Friday, November 13, 2009

Do I take the A, the 4 or the 6?

If I’d been more adventurous yesterday, I might have changed my plans and stayed on the Queens-bound train until it reached Woodside, my frequent destination decades ago. Instead, I got off at Grand Central and transferred to an uptown train - which I continue to call the Lexington Avenue line - to reach the Museum of the City of New York at Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street.

I was surprised a while ago when Mike, my son-in-law, showed me how I could get from Times Square to the east side, Fifth Avenue and East 60th Street to be exact, by taking the “N” train. What? Never heard of it, but then I can’t tell an “M” from a “C.” All these years I thought the only way to reach the east side was to take the shuttle to Grand Central and change to the Lexington Avenue line.

Ever since the subway system changed over to letters and numbers - the A, B. C, D, E, F, 1, 2, 3, etc. - I check the subway map to make sure I get where I want to go. The decision used to be so simple. It was the IRT, BMT and Independent lines and everyone knew the route of their own system.

When returning from Manhattan, I took the IRT’s 7th Avenue line and only had to choose between trains destined for Flatbush Avenue or New Lots Avenue. And, if I mistakenly took the train bound for New Lots, I’d merely have to change at Nevins Street for the one that would take me to Flatbush Avenue, the last stop.

That was way back when I was a frequent subway rider. My friend Carolyn and I would hop on the subway and go into Manhattan when we were teenagers. Other times I’d take the subway to Times Square, head for Port Authority and take the bus to Hoboken to visit the Hildemann branch of my family. But the sweetest ride was always to Woodside to visit my Aunt May on 47th Street. I’ve often thought I’d like to retrace the ride I took many years ago. I didn’t do it yesterday but I will, one of these days.