5 Incredible Facts You Might Not Know About the NYC Subway (Unless You're From Here)

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Unless you're a native New Yorker, there's probably a lot you don't know about the New York City subway system. (And even if you are from here, you probably don't know everything that there is to know about it.)

Most New Yorkers use it every day, but the subway we know and love today is so radically different from the subway system of the past (although remnants of it still linger in our city.)

Get to know this city, so prepare to have some old school subway knowledge dropped on you. These are 5 incredible facts you might not know about the NYC subway.

1. The subway used to be made up of three private railway companies

[via wikipedia]

They were called the IRD, BMT, and the IRT, which stands for Independent Rapid Transit Railroad, the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit, and the Interborough Rapid Transit.

These three companies operated their respective lines separately until 1953, although the division between lines is still visible today, as the numbered lines are the old IRT and the lettered lines are the old IND and BMT lines.

2. There used to be a V train

[via levysuniqueny.com]
[via levysuniqueny.com]

Actually, if you're a fan of the show Louie, you might have known this one, since the subway station Louis C.K. steps out of in the opening sequence of the show is the West 4th Street BDFV station.

The V train ran on the Sixth Avenue Line between Forest Hills, Queens and Second Avenue on the LES of Manhattan, but in 2009, it was merged with the M train-- which ultimately replaced the V on the Sixth Avenue line.

3. Elevated train service used to be bigger than it is today


Fun fact: only 60% of the NYC subway is made up of underground trains, meaning that a good percentage of it uses above ground or elevated trains. Back then, the elevated trains were called the El that rang along the Third and Sith Avenue Lines.

The IRT had an El along the Third Avenue Line that ran from the Bronx to Manhattan and a Sixth Avenue El that ran from Battery Park to Central Park South, both of which opened in 1878. There was also a Ninth Avenue El which both IRT lines were connected to on the north end.

Isn't it weird to imagine an above ground train running through famous neighborhoods in Manhattan, like the Bowery and Greenwich Village?

These elevated trains were largely abandoned and demolished throughout the twentieth century, with the last of the Third Avenue El closing up or being incorporated into different numbered lines in 1973.

[via nycsubway.org]