Is this the Subway?

As soon as I experienced the Boston subway, I knew I had to blog about it. Because if you have ever, even just once with someone who knew what they were doing but you didn’t so you left terrified and confused, taken a ride on the New York subway, you will understand how drastically different what they call a ‘subway’ is in Boston.

Let’s start like this…I could copy and paste this map of the Massachusetts subway into the body of this post, but the New York subway map is so large it loads as a pdf making it difficult to simply copy and paste into a blog post.

The Boston subway consists of five colored lines: red, blue, green, orange, and silver, making distinguishing between red and orange the most difficult task.*

* I may have mixed them up a handful of times, and no, I’m not color blind.

In New York, these are your options regarding subway lines:

1 2 3 4 5 6 (6) 7 (7) A C E B D F M G J Z L S N Q R

It’s enough to make your head spin.

While in Boston, we could easily look at the map and know within seconds what color line we needed, in New York…well, I simply do not know how people survived before Google maps.

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The confusion of the New York subway lines versus the ease of the Massachusetts lines aside, what initially hit me as odd was the emptiness of the first station we visited. To top it off, within seconds of standing in front of a map, a transit worker came up to us offering to help.

Yeah, um, that just doesn’t happen in New York.


This lack of a crowd and people shoving in and out of the station was missing one other New York element: subway performers. The closest we came to this was an elderly woman who sat with no particular agenda, singing whatever song popped into her head.

There was no one rapping, no one singing classic show tunes, not a single line of Sinatra, no open guitar cases or lone violinists.

I kind of missed it.


If you read about our issue with parking in Boston, you can understand why the subway became a necessary part of our two days there. As we approached our hotel valet stand for the shuttle to take us to the Harvard Yard subway entrance, I had my first moment of ridiculous Boston giddiness.

Valet: “Where do you need to go?”

Lance: “Harvard Yard”

Valet: “The next shuttle to Hahvahd Yahd is leaving in five minutes.”

In this moment, I turned to Lance, eyes widened with excitement, and mouthed, “Hahvahd Yahd!”, then commented on how thrilling it was to hear the true New England accent at work.

I followed this by a slight tangent about the possibility that some people may lay the accent on thick in order to give a brief thrill to bright-eyed and bushy-tailed tourists like myself.

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