Image of a performer on a subway platform
Millions ride the New York subway every day and pass through its most interesting stations. (Photo credit: Clement Debrach, @zedouphotography on Instagram)

Easily the busiest transit system in the United States, the labyrinthine New York subway network clocks in at over 800 miles of track with 469 stations. The system does so much more than just keep the city moving, as its unique stations reshape the urban landscape and add character to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Image of the official NYC Subway map from the MTA
Any New Yorker has at least part of the subway map memorized!

Chances are that you’ll find yourself making use of the subway for everyday needs, whether it’s commuting to work, going shopping, or going out on the town to experience the city’s world-renowned nightlife. The everyday can become extraordinary if you just know where to look for these 5 unique stations.

1. Uptown Manhattan – 190th Street (IND Eighth Avenue Line)

mage of the 190th Street Subway Station
Dug right into the Manhattan bedrock, the 190th Street Station is a monument in itself.

Manhattan is famously flat, but its Hudson Heights neighborhood towers over the low-lying streets of downtown. It’s here that you’ll find 190th Street Station on the A train, sunken 140 feet (42.6m) deep into the island’s craggy bedrock, making it the deepest station in the network. A set of elevators, staffed by a few of the subway system’s only remaining elevator operators, provides access to the station and to Bennett Avenue below the cliffs.

Upper Manhattan is getting more and more popular as rents in Brooklyn and Queens rise, so now is a great time to get to know Washington Heights and the surrounding neighborhoods! With our one-bedroom furnished rental at Broadway and Bennett Avenue, you can enjoy the area with all the comforts of a modern, postwar apartment. This includes laundry in the building and a fully-equipped kitchen to keep you from getting stuck ordering delivery every night.

2. Midtown West – 34th Street – Hudson Yards (IRT Flushing Line)

Image of the roof mosaic of the new 34th Street-Hudson Yards station
Pops of color in the roof mosaic contrast with the new 34th Street – Hudson Yards Station’s sleek modern design.

After decades of decline, the NYC subway now has new stations opening for the first time in decades. Perhaps the most touted of these is the 34th Street – Hudson Yards Station on the 7 train, which (after ten years and a staggering $2.4 billion) now serves as a gateway to the burgeoning Hudson Yards neighborhood south of Hell’s Kitchen on Manhattan’s West Side. Unique touches like the incline elevator and beautiful roof mosaic as well as major New York sights in the area like the expanded Javits Convention Center and the ever popular High Line in Chelsea make this gleaming new station a must-see!

Image of the open-plan living room of NY-11303
Enormous windows and an open-layout floor plan make this studio loft apartment a real catch!

What better way to get to know this neighborhood of converted warehouses than with a stay in our stunning studio loft at 37th Street & 10th Avenue, just blocks from the new station? Its high ceilings and double-height windows create a unique vista of the West Side skyline, while refurbished amenities provide modern convenience. A more affordable option is our room for rent in a Midtown West apartment. This roommate share has two bedrooms, a living room with a cable TV, and a fully-equipped kitchen for home cooks. Even more impressive is the building, a late 20th-century high-rise with a gym and a concierge.

3. Financial District – City Hall (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)

Image of the platform of the City Hall IRT Station
With its graceful Romanesque revival arches and wrought-iron chandeliers, the City Hall IRT station is a work of art!

This next subway station is not like the others. No Metrocard or token will provide you access, at least not in this century. Originally designed as the flagship station of the entire IRT network, the City Hall Station on the 6 train has been abandoned since 1945. The gorgeous Romanesque Revival arches, mosaics, and skylights along the sharply curved platform can still be seen, though. Just take any local 6 train around its terminal loop downtown from the Brooklyn Bridge station, and you can catch a glimpse of this palatial transit icon.

Image of the living room dining area of NY-3756
Vintage pieces like the card table and chairs by the windows of this furnished rental make it a great artsy option for renters.

