1. Always let the passengers off the train before you enter the train. Believe me it will help everyone get where they are going faster. A lot of times people crowd the doors to get on, this makes it really difficult for those trying to get off which of course leads to many angry travelers.
2. Always remember Harlem, the Bronx and Queens are uptown. Brooklyn and the Battery are downtown. It is not always easy to know where your train is heading if you don't know where these places are.
3. The Embark App is an amazing tool in helping you to figure out which trains to take to get to your destination and its FREE!
4. The First and Last car of the train are usually the least crowded. This took me forever to learn but once I did it made my Rush Hour commuting so much easier!
5. Beware of an empty subway car during busy times of the day. You may think its your lucky day having plenty of seats available to choose from. Maybe you are the type that gets that lucky but more commonly I find someone is really smelly on that train car or its the middle of the summer and the air conditioner is broken. The train cars can get unbelievable stifling with no AC.
6. If you are not sure you are on the right train ask someone. New Yorkers get a reputation for being rude but I have only ever had good experiences asking people for directions. No one likes being lost, so people are usually willing to help you out.
7. There is some really cool art to experience in the subway stations. To learn about the art the MTA offers a free app for download. Check it out here.
8. If using an unlimited Metro Card remember that you can only swipe at the same station once every 18 minutes. So remember if you head into the wrong side of the subway it will be 18 minutes before you can enter the other side.
9. If traveling with multiple people on a pay-per-ride metro card, remember that you can only swipe for 4 people at each station. My friend found this out the hard way when trying to lead a tour group of 24 Japanese Exchange students.
10. I would prefer to travel by cab if I was visiting NYC, I think you get to see so much more of the city traveling above ground. However if you are looking for the fastest and least expensive mode of travel the subway would be it.
11. Its fine to wear headphones on the subway but make sure you can hear the conductors loud speaker announcements. There are random times when the trains decide to go express and skip many stations they are supposed to stop at. Passengers are then forced to get out at the next station and wait for the next local train. If you miss this announcement you may find yourself super far away from your travel destitation.