End of the line: exploring New York’s uncharted tourist territory

Even though we have left New York, I must admit there is a pretty sweet thing I started to do toward the end when I got tired of visiting the regular sites. So, if you ever have the privilege to come back and take the city in one more time, I recommend giving this little adventure a try.

I was beginning to become quite fond of riding the subway and experiencing all of the places it could take a person for just $2.50. One day I hopped on the Orange D line train and rode it all the way to the end. After a small group got off at the second to last stop, it became the first time I had ever been on a completely vacant train.

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The first shot is from the Coney Island bound train and the last two are from the one headed to Harlem. I was able to lay down on one of the benches which was kind of nifty.

The track culminated at Coney Island which was coincidentally a place I heard much about but hadn’t truly been able to visit in person. First of all, I should note, it was about 7:30 at night when I got there and because it was on the coast, the temperatures were likely in the single digits when coupling in the wind factor. When I made my way to the beach, it turned out to be the first beach I had ever been to where the snow was mixed in with the sand. The actual Coney Island amusement park was much more modern than I would have guessed considering its long history. The neighborhood turned out to be interesting as well. I thought of it as one of the places outside Manhattan where “real New Yorkers actually live.” People were just going about their everyday lives getting dinner and returning home from work.

There was only one other time when I had the chance to ride a subway all the way to the end, and that came in the form of the Red 3 line to Harlem. Much like the other experience, I did it at 8 at night and that had its own set of challenges.

First of all, the wind out there was Gail force and I when I started to look for a place to duck into, I realized that the exciting neighborhoods that had been preached to me were nowhere to be found. Instead, I found myself surrounded by proud residents going about their daily lives as they brought the day to a close. I wasn’t there long as I was not well dressed for the weather, but I couldn’t help but notice how ordinary everything was in the place I walked through.

As tourists, we have been fed this idea of everywhere in New York being a tourist hangout. However, I think sometimes we forget people live their lives everyday in neighborhoods right next to the ones we see on postcards. If anything, it has made me realize why so many locals hate tourists so much.

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  1. #1 by chunter15 on January 19, 2015 - 3:28 am

    First, I appreciate the fact that you unironically used the word nifty.
    Second, although you are a fully-grown person, I find it really brave of you to venture off by yourself to the “end of the line.” It takes guts to solo venture into the unknown parts of the city late at night.
    Third, I think your insight about the perceived New York vs. the real New York (and other similar tourist cities) is spot-on. It totally makes sense that, where we would expect all of the things we have seen on TV and in magazines about a certain city, at the end of the day, it’s really just “home” to a lot of people.

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