Although there are entire areas—often referred to as “transit deserts”—of the borough of Queens that do not have direct subway service, the New York City subway system is a vital mode of transportation for most Queens residents. The tunnels and elevated tracks of the Queens subway routes reach through the borough, the cars carrying in them commuters, tourists, students and day trippers. So, it is not surprising how debilitating a shutdown—even a short one—can be.
In recent years, the subway has seen some worthwhile improvements both in function and aesthetics. The 7 train, which serves two of the borough’s busiest stations, now extends past 42nd Street and drops commuters off at 34th Street. Other recent renovations have included the F train stop at Parsons Boulevard and the A train’s Lefferts Boulevard stop.
This year, the N and W train stations at 30th and 36th avenues in Astoria will be closed for the first part of the year to allow for renovations. Next year, the L train will close for 15 months beginning in April.
Simply put, the subway is important to our survival. A century ago, the borough grew with the help of the subways. Even for commuters who live beyond the subways’ reach, they provide an important link. Many commuters take buses to subway stations in Flushing, Jamaica, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Middle Village, Long Island City, Jackson Heights and Richmond Hill to catch trains to Manhattan.
Today, the clanging noise of packed subway trains over Roosevelt Avenue, Liberty Avenue, Jamaica Avenue, Wyckoff Avenue or 31st Street and the whoosh of a passing train under sidewalk grates along Queens Boulevard, Hillside Avenue, Archer Avenue or Steinway Street are the breaths of the borough. As long as the subways are running, the borough is living and thriving.
Included in this edition is an updated map of subway service in Queens. Free copies of the subway map are available at any subway station. For more information on routes and scheduling, check out mta.info or call (718) 330-1234 for English or (718) 330-4847 for non-English speakers.