The New York City subway is the envy of nearly every other modern metropolis. No other U.S. public transportation system is nearly as comprehensive or convenient, and the individual rail lines act as multi-colored veins that propel New York’s millions of commuters forward and back from work, home and play each day. When deciding on a New York City neighborhood in which to live, newly arrived transplants and lifelong residents alike know that subway access is a critical consideration. What good is a great apartment if you can’t get to it easily? For years, NYC movers have followed New Yorkers pushing ever outwards, developing neighborhoods along the train lines and eventually beyond — which is how Williamsburg went from industrial wasteland to hip Manhattan addendum seemingly overnight. Safety, affordability and nightlife are all important to note when choosing a new neighborhood, but time has proven that ease of transportation is the lifeblood of developing communities. Some of New York’s most livable neighborhoods — and best new areas to go out, hang out and brunch — are situated along some of the city’s better subway lines. When deciding which lines are best for you (putting aside which train lets you off near your office, since let’s face it, every line pretty much connects with another at some point), consider these your best options:
The 2: Few trains cover the sheer distance of the 2 train (only the A is a longer uninterrupted ride), which can take you from 241st Street in the Bronx to Brooklyn College in Flatbush. In between, the 2 (mostly alongside its brother, the 3) snakes through Central Park, Times Square, the TriBeCa, Chelsea, Prospect Park and the emerging neighborhoods of Crown Heights and Flatbush. This line was one of the first to receive updated, well-lit and understandable train cars, which has made it a bastion of safety and helpfulness for over a decade.
The L: This train may have singlehandedly brought the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Bushwick into cultural relevance, even beyond the five boroughs. The L runs across Manhattan’s 14th Street, connecting it with almost every major north-south line before heading into Brooklyn. Each stop has slowly become a mini-epicenter of hipsterdom, spawning some of the city’s best new restaurants, bars and coffee shops along the way. It’s also one of New York’s most frequent and reliable trains, meaning that it’s just as clutch in getting people to work as it is bringing them out to BK for an Instagram-worthy brunch on weekends.
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