I spent 2 hectic days in Brooklyn in June for an apartment hunting trip, and moved to Brooklyn on July 2. Since July 9, I’ve been working at Brooklyn College as a science librarian. Along the way, a handful of resources and tips have been invaluable in helping me quickly figure out NYC public transportation so I could reach my destinations without much hassle. In no particular order, I recommend:
HopStop – the web site and the app. Great for detailed point A to point B directions.
New York Subway System app. Excellent interface and simple to use, but only for Apple devices. It has maps that are viewable off-line, like when you are underground on a subway train. Be sure to use the app first to download the latest content.
NYCMate app. Similar to the previous app but adds Android support and bus maps.
MTA.info. A one-stop shop for all things related to NYC transportation. Features a trip planner, service notices, PDF maps, and MetroCard information. A MetroCard is needed for subway train and bus access, and can be purchased from vending machines within each station.
Not for Tourists Guide to Brooklyn. This print book contains a fold-out bus and subway map, and has overviews for each neighborhood in Brooklyn along with restaurant, coffee shop, and shopping locations. Fits in your back pocket.
A few more web sites that may come in handy. VisitBrooklyn.org provides information for Brooklyn dining, lodging, entertainment, and transportation. The Skint lists free and cheap food and entertainment deals in NYC. City Maps is a fun web site and app (screen grab on right) that features street maps with business names and brand logos. The Brooklyn About.com web site is another helpful Brooklyn resource.
Regarding the New York City Subway. Some stops have an entrance on each side of the street for trains going in a specific direction, which means if you go down the wrong entrance, you will have to go back above ground, cross the street, and back down the stairs to get to the correct platform. So check the signs carefully before entering. The Union St. R stop is configured this way.
The 2 and the 5 subway trains terminate at the Flatbush Ave. / Brooklyn College stop, which is very close to the Brooklyn College Library. All trains leaving this stop head north toward Manhattan and the Bronx. The Avenue H stop for the Q train is several blocks away from the Brooklyn College campus. When visiting stations along the Q line, the signage will read Coney Island / Brighton Beach for southbound trains, and Manhattan / Bronx for northbound trains.
More frequently on evenings and weekends, you may see subway trains running as Express service (as opposed to Local service). Express trains do not make all stops along a route.
While you’ll see plenty of the typical yellow taxis in Manhattan, you’ll rarely see them in Brooklyn. Instead, folks in Brooklyn rely on car services.
Check this weather page for the latest forecasts for our zip code, 11210.
~ Neil Dazet