week before I'm going to be there! :(

Just heard about that - courtesy of another student who's taking it to Brighton Beach this weekend. I can't make it, which is a shame since they'll be running the rare R40 slants, my favorite car:

img_5193.jpg

 

Fortunately, nostalgia rides aren't that rare, so if you're ever in the city again, you might be able to catch one.

 

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Is this a vintage photograph? I notice there's a lot of trash around. Is NYC cleaner than this now?

 

 

 

I'm also bummed to see that the vintage subways will be running THIS weekend - a week before I'm going to be there! :(

Just heard about that - courtesy of another student who's taking it to Brighton Beach this weekend. I can't make it, which is a shame since they'll be running the rare R40 slants, my favorite car:

img_5193.jpg

 

Fortunately, nostalgia rides aren't that rare, so if you're ever in the city again, you might be able to catch one.

 

 

That is from almost 50 years ago. The subway is definitely a lot cleaner now.

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Well, only got a couple really short rides in. Longest ride was about 20 minutes on the 4 into Brooklyn. Son didn't really care for the crowds. Threatened to take him to Tokyo! lol

 

Had a good time. Only saw one station performer, no rats, plenty of trash, definitely saw rails through the grates while walking on the sidewalks at street level.

 

No Churros for sale. Was very sad to not see that.

 

We had a blast. Ran out of time WAY too soon! Wonderful Silver Meteor trip home, and enjoyed what could be the last time I enjoy a good crab cake on steak dinner.

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