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Uptown view: the 1 train in West Harlem

Updated: Mar 8, 2020

The uptown 1 train approaching the 137th Street stop

I must be a die-hard subway fan: despite all of the MTA's recent problems–incessant delays, slow-moving trains, unchecked panhandling–I still have lots of nice things to say about my local station, the 137th Street–City College stop on the Broadway-Seventh Avenue line.

For example, did you know a young Barack Obama had a part in its renovation? It used to be one of the worst stations in the entire system, but thanks in part to community organizing efforts by Obama in the 1980s, it was given a head-to-toe makeover.

If I'm completely honest, I wish it were an express stop. But at least it's on the 1 line–compared to other neighborhood options like the A, the 1 rarely has massive delays or slows to a crawl. In fact, the 1 is often ranked as one of the best lines in the system.

Coming home, the stop that precedes mine, 125th Street, is the only elevated stop in Manhattan below Dyckman Street in Inwood. From 122nd to 135th Streets, the 1 train crosses the arched Manhatttan Valley Viaduct and the train is suddenly flooded with light and views from both sides. The experience never fails to lift my mood.

If I'm engrossed in my phone or just daydreaming, the fresh air that wafts in when the doors open at 125th Street is nature's way of reminding me that it's time to get off at the next stop.

Best of all? When the uptown 1 is running behind schedule, it suddenly turns into an express train at 96th Street and goes straight to 137th Street, skipping four whole stops. It's like a small New York miracle. I'm here to give thanks–and a nudge to the MTA to make it a regular occurrence during rush hour.

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