Back in the Borough: The As, Bs, Cs and So On of New York City Transportation

Earlier this year when Chris and I were coming home from STOMP, I randomly stopped to snap a shot of the Astor Place subway sign.

When I downloaded the photo onto my computer back in January, it got me thinking about how my current work stop was Bleecker. And how I used to get off at Grand Central. And how you can transfer at Grand Central to the Shuttle or the 7 to Times Square …. all of which led me to concoct this post — The A’s, B’s, C’s and So On of New York City Transportation.

I sat at my desk, and it only took me about 20 minutes to come up with a subway stop, train line or mode of NYC transportation representing every letter of the alphabet.

Of course it took me months to actually find the time to make it to each of these stops to photograph them, and unfortunately I ran out of time in this, the last full week of us actually living in Manhattan, so I have to admit that some of these are a bit of a cheat. Most of them, however, are not, so without further adieu, here, my friends, is the outcome of my brilliant plan … an alphabetic representation of Manhattan transportation [for what it’s worth ;)]

Astor_Place^^ Astor Place: Shot on 1/11/14
Connect to the 6 train

Bleecker_Stop^^ Bleecker Street: Shot on 1/20/14;  Also home to the Broadway-Lafayette St. stop
Connect to the 6,4 Uptown, B, D, F, and M trains

Christopher_Street^^Christopher Street (w/real-life Christopher!): Shot on 5/31/14
Connect to the PATH, 1 and 2 trains

Dyckman_Stop^^ Dyckman Street: Shot on 9/7/14
Connect to the 1 train

E_Train^^ E Line: Shot on 9/27/14
The E line is the 8th Avenue Local — traveling from Jamaica Center to the World Trade Center/Church Street

Fulton_Stop^^ Fulton Street: Shot on 5/31/14
Connect to the A, C, J, Z, 2, 3, 4 and 5 trains

Grand_Central^^Grand Central: Shot on 6/1/14
Connect to the 4, 5, 6, 7, Shuttle and Metro North

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 2.05.41 PM^^Hunter College (68th St.): Shot on 10/23/14
Connected to the 6

Inwood_Stop^^Inwood (207th St.): Shot on 10/19/14 at the Spring Street subway station
Connect to the A

Jamaica_Center^^ Jamaica (169th St.): Shot on 10/19/14 at the Spring Street subway station
Connect to the F

Kew_Gardens^^ Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike: Shot on 10/19/14 at the Spring Street subway station
Connect to the E and F

L_Line^^L Line: Shot on 7/5/14
The L is the 14th Street – Canarsie Local, traveling from Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway to 8 Ave/14 St.

Metro_North^^Metro North (in Grand Central): Shot on 6/1/14
Connect to trains to bring you upstate

N_Line^^ N line: Shot on 6/1/14
The N is the Broadway Local, traveling from Astoria-Ditmars in Queens to Coney Island in Brooklyn

One_Train^^ One train: Shot on 10/23/14
The One (1) is the Broadway-7 Avenue Local, traveling from Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx to South Ferry Station

Port_Authority^^ Port Authority (on 8th and 42nd): Shot on 9/27/14
Connect to buses in New York and New Jersey

Q_Line^^ Q line: Shot on 6/1/14
The Q is the Broadway Express following the same line as the N, but with fewer stops

R_Line^^R line: Shot on 6/1/14
The R is the Queens Boulevard/Broadway/ 4th Ave. Local running from Forest Hills in Queens
to Bay Ridge in Brooklyn

Shuttle_Line^^ Shuttle line: Shot on 6/1/14
The Shuttle runs direct from Grand Central to Times Square. Back and forth. That’s all it does.

Times_Square^^ Times Square stop: Shot on 6/1/14
Connect to the 1, 2, 3, 7, S, A, C, E, N, Q and R

Union_Square^^ Union Square Stop: Shot on 7/5/14
Connect to the L, N, Q, R, 4, 5 and 6

VanCortlandt_Park^^ Van Cortlandt Park (242 St.): Shot on 10/23/14
Connect to the 1 train

Wall_St^^ Wall Street: Shot on 5/31/14
Connect to the 5 train

X_BusStop^^ BxM2 Bus Stop: Shot on 6/1/14
Maybe it’s cheating to use the ‘X’ in the bus stop, but I defy you to find another transit ‘X’ to use!

