Although the best way to see New York is via your feet, you're never far from your destination with the elaborate 22-line subway system, which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's fairly easy to navigate, but here's some insider info to help:
1) We call subways "trains" (1 train, A train).
2) Train lines: There are number lines (1,2,3) and letter lines (A,B,C), each has it's own color.
3) Local/express: There are local trains (make all stops) and express trains (stop at certain stations, allows you to transfer to a local). For example, the A/C/E run along the same line (it's blue on the map). The A is express, the C and E are local.
4) Uptown/downtown: Subway lines generally run north and south, but stations are labeled "uptown" or "downtown." If you're at 68th St. and you want to go to 14th St. you take a "downtown" train because you're traveling south - or downtown.
5) Metrocard: the card you'll need to swipe at the turnstile to ride the train. Purchase one from the agent or vending machine at the subway station. The kind you'll need depends on how often you'll be riding. There are one-time, daily and unlimited use cards.
Now you have the tools to navigate the NYC subway system. So when someone says, "Take the uptown A to 14th St, then transfer to the C local," you'll know what they're talking about. Right?
6) (nods head) Right!