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New York City Subway in popular culture

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Title: New York City Subway in popular culture  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: New York City Subway, 6 (New York City Subway service), New York City in popular culture, Hotel St. George, Dyckman-Hillside Substation
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

New York City Subway in popular culture

References to the New York City Subway in popular culture are prevalent, as it is a common element in many New Yorkers' lives.


  • By service 1
    • 1 1.1
    • 6 1.2
    • A 1.3
    • D 1.4
    • J/Z 1.5
  • By medium 2
    • Music 2.1
    • Television 2.2
    • Film 2.3
    • Other 2.4
  • References 3

By service



  • Justin Townes Earle's "Working for the MTA" describes the 6 train from the perspective of the driver.
  • In the novel The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and the films based on it, a 6 train that originated in Pelham Bay Park Station was hijacked, and hostages were held inside a subway car.
  • After his first visit to NYC in 1969, Rubén Blades wrote the song "El número seis" about waiting for the 6 train. He never recorded it, but it was recorded in 1975 by Bobby Rodríguez y la Compañía in 1975, Los Soneros del Barrio in 1999, and Jimmy Sabater with Son Boricua in 2002.
  • When she was growing up, Jennifer Lopez regularly rode a 6 train into Manhattan to go to her dance studio. Her debut 1999 album is called On the 6, a reference to the train.
  • Mark Wahlberg rides the 6 (R29/36 cars) in the movie The Yards.
  • On January 22, 2006, eight members of the Improv Everywhere comedy troupe were arrested on a 6 train after participating in a city-wide prank dubbed "No Pants". They have before and since performed several other pranks on the 6 train.
  • In the 2000 movie, Boiler Room, the main character, Seth, mentions that the brokers at his firm act like they "just got off the 6 train to Fulton Street." The 6 train, however, does not stop at Fulton Street.
  • A scene in Kids takes place on the 6 train, including shots of a legless panhandler on a skateboard.
  • In the How I Met Your Mother episode "Lucky Penny", Barney Stinson gets stuck on a 6 train when he becomes unable to move his legs.
  • In the 1984 film The Pope of Greenwich Village, the bar and tow truck scenes take place beneath the 6 train's elevated structure at Castle Hill Avenue station.


  • Take the A Train is a jazz standard by Billy Strayhorn, referring to the A train, going at that time from eastern Brooklyn up into Harlem and northern Manhattan, using the express tracks in Manhattan. It became the signature tune of Duke Ellington and often opened the shows of Ella Fitzgerald. Part of the significance of this is sociological: it connected the two largest Black neighborhoods in New York City, Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant.
  • Cinderella & The "A" Train is a song by Joe Purdy, and is one of several songs by Purdy about (or with references to) New York City.
  • "Walking Down Madison" by Kirsty MacColl mentions the "A-Train".
  • In the Broadway musical Hair, during Act I, the "tribe" recites a list of material things that they lack through the song "Ain't Got No." One of the items that is lacking is the "A Train."[1]
  • In the Broadway musical In the Heights, during the title song, Usnavi tells the audience to "take the A Train" (to the melody of Strayhorn's Take the A Train) "even farther than Harlem to Northern Manhattan and maintain. Get off at 181st and take the escalator. I hope you're writing this down, I'm gonna test ya later."
  • Rapper Azealia Banks says in her single 212 that she grew up in the neighborhood of Harlem, serviced by the A: "I was in the 212, on the uptown A..."
  • In the movie Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, almost all of the clips are shot in the NYC Subway System as Hurricane Sandy approaches.


  • Bob Dylan's 1966 song "Visions of Johanna" includes the lyric "In the empty lot where the ladies play blindman's bluff with the keychain/And the all-night girls, they whisper of escapades out on the D train." At the time, the D used the IND Culver Line to Coney Island.
  • Biz Markie's song "Pickin' Boogers" from his debut album Goin' Off features the line "I was chillin one day/with my partner Kane/headed up to the rooftop/ridin' the D train."
  • The opening track on Yoko Ono's 2009 album Between My Head And The Sky is titled 'Waiting For The D Train'. The D passes through 72nd Street (opposite Yoko's apartment in the Dakota Building) but never stops there, as it is a local station.
  • In the late 1980s and early 1990s, numerous Top 10 Lists on Late Night with David Letterman contained references to the D train.
  • The famous car-chase scene in the movie The French Connection took place under the elevated tracks running from 86th Street into New Utrecht Avenue, Brooklyn (although at that time, the B was serving the West End Line). Many of the actual street scenes, however, were shot in other areas, such as Bushwick, Brooklyn.
  • The namesake street youth gang in the 1979 film The Warriors travel on the D, throughout the film's opening credits, from their Coney Island turf to a meeting in the Bronx.
  • The service is mentioned in the song Boogie Down by Man Parrish Ft. Freeze Force (MC John Ski) raps the following line: "You take the D to 205th Then go see me 'cause I got the gift And I'm the cool MC with the vicious sounds I'm not from the Bronx, but I still Boogie Down".
  • The service is mentioned in the song 3 The Hard Way by Beastie Boys. Adam Yauch raps the following line: "Used to ride the D to beat the morning bell at Edward R. Murrow out on Avenue L..." (Referring to Edward R. Murrow High School, where the D served the station closest to the school, Avenue M, until 2001, when it was replaced by the Q).
  • The service is mentioned twice in the song Stop That Train by the Beastie Boys. Mike D and Adrock rap the following line: "Same faces every day, but you don't know their names, party people going places on the D train". Adam Yauch raps the following line: "Groggy-eyed and fried, and I'm headed for the station, D train ride to Coney Island vacation."
  • The characters of Seinfeld uses the D train to go to Coney Island in the episode The Subway.
  • The 1980s folk-pop trio The Washington Squares includes a song titled "D Train" on their eponymous 1987 debut album.
  • Type O Negative refer to the D train as the chosen transport to Brighton Beach, where lead singer Peter Steele will kill his girlfriend in their songs "Xero Tolerance," "Hey Pete", and "Kill You Tonight".
  • It is also mentioned in an episode of Penguins of Madagascar called "Gone In A Flash" where the penguins go to rescue Maurice and have to travel through the subway system. Also, in episode "Dr. Blowhole's Revenge", when Julien is kidnaped by the lobsters, Mort starts his travel to save him by using the metro until Coney Island.
  • Man Against Crime episode Third Rail (S4E19) starring Ralph Bellamy was filmed on the D train and at the 207th Street Yard in 1953.
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat generated much interest in his graffiti art, which took the form of spray-painted aphorisms that were targeted at the D train.[2]