Yankee_Stadium^^Yankees Stadium: Shot on 9/21/14
Connect to the 4, B and D trains and Metro North

Zerega_Ave^^ Zerega Avenue: Shot on 10/14/14
Connect to the 6 train

Back in the Borough: Bee-Bop in NYC

NYCBackground_Bee_Bop

I’m back today with a guide to fun (and somewhat funky, I’ll admit) places to listen to music in NYC. Of course there are plenty of concert halls and traditional places to catch your favorite band, but again, I’ve gone for a bit of the unconventional here. Some of these places offer live music as a backdrop, for others it’s the main event, but either way, listening to music at any of these “venues” will definitely give you something to talk about the next day.

Where to Listen to Music in NYC

  1. The Subways: One of the most amazing things about this place is that music is absolutely everywhere. You don’t always have to pay for it — you don’t even always have to want it! — but it’s there, all the same. The subways here are seriously alive with the sounds of music. From solo singers to Mariachi to 10-piece bands, you might be surprised with the talent you’ll be subjected to just when trying to get from one place to another. If you’re seeking out the music, try some of the big stops like Grand Central, Union Square and Times Square. Those are always happening.
  2. Terminal 5: This place is also somewhat sentimental for me and Chris [as was The Highline on my ‘Things to Do in NYC’ list] since it’s where we met and got engaged, and it’s also the only traditional music venue I’m putting on my list. Besides the amazing artists that perform here [we’ve seen Gogol Bordello, La Reux, The Gaslight Anthem and many others], they also have a fabulous rooftop where they sometimes throw parties or sponsor events. I particularly love the open floor plan of this place, and the two levels make it really easy to get a good spot to watch all the action.
  3. Fat Cat: Oh how we love Fat Cat. Come to this awesome little bar in the West Village to play some pool, scrabble or ping pong, drink some PBR (it’s so cheap!), and listen to some really amazing jazz music.  Plush couches and chairs make this venue so comfy, too.
  4. Philharmonic in the Park: Of course you could listen to the Philharmonic play on a stage … but where’s the fun in that? This event is seasonal, of course, as it takes place only a couple times of year, outside, under the stars in Central Park (and a few other parks in other boroughs). If you’re visiting during the summer, I highly recommend looking up the schedule for performances (found here), and grabbing a picnic to camp out on the lawn and listen. It’s an experience like no other. [Read more about our own experience with Philharmonic in the Park last year right here.]
  5. Cafe Wha: In Greenwich Village there sits a small and dark little venue called Cafe Wha … that is absolutely amazing. I have to admit that we haven’t been back here for years — maybe since Chris’s sister was here a couple years ago because she absolutely loves it. If you’d like to check this place out, you might consider calling ahead of time and making reservations, because it gets pretty packed. [Also of note: this place and Terminal 5 are the only places on my list so far that charge.] Another thing to keep in mind — this isn’t a place you come to chat. It can get pretty noisy once the band starts playing, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for something to provide a more low-key atmosphere.
  6. STOMP at the Orpheum Theater: Okay — if my other options here are somewhat unorthodox, this one takes the cake. Technically, STOMP is so much more than music — it’s performance art. The theater is located in the East Village [you may recall, Chris and I took in a performance as part of our one-year anniversary celebration], and the performers act out the entire “story” using props like trash cans, brooms, mops, etc. It’s honestly pretty amazing, and totally worth seeing. The things they can make shopping carts do — I can’t even use a shopping cart properly when I’m not trying to make music with it!
  7. Dying to try: Jazz StandardIt’s not that I’m totally in love with jazz or anything, but this city has such a rich history of it [and Carrie and Big make it look so fun on that Sex in the City episode!], I’d really love to try out a jazz place — and this one looks amazing. They’ve got two earlier sets — one at 7:30 and one at 9:30 — and then a later one for the real jazz fans that starts around 11:30 on Fridays and Saturdays. Check out the site ahead of time to buy tickets.

And that about sums it up, my friends — my list of amazing places to take in some music here in the city. Hope it helps! Up next week: some of my favorite places to caffeine up!

Bis bald, all!

Back in the Borough: A Holiday Hoedown at the Brooklyn Brewery

Hi friends,

I was lucky enough to get invited by a friend to the Riverhead/Penguin book publishing holiday party at the Brooklyn Brewery last night. While it’s kind of a trek to get there from where we live on the Upper East Side (two subway trains and about 15 minutes of walking), it’s totally worth it when you get there.

Bloomingdales^^ Bloomingdales, putting on a show for me on my walk to the subway.

Chrysler Building^^ A faraway Chrysler Building, nestled between two shining snowflakes and an Aldo.

