10 Mysterious Last Stops on the NYC Subway

Take the subway to the end of the line and find yourself in another world.


NYC's subways are strange beasts.

Each day, they transport thousands of people through the busiest parts of the city, but gradually they empty out until few people are left. By the last stop on any given subway line, the city will have transformed into a forest or a suburb or an ocean, and no one will be left but the locals and the sleeping.

Andy Newman's 2008 New York Times article "The Curious World of the Last Stop" is the definitive reading for anyone interested in the last stops at the ends of subway lines. He writes eloquently of the sense of ache and strangeness that often emerges in these places, so far removed from the city's cosmopolitan center. "At the city's often-threadbare fringes, there is an inescapable sense of lonesomeness," he writes. "There might be a Last Stop Deli, a forlorn bar, a maintenance yard populated mostly by rows of empty trains. There is, surprisingly often, a cemetery."

At these end-of-the-line stops, the world almost seems to fray. "Beyond the station gates, a priest dreams of a vineyard. A car bursts into flame," Newman writes. "An ancient sign in a boarded-up window opposite the platform reads 'Wrestling Weight.' A stuffed bear mans a betting window in a struggling OTB parlor. The dead lie in rows uncounted, and the living mourn and wait and work and love and strum guitars on the front stoop, annoying the neighbors."

New York City is often defined by its tourist attractions—the skyscrapers, the lights—but maybe these distant destinations better represent the city's soul, which is something alive and cold, glossed over by visions and mythology but defined by its front stoops, its music, its storefronts, its people, riding the subways all night until they're finally home and then doing it all over again.

Last stops are like seams where the city drops off and meets the rest of the world. They offer fascinating glimpses into parts of NYC you may never have otherwise seen, opening windows into local neighborhoods, abandoned relics, massive parks, and other genuinely off-the-beaten-path destinations.

If you're looking for a chance to get some reading done, a trip to the end of an NYC subway line is one way to pass the time. You're likely to find a seat at some point, and you'll also get to experience a part of the city you haven't been to. Plus, you might find yourself confronted with the finitude of everything.

1. 1, Van Cortlandt Ave/242nd Street, Bronx

This Victorian Gothic station is the last stop on the 1 train in the Bronx-bound direction. It was designed by Heins and LaFarge, the firm behind the design of St. John the Divine, as part of an NYC beautification project designed to improve the city's appearance in hopes of reducing criminal activity.

The station lies to the east end of the massive Van Cortland Park, which is NYC's third largest park. The expansive area contains a large lake and a network of hiking trails, one of which is a famous route known as the Old Croton Aqueduct Hike. In the autumn (or any time of year, really) this park offers magnificent views of the Northeast's foliage. It also boasts the well-preserved Van Cortland House Museum, for anyone seeking a glimpse of old-money luxury, as well as numerous other outdoor attractions.

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2. Q Train, Stillwell Avenue, Coney Island

If you take the Q or D train to the end of the line, you'll wind up at Coney Island, the oceanside neighborhood at the edge of the city. From there, you can explore the wonders of Luna Park while tracing the remnants of the other amusement parks that lived and died on these shores—most of them burned down in the mid-20th century, and any dive into Coney Island's history is a trip worth taking in and of itself. Plus, even if you don't care about any man-made glories, a trip to this station will leave you only a short walk from the Atlantic Ocean.

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3. A, 207th Street, Inwood, Manhattan

The last stop on the A train in the northern direction is 207th Street in Inwood, Manhattan. If you're looking for some time in nature, a visit will take you to the large Inwood park, and you can see nearby tidal creeks and ecosystems, which will transport you to a place that feels very different from NYC.

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4. 4, Woodlawn, Bronx

Due to its innovative use of ornamental concrete, the Woodland Subway Station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. Today it boasts a stained glass installation called Children At Play, and it neighbors the nearby Woodlawn Cemetery.

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5. N/W, Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria

Taking the N or W all the way to the edge of Astoria will leave you in a small, sweet Queens neighborhood, perfect for exploring on a summer afternoon. Ditmars Boulevard offers enough restaurants, cafes, running trails, and interesting landmarks to make it worth a day trip.

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6. 6, Pelham Bay Park, Bronx

This station may be dilapidated, but it's the perfect portal to the natural world, as it'll drop you right on the edge of Pelham Bay Park. At three times the size of Central Park, Pelham Bay Park is quite expansive, so be sure to pack trail mix if you take this route and decide to get off and explore.

The park is cut through by a lagoon, bordered by the popular Orchard Beach, and pockmarked by recreational areas and golf courses. It's a popular place for barbecues, sunbathing, and all manners of recreation.

The park actually has quite an interesting past. It originally belonged to the Lenape peoples, like all of New York City. As the British colonized the territory, it became the home base of Puritan Anne Hutchinson's short-lived dissident colony. Hutchinson, whose sermons critiqued local ministers and gathered women together to challenge the Puritans, was banished and settled in the Bronx at what is now the location of the park.

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7. 7, Flushing Main Street, Queens

This stop offers a connection to the AirTrain to JFK as well as amazing views of Manhattan, Flushing Meadows Park, Citi Field and some highways and LIRR tracks, so it's ideal for photographers looking for a unique view of the city. A notoriously busy transit hub, you might not get a seat or a moment of quiet here, but you will get to drink in the sights of good old New York, New York.

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8. A, Rockaway Park, Rockaways

The A Train is NYC's longest train, and it ends at the city's most distant stretch of beaches: the Rockaways. A trip to 116th Street/Rockaway Park will drop you at a neighborhood that has served as a summer retreat for many New Yorkers for quite a while. You'll find yourself steps from the beach, with easy access to a collection of surf-themed restaurants and shops.

Rockaway Park is filled with quirky sculptures and unique, sometimes macabre history. Diners, clothing shops, motels, and Italian ice shops populate the streets alongside newer luxury beachside condos, so this area highlights the ragged edge where NYC's locals meet new gentrifiers, but its distance from Manhattan and proximity to the ocean gives it a slower, eerier feel.

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9. 6, Abandoned City Hall

This technically isn't a stop because the subway doesn't actually stop here, but if you take the 6 train past the last stop at the edge of Manhattan, you'll pass by the ghostly relics of the old City Hall train. You can also take a tour through the New York Transit Museum and check it out (and that museum is worth visiting if you've made it this far through this article!)

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10. J/Z, Board Street, Manhattan

This stop is still in cosmopolitan Manhattan, so it's not exactly going to offer you a peaceful departure—but it will allow you to explore Wall Street and sites like the nearby Zuccotti Park, the location of Occupy Wall Street.

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It's no secret that the restaurant scene in New York City is one of the most impressive in the world.

Whatever you could want to eat, you can find it in New York—meaning that even if you have a slightly restrictive diet, like veganism, there's plenty of options for you. Local fast-casual chains like By Chloe and Superiority Burger are making New York one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, but the deliciousness doesn't stop there.


Between Manhattan and Brooklyn, there's been a boom of vegan restaurants that'll satisfy any craving. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Blossom(Upper West Side + Greenwich Village)

vegan restaurant

With two locations serving both Uptown and Downtown, Blossom is a go-to for local and tourist vegans alike. They offer an elevated dining experience (and a wide-spanning takeout radius) that puts a cruelty-free spin on classic main dishes like chicken piccata, rigatoni, and grilled salmon. Complete your dinner with a fresh, fruity cocktail and tiramisu—but reservations are strongly recommended beforehand.

Jajaja (West