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There's a Secret Spot on Every NYC Subway that Shows Where the Conductor is Going to Be

New York Culture
Photo byfreepik via freepik

If you live in New York City, you probably know which subway carriage the conductor will be at. If you visit the city a lot, you may also know this secret. Is it really a secret? I mean, Google Maps certainly helps when it comes to navigating through the somewhat challenging subway map. I think an interactive map is not nearly as good as asking the tenure expect, the subway conductor, a transit-related question. And those who aren't new to New York's subway know how to figure out where the conductor will pop out easily.

Let me jump right into it. There is a particular area at every subway station that marks where the conductor will be available. You can call this area "a Zebra area". It's the name I gave it, not an official term. But it's a black and white striped board located directly across from the conductor's window of every train at every station. The idea behind this board is to show a subway passenger where the conductor will be available as the next train stops, and this stripy board is located at every NYC station - and there are 472 of them as of spring 2023.

Conductors have an odd instruction to point at the stripy board when the train stops at the station and they open the carriage window. Their pointing at the sign apparently signifies that they're paying attention to the riders and can answer their questions. Back in 2013, a group of tourists decided to prank the conductors and stood with banners that read "Point here if you're dead sexy" and other funny phrases under the zebra board. According to the conductors' reaction, it made their day.

So, the next time you're on the NYC subway and have a commute-related question, head to the "zebra" and wait for the next train to arrive.

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