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photo 5^^ The Gorilla Cheese NYC food truck was there! I was
obsessed with them when Chris and I used to watch The Great Food Truck Race!

photo 6^^ This was the first time I’d seen a 3-D printer in real life. OMG. How. Friggin’. Cool!
They were giving away those tiny penguins next to the printer, which were being made
in that 3-D printer. From thin air. Technology. I swear.

photo 7^^You can’t really tell from this photo, but this is a teeny, tiny cup of beer.
That’s what happens when you order the beer with the highest level of
alcoholic content from the menu. Hehehe. Happy holidays!

The Brewery is located in a section of Brooklyn known as Williamsburg, although the area immediately surrounding the brewery itself is pretty industry and, well, just not that pretty. Other parts of Williamsburg are super cute, though, and worth a trip out there if you’ve got some time to spare.

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photo 13^^ That guy with the red feather in his cap was entertaining subway riders by playing
Christmas carols with his guitar. Oh how I love this time of year.

And these are just a couple shots I took on my walk back home through our neighborhood. Because, you know, you can never have too many holiday shots.

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photo 15^^ Passing by the Corner Bakery late at night on my way home and smelling all
the deliciousness they’re cooking up inside for the next day is one of my favorite pastimes.

photo 16^^ Even my gym has contributed to the holiday madness.

Tonight Chris and I are off to The Monkey Bar for dinner and drinks, which I’ve been dying to try out for a while now. I’ll let ya’ll know how it goes!

Bis bald, friends!

Back in the Borough: A Glorious Walk to the Dentist

December is absolutely the best time to be in New York City. (Well, to be fair, there’s no bad time to be here. Except maybe in the sweltering summer. Yes. I take that back. It absolutely stinks to be here in the summer.)

I digress. Sometimes, my friends, when you live in a city like New York, you get so distracted by all the fabulous holiday decorations walking to the dentist that it takes you an extra 1/2 hour to get there.

OOPS.

Ah well, what can you do. Here’s a bit of what I saw on my way to the dentist this morning.

1Plaza

2Pigeons^^ Lazy pigeons taking a nap on a pole. 

3Waldorf

4BuggyInTraffic^^A note about the horse and buggies around Central Park: I don’t agree with them.
That’s a whole other story. They sure are pretty to look at, though.

5HarrysTree^^A hint about NYC holiday decor: Don’t forget to look up!

6Nutcracker

7CPWest

8Willoughs

9LookUp^^See? Up! Pretttyyyy!

10Dentist^^A festive wreath in my dentist’s office.

11Statue

12Horse

13CPView

14Subway

15SellingBooks

16FestiveOtter^^My, my. That otter sure is fancy!

17Burst^^This little starburst decoration is hard to see in the photo,
but they’re so pretty, lighting up the streets at night.

18GreatBritain^^And oh my goodness it wouldn’t be the holidays without the
Bloomingdale’s window displays! [Ed note: Please ignore
the horribleness of these photos, as they were taken with my
iPhone and I was trying to be somewhat inconspicuous.]

19Italy^^I think Italy was my favorite ;)

20France

21China

22Couple^^How cute is this couple looking at the displays? You know
how I like to take photos of random, unsuspecting people …

23NY^^The NYC display wasn’t half bad, either

24SubwayTrees^^Who could be grumpy — even if you are heading off to the dentist –
with an entire holiday tree display set up right outside
your subway station? Not me, that’s for sure!

25Trees

26Wreaths

Bis bald, friends! And may your trips to the dentist bring you as much joy as mine did today!

Back in the Borough: Babies in New York City

Hi friends,

This weekend Chris and I had a baby in New York City.

Not our own baby, mind you, but my nephew, and even though his father was with us the entire time I have to say … the experience left us both exhausted!

We had so much fun toting Rory around on his trip into the Big Apple, but it definitely gave me a new-found respect for moms who do this with their own children every day … especially those who travel around with them on their own. We couldn’t take a cab with Rory anywhere, since we didn’t have a car seat, which meant subways all the way! The one thing I will say that surprised me was how sweet everyone was to us–even when we were at Penn State in the middle of about a hundred people all trying to push to get onto the train. People were very respectful and helpful … it kind of renewed my faith in the people of this city.

Anyway, here’s a bit of what we did and saw:

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^^We started out with a picnic in Central Park, where we camped out behind a morning softball game, had tummy time and practiced our walking …

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^^Oh, and we got thrown in the air a lot, too. We kind of loved that.

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After a brief meltdown, we headed over to Turtle Pond ….

TurtlePond

^^We were none too impressed with the turtles. Guess we'll have to try this again when I'm a bit older ...

