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Tourist confusion over "S" train and 59 Street

Posted by gbs on Sun Mar 7 02:57:49 2010

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Yesterday's post about too many S trains was very timely. Just last week, I was on a Manhattan-bound N train. At 59 Street, a young woman who had been on the train held the train door and stopped it from closing as she tried to read the sign across the platform. Finally, I asked her to please let the door close so the train could move. She then asked if she could get the S train there. I told her no, and she let the door close. Since we were deep in Brooklyn, I assumed she had meant the Franklin Shuttle S.

At 36 Street, she again looked, but didn't hold the doors and didn't ask any questions or look at the map. As I got off at Pacific Street, I asked her where she wanted to go, and she said E.116 Street. I realized that she must have been told by someone to take the S to Grand Central for the 6, so I told her to stay on the N to Times Square and then transfer to the S. (I didn't want to confuse her and have her change for the 6 at Canal Street.)

I wondered if she had intended to be in Brooklyn at all. I was once on a Brooklyn-bound N train, when at Times Square a fellow on the platform asked us if the train went to 59 Street. Some well-meaning passengers said Yes, because they knew it went to 59 Street in Brooklyn, so he boarded the train. When it went over the bridge, he thought something was wrong. It turned out that he was looking for 59 Street - Columbus Circle. Someone must have told him to take the train from Times Square to 59 Street, and he did, without considering that there are two 59 Streets in different boroughs.

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