The Definitive Ranking Of New York City Subway Trains

Look before you swipe. (Ranked from worst to best.)

21. The C train

Fan Railer / Public Domain / en.wikipedia.org

LITERALLY THE WORST TRAIN. As in, voted the worst NYC train for FOUR straight years. It’s loud, slow, it smells and it is ugly. It is a prehistoric beast with no divided seats and handlebars only a dog could hold. Gross.

Equivalent New York experience: Stepping in poop on the sidewalk that is neither discernibly human nor canine.

20. The L train

Getty / Marlo Tama

The L train was pretty chill until about a couple years ago, when it became insufferably crowded with hipsters in the mornings and started shutting down every weekend. When it was running, it killed some nice folks. Service-wise, the L train is officially the new G train.

Equivalent New York experience: Not realizing you made a brunch reservation in the middle of SantaCon.

19. The 6 train

Flickr: clintw / Creative Commons

You thought you were going to get to Grand Central during rush hour? Adorable!

Equivalent New York experience: Being at Terminal 5 ever for anything.

18. The R train

Shutterstock

When it’s actually working: stops every three blocks, especially in the financial district.
When it’s not working: well, that’s most of the time.

Equivalent New York experience: Trying to get a cab in the rain at 6:30 p.m.

17. The Z train

There is no proof that this train actually exists. This photo is a complete Photoshop. No one has reported seeing the Z train in the wild. It is a hoax.

Equivalent New York experience: An alligator in the sewer.

16. The F train

Getty / Allison Joyce

The F goes to every useless local stop but WHY DOESN’T IT GO TO UNION SQUARE OR ATLANTIC/BARCLAYS. Also the Kentile Floors sign is getting really tired of your shit.

Equivalent New York experience: Driving your Prius to the Gowanus Whole Foods to buy vinyl records.

15. The 1 train

Getty / Andrew Burton

It gets you from door to door, basically — it just takes foreveeeeer.

Equivalent New York experience: Rowing a boat across the pond at Central Park.

14. The B train

Flickr: afagen / Creative Commons

That one cool work friend who’ll chill with you at happy hour during the week, but doesn’t think you’re hip enough to go out with on the weekends.

Equivalent New York experience: Sitting in the front row at the movies because you didn’t realize it would be so crowded.

13. The A train

Ad Meskens / Creative Commons / en.wikipedia.org

Gets you to the airport and the beach, but not without having to get off and get back on because you accidentally got on the Lefferts-bound and not the Rockaways-bound.

Equivalent New York experience: Going to Shake Shack.

12. The M train

Youngking11 / Creative Commons / commons.wikimedia.org

The F’s less-crowded little sister.

Equivalent New York experience: The mariachi band moving to the next car before you get on.

11. The 4 train

The_Legendary_Ranger / Creative Commons / en.wikipedia.org

Fast and furious, can’t complain.

Equivalent New York experience: Going to your favorite corner bar.

10. The D train

Getty / Allison Joyce

D stands for “delightful,” maybe. ESPECIALLY that long uninterrupted stretch between Grand St. and Atlantic. Possibly the best Brooklyn/Manhattan crossing you could ask for.

Equivalent New York experience: Elevator in your building.

9. The E train

Flickr: urbangrunge / Creative Commons

E train cars are usually shiny and new and get you crosstown or cross-Queens with graceful ease.

Equivalent New York experience: Finding a $1 bill on the sidewalk.

8. The 2 train

Bebo2good1 / Creative Commons / en.wikipedia.org

You’re hot and you’re cold / You’re yes and you’re no / In Manhattan you’re fast / But in the Bronx you’re so slow

Equivalent New York experience: Having a super amazing OkCupid date but then they never text you again.

7. The J train

Youngking11 / Creative Commons / commons.wikimedia.org

Pro: You get a nice view from the Williamsburg Bridge.
Con: You are going through Williamsburg.

Equivalent New York experience: Laundry in your building that takes only quarters.

6. The G train

Flickr: j0n9292 / Creative Commons

No, hear us out: What the G train lacks in speed or flair, it makes up for in rustic charm. The G is the only way to get from north to south Brooklyn, and even when it’s fucked up, it’ll take care of you. Also, you can’t pull any bullshit on the G train: One time someone was holding the doors on a train I was on, and the conductor hit the brakes, yelled “oh HELL no,” got out and got rid of the guy, then got back into the conductor booth thing like nothing had happened. Bad. ASS.

Equivalent New York experience: The guy with the cat on his head.

5. The 5 train

Flickr: otto-yamamoto / Creative Commons

Fast, reliable, efficient. A total cutie.

Equivalent New York experience: Pat Kiernan.

4. The 3 train

TEK (Ocean Shores) / Creative Commons / commons.wikimedia.org

From Times Square to Harlem in 30 seconds? Yes please.

Equivalent New York experience: Ordering Seamless on the way home so it’s waiting for you when you arrive.

3. The N train

Flickr: heathbrandon / Creative Commons

I love your convenient local stops. I love how you’re always there when I need you. I love your scenic cityscapes from the Manhattan Bridge. N train, I think I love you.

Equivalent New York experience: Finding a $20 bill on the sidewalk.

2. The 7 train

James Maher / http://www.jamesmaherphotography.com

The 7 has great views and will take you to Flushing and Citifield, and getting quickly from Times Square to Grand Central is underrated. And it has a cool green sign that tells you via SHAPES if it’s local or express.

Equivalent New York experience: Making friends with the nice old lady who sells tamales on your corner.

1. The Q train

Shutterstock

What’s to like about the Q train? Oh, ONLY it’s super fast, it’s always clean, it makes the best stops, and it has a cool letter. And it was ranked the best train in NYC last year, so it’s official.

Equivalent New York experience: Rent control in the West Village.

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