^^We were none too impressed with the turtles. Guess we’ll have to try this again when I’m a bit older …

By the end of the picnic and the pond, the adults were ready for a brewsky, so we headed over to the Amsterdam Ale House. (As a side note, this is a great little bar with tons of tasty beer options, should you happen to be in the Upper West Side area …)

Rory.AmsterdamAleHouse Rory.AmsterdamAleHouse4 Rory.AmsterdamAleHouse2 Rory.AmsterdamAleHouse3

Rory and my brother-in-law were meant to leave after the Ale House, but we were having so much fun we decided to make one more stop and they would catch a later train. On our way to the second stop, Rory had Meltdown No. 2, though (someone was hunnnnggrrrryyyyy!!!), and it was raining, so we hopped into the closest restaurant, which happened to be Citrus. Of the many things I learned about having a baby in Manhattan this weekend, Number 1 was Baby always dictates where you will be going. Think you have plans? Think again, buddy! Anyway, the Cucumber Saketini drink at Citrus was delish, as was their shrimp quesadilla that we split, so it was all good:

Rory.Citrus

Then it was time to head back to Penn Station, which meant one more subway ride ….

^^We mostly slept on the subway anyway ...

^^We mostly slept on the subway anyway …

And then we were back to Penn Station where the adventure all began:

Rory.PennStation

Rory.PennStation3 Rory.PennStation2And that was it, my friends! I think Rory had a fantastic maiden voyage into the city, if I do say so myself. I really can’t wait for him to get just a bit older so we can take him to the museums and to the playgrounds and to a play …

I may be getting just a bit ahead of myself, though!

I’m off next Wednesday to D.C. for a baby shower–hope your summer’s going well!

Bis bald!

Back in the Borough: The New York City Subway

Hi friends,

I snapped this shot today when I was taking the subway home from work. This is the entrance/exit to the Bleecker St. stop from the downtown 6, which is normally extremely packed.

Haunting.

Haunting.

Creepy, right? I just thought I’d share. I don’t think in my six years of living in this city I’ve ever seen the subway so empty. AND it was raining out, which normally makes the subway even more crowded.

Creepy.

Bis bald, friends!

Life Lately

So friends, December is rapidly passing us by, isn’t it? Seriously, where does the time go?

Anyway, with the holidays and, you know, our WEDDING!, coming up, things around the Connor/Lock household have been pretty insanely busy. I do love the city around the holidays, though, and Chris and I picked up our Christmas tree the other day and I’ve decorated the apartment. Despite the busyness, we’ve been trying really hard to stop and smell the Christmas tree (does that analogy work?) from time to time.

Here’s a little of what we’ve been up to lately in the city that never sleeps …

We love our little 94th St. Christmas tree!

We love our little 94th St. Christmas tree!

I had these lovely ladies over for some holiday drinks. In lieu of an actual fireplace, I played the YouTube yule log over and over again on TV.

I had these lovely ladies over for some holiday drinks. In lieu of an actual fireplace, I played the YouTube yule log over and over again on TV.

For my sister's baby gender reveal party, I was the person who got the cupcake with the blue frosting. It's a boy!! I'm having a nephew!

For my sister’s baby gender reveal party, I was the person who got the cupcake with the blue frosting. It’s a boy!! I’m having a nephew!

On December 7, Chris and I took a little trip to City Hall to get our marriage license. Our MARRIAGE LICENSE! Ca-razy!

On December 7, Chris and I took a little trip to City Hall to get our marriage license. Our MARRIAGE LICENSE! Ca-razy!

And this was our ticket. I will proceed to frame it and hang it in our teeny abode.

And this was our ticket. I will proceed to frame it and hang it in our teeny abode.

My sister and her boyfriend came to visit last weekend and we took in the scenery at Bryant Park. I love it there during the holidays.

My sister and her boyfriend came to visit last weekend and we took in the scenery at Bryant Park. I love it there during the holidays.

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Friends at a beautiful Brooklyn wedding I attended this past Sunday.

Friends at a beautiful Brooklyn wedding I attended this past Sunday.

Little details like the white tea lights and wine corks really brought the night to life.

Little details like the white tea lights and wine corks really brought the night to life.

You guys KNOW how I love my lights! Isn't this chandelier from the wedding venue gorgeous?

You guys KNOW how I love my lights! Isn’t this chandelier from the wedding venue gorgeous?

Cute little A & B cookies for Allison and Boris.

Cute little A & B cookies for Allison and Boris.

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A beautiful bride!

A beautiful bride!

