I went to New York over the weekend! And I took some trains! And buses! But not the M20. Let me explain: to get to Staten Island, the most obvious (and touristy) way is the Staten Island Ferry. And the most obvious way of getting to the ferry is by taking the 1 train down to South Ferry Station. But 1 trains weren’t running there this weekend – thus, we needed to find an alternate route. Let me just say that Manhattan buses are not at all reliable.

If only…

It was a Sunday, when the M20 runs every 20 minutes. The one my father and I wanted was supposed to leave Lincoln Center (the northern terminus) at 9:19 and arrive South Ferry at 10:07 – plenty of time to transfer to the 10:30 ferry. Waiting at 57th Street, the bus was due to come a few minutes after it left its first stop. But “a few minutes after 9:19” came and went. By 9:30, I was starting to get a bit worried.

This “schedule” says the bus arrives at 9:23! Balderdash!

Luckily, the MTA has a nifty texting system, where you can text them the stop number and they’ll tell you when the next bus arrives. It took a while to get a response, but it said “0.5 miles away.” Well, after another 10 minutes of waiting, it was clear that the bus was in fact much further than half a mile away. Eventually we decided to just hoof it and take the subway instead.

Well, at least we avoided the Times Square traffic.
Ah, the classic New York Subway entrance.

An alternative subway route to South Ferry is the R, which has a direct transfer to the 1 at Whitehall Street. You may remember my fun experience with the NQR lines from the last time I was in New York – and this one was just as fun (i.e. not fun at all)! The 57th Street station was pretty generic – nothing special about it.

The mezzanine.
And the platform – express trains stop on the left.
After a few minutes of waiting, a Q train came into the station. This is the terminus of that line, and to prove the point, the train put “LAST STOP” on its destination board. It did, however, have one door open in every car, and lots of people got on. It sat there for a while without opening its doors, but then it left along the route – still with LAST STOP on the destination board! Are you serious?
Apparently not.
So after waiting for about 25 minutes, an R finally came into the station (after two N’s). The ride itself was fine, and we made it down to the South Ferry station – at 10:27. My father and I sprinted up the stairs, pushing past other people as we went. Bursting into the ferry terminal, we made it just as the boat was boarding. Phew.
I was so excited I didn’t even care that the picture was blurry.