  • Rapper Jay Z has acknowledged that his moniker is partially a homage to the J/Z services, which stop at Marcy Avenue, near his childhood home in Marcy Houses.[3]

By medium



  • The subway has a fictional station on Sesame Street. It also has appeared in some closing sequences of the series.[10]
  • The second half of the 1974 The Odd Couple episode "The Subway Story", takes place in a subway train. The episode was filmed on a set.
  • The entire All in the Family episode "Mike The Pacifist" (which aired in 1977) takes place on a subway train. A set was constructed at Television City in Hollywood, which resembled the interior of a subway train traveling toward Queens.
  • In the 1987–1989 American television series Beauty and the Beast, Vincent (the "Beast"), who lived in tunnels beneath the city (see "Mole People"), would ride on top of a subway car to travel surreptitiously around the city.
  • In the 1992 Elaine Benes misses a lesbian wedding; and Cosmo Kramer wins a horse bet.[11]
  • In the 1993 Full House episode "Subterranean Graduation Blues", the entire family rides the subway to Jesse's graduation ceremony. Exterior shots of trains pulling in and out of stations are of the New York City subway, but the episode takes place San Francisco.[12]


The New York City subway has been featured prominently in many films.



  1. ^ "Ain't Got No Lyrics". Retrieved 2014-06-14. 
  2. ^ Jean-Michel Basquiat
  3. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. Jay-Z Biography. Allmusic. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  4. ^ New York Times Subway Glide
  5. ^ "Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn: Jazz Composers -Take the "A" Train". Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn: Jazz Composers. National Museum of American History. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ The Velvet Underground; Loaded (1970) (
  8. ^ (News) Native New Yorker Jennifer Lopez Celebrates city's Puerto Rican Day, Lewiston Morning Tribune, June 15, 1999
  9. ^ Savage Garden diary entry for 26 August 1999
  10. ^ File:Tv movie christmas eve oscar legs 86th street.jpg
  11. ^ Seinfeld Scripts; The Subway
  12. ^
  13. ^ Large Still of "On the Town" (
  14. ^ You're a Big Boy Now 1966; Scene from the subway station (Dreams Are What Le Cinema is For)
  15. ^ What is the best car chase scene of all time?
  16. ^ Scene near elevated NYCT Line (
  17. ^ Random Subway entrance scene (
  18. ^ Subway image captured on Internet Movie Cars Database
  19. ^ Death Wish (1974), starring Charles Bronson (VIDEO) (Time Out, New York)
  20. ^ Dwyer, Jim, "Subway lives : 24 hours in the life of the New York City subway", Crown, 1991, ISBN 0-517-58445-X
  21. ^
  22. ^ The Warriors Subway Trip (Stone Grease)
  23. ^ Movies Filmed At 59th St - Columbus Circle Station (MovieMaps)
  24. ^ Jacob's Ladder; 1990 (On the Set of New York)
  25. ^ Vincent Schiavelli in Ghost (
  26. ^ Glengarry Glen Ross (On the Set of New York)
  27. ^ Die Hard With a Vengeance (Movie Mistakes)
  28. ^ Money Train; 1995 (On the Set of New York)
  29. ^ Flickr photo describing the location
  30. ^ Marking Time In Movie Land. "Subway Stories". Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  31. ^ Little Nicky (Hollywood Jesus)
  32. ^ "The Films of James Gray: Old Testament Narratives," by Robert Alpert (Senses of Cinema; December 10, 2012)
  34. ^ Little Manhattan; 2005 (On the Set of New York)
  35. ^ "Knowing’ crew lets you in on the secrets of that subway crash," by Patrick Kevin Day (Los Angeles Times; March 26, 2009)
  36. ^ Great Subway Series moments (
  37. ^ 155th Street: The 9th Avenue Elevated-Polo Grounds Shuttle (
  38. ^ Remnants of the Ninth Avenue El (Forgotten New York)
  39. ^ Perez-Pena, Richard (July 15, 1993). "Aficionado Of Subway Spared Prison".  
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