What? I'm not doing anything wrong?

What? I’m not doing anything wrong?

It's hard to wrap gifts when this cutie keeps distracting me. And sitting on my supplies.

It’s hard to wrap gifts when this cutie keeps distracting me. And sitting on my supplies.

On another note, our little Nugget had surgery recently. We're happy to report that his cast is off, and today was the first day he climbed in and out of his cage all by himself. Go Nugget!

On another note, our little Nugget had surgery recently. We’re happy to report that his cast is off, and today was the first day he climbed in and out of his cage all by himself. Go Nugget!

So that’s been December in a nutshell, basically. This Friday Chris and I will head upstate to celebrate the holidays with my mom and step-dad, then we’ll head to New Jersey to be with my dad, step-mom, sisters and brother-in-law. After that we head back into the city to get ready for our New Years Eve nuptials. That means I may not make it back here to post again before I become Mrs. Christopher Vincent Connor.

Woah.

Happy holidays friends! I hope everyone has a great time filled with family, friends and delicious foods! See ya’ll in the New Year!

Bis bald!

Back in the Borough: The Scream at MoMA

Hi friends,

Welcome to December! So Christmas trees are back at the subway stations, and Chris and I took a jaunt to MoMA today to check out Edvard Munch’s famous painting, ‘The Scream.’

Let’s take a gander:

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The tree stand outside of our 96th St. station, where we’ll probably pick up our own little piece of green heaven.

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The Scream, Edvard Munch’s famous painting. It really is fantastic in person …

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Van Gogh’s Starry Night

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Claude Monet’s Water Lillies

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A piece by Picasso

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We stopped in the cafe for lunch while we were there. I had a delicious salad, Chris had the cheese tort and we shared the marinated olive platter. These were our delicious drinks.

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Bis bald, friends! Hope your December is off to a great start, as well!

Munich Subway Madness

In anticipation of my first ever solo trip to another country [yes, I know. Technically I can’t really consider it solo if I will only be alone for a little over 24 hours, but still…], I’ve spent the past two hours studying my Fodor’s ‘Munich’s 25 Best’ book, its maps, the subway…everything. And seriously—I’m getting pretty excited about it all. I’ve mapped out the route from the airport to the hotel, and then from the hotel to where I will start my walking tour for the day. And in honor of my new-found independence, let’s all marvel at the subway map that I figured out all on my lonesome:

It's not so scary when you stare at it for two hours

Bis bald, my friends!

We’re Almost There!

Let this be a lesson to you ladies and gentlemen, have your ducks in a row before you sit down to plan your trip, or else it will DRIVE YOU CRAZY!

On this Valentines day, as my boyfriend traipses around Japan with his best friend, I’m sitting at my mom’s house planning out my trip to London and Italy with my sister for her graduation. Let me tell you- this is not easy. First, there’s the timing aspect. It has to be after graduation (and possibly after a graduation party to pay for it), but before she starts grad school in the fall. All of these factors combined leaves us with only a short time period to plan the trip, which also, unfortunately, happens to coincide with the most expensive time to travel to Europe- the summer.

After a lot of back-and-forth (will we stay with a friend in London for a few days? Will it be too expensive to book two separate tickets from two separate places? Will a hostel really be that much cheaper than a hotel (that answer might surprise you)). After all of this back-and-forth, I think we have a plan we can get on board with (and, hopefully, afford). It goes a little something like this:

Fly into London, stay with friend for a few nights
Book a cheap(ish) sleeper train that will take us from London to Rome (with a short stop-over in Paris, which I see as a plus, my sister is on the fence about it)
Stay at a cheap(ish) hote that got decent reviews and apparently is in a decent area of Rome to get to sites and such (NOT a hostel, surprisingly. This hotel is actually cheaper than the decent/safe hostels we were looking at, and we get our own room. I guess we’ll have to let you know how it works out when we come back).
Book a couple of day trips around Italy
Fly out of Rome back to NYC

Overall, I think it will work. This is my sister’s first trip like this, certainly her first out of the country, and it’s our first alone together. So, I think it’s safe to say we’re still in the midst of figuring out our ‘travel relationship,’ but we’re coming along quite nicely. And soon, my friends (after we actually book this trip!), we’ll be here:

And here:

So, my friends, until we actually book the flight…bis bald…see you soon!

P.S. Does this intimidate anyone else?!

I mean, I thought the New York City subway map was scary, but this is what Chris had to deal with for his trip from the first airport to his hostel in Tokyo before he boards his second flight to where his friends live. Can’t wait for that update!