Located in Lower Manhattan near City Hall, this three-bedroom Tribeca apartment is no shoebox studio. It totals an impressive 2200 square feet (200 square meters) and has bay windows, hardwood floors and glass chandeliers. The décor includes unique decorative tiling in the kitchen, ample greenery by the windows, and an eclectic, world-trotting array of wall art in the living room.

4. Gowanus, Carroll Gardens – Smith-Ninth Streets (IND Culver Line)

mage of the elevated trains near Smith-Ninth Streets with the NYC skyline in the background
Well before the latest building boom, New York’s subway provided impressive skyline views from the Smith-Ninth Streets station.

Quite the opposite of our the first station on this list in Upper Manhattan, this subway stop isn’t exactly underground. On the contrary, the Smith-Ninth Streets Station on the F and G trains is located 87.5 feet (26.7 meters) above the Gowanus Canal, once a busy waterway that needed mast clearance for ship traffic under the tracks. Nowadays, the station’s height is mostly useful for providing amazing views of the NYC skyline, as you can see above in a vintage photo.

Image of the roof terrace of NY-16230

Sit down to a meal on this roof terrace and you can enjoy glimpses of the Manhattan skyline!

You’ll have a great view of the station (and the rest of the city skyline) from the roof deck of this three-bedroom furnished rental in Carroll Gardens. The rental spans the top two floors of a low-rise building and comes complete with an office space, a lounge, and a dining area, in addition to all the essentials. A more affordable option, if you’re looking for a communal living experience (great for students or interns), are these rooms for rent in a four-bedroom apartment that’s also located in Carroll Gardens. Exposed brick and unfinished wood give the space a rustic vibe well-suited to this trendy hipster neighborhood.

5. Prospect Heights, Downtown Brooklyn – Franklin Avenue Shuttle

Image of an elevated subway station with a woman on the platform .
Outdoor stations and charming street views make the Franklin Ave. Shuttle one of the city’s most picturesque lines. (Photo credit: Tifanie O. Riley, @tiforeily on Instagram)

This subway curiosity isn’t just one station, but rather a shuttle line (one of three in the city) running along the side of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park (one of the most beautiful parks in NYC). It also happens to be the oldest portion of the entire subway system, dating back to 1878, when steam trains brought Brooklynites from their tenements to the beaches of Coney Island. The Franklin Avenue Shuttle is best known for its leafy vistas and, more tragically, for the worst rail accident in American History back in 1918. Nowadays, the line is one of the most peaceful in the city (it was almost shut down in the 1980s due to a lack of traffic), and a great way to get to Prospect Park.

One of biggest advantages of living in a low-rise Brooklyn neighborhood is the unparalleled views from any high vantage point. Take a seat out on the balcony of our two-bedroom apartment share in Prospect Heights and you’ll see the whole city! If you prefer high-end amenities and ample space to a top-floor apartment, consider this vacation rental in Crown Heights, a one-bedroom that spans 900 square feet (83.6 square meters) and offers a modern kitchen, a washer and dryer, and even a parking space! Get to know the surrounding area, including popular Park Slope, and you’ll be living like a local in no time!

Bonus: Learn more at the NYC Transit Museum

Image of the decommissioned subway concourse of the NYC Transit Museum
The Transit Museum, located in an inactive subway station in Brooklyn, lets you experience the subway system’s history firsthand! (Photo credit: Black Paw Photo)

Every subway station in New York has a story to tell, and the best place to hear them is at the Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn. Located in a decommissioned subway station (Court Street), the museum has exhibits on New York’s transportation history, from the steam train era through the modern day. And best of all, the tracks on the lowest station level are packed with vintage train cars that are fully open to visitors. A perfect New York activity for kids or any history buff, the museum gives the subway system the attention it deserves.

While visiting all 469 stations may be a lofty goal, the first step is finding the perfect furnished apartment as a home base. From there you can get to know your neighborhood and then see all the rest that NYC has to offer!