Marco Carag

Expert er of things.

Self Hack: Take any train at 23rd Street and 8th Avenue

Platform for the C or E trains at 23rd Street and 8th Avenue, Manhattan

One of my New Year’s Resolutions (really, the only one with a specific action) is to write a blog post at least once a week. The idea is that I’ll get better at writing with frequency. As you can tell, I’m already behind, but here’s to catching up!

Part of fulfilling my quantity-for-better-quality strategy means smaller, sillier posts (as if my prior posts bore any heft) like this one, in which I simply write a tip to myself whenever I find myself on the local-only downtown platform of the 23rd Street and 8th Avenue subway stop.

The tip?

When going to Brooklyn, take any train that arrives.

Why give myself this sort of advice? Because I’m a little obsessed about minimizing trips on NYC public transit (I “pre-walk” — move to the part of a platform or train where the door is closest to the exit at the destination — nearly 100% of the time, for instance), and recently I made the mistake of not getting on board a downtown-bound E train (which terminates in downtown Manhattan, and doesn’t reach my ultimate transfer to the G in Brooklyn) that arrived at 23rd street in anticipation of riding a C train all the way to Brooklyn.

The fact is, either train would have taken me to the next stop, 14th street, where I could have transferred either to an A from a C, if one happened to be arriving then, or from an E to either an A or a C — whichever came first. At worst, I would have ended up waiting for the very same C train, and at best (which ended up being the reality that I passed up on), I would have caught an arriving A and been well on my way to Brooklyn well before a C finally arrived.

I was thinking I would have been more comfortable taking the C all the way (the quite viable “reduce transfers” strategy), but even in the worst case, I’d at least be waiting at 14th street for the C, which, with its numerous benches and lovely Tom Otterness sculptures, is far more comfortable a waiting place than 23rd, where passing A express trains just serve to aggravate standing passengers-to-be.

So, note to self: always board any local train that arrives at the 23rd street downtown/Brooklyn bound platform. And also try not to obsess about transit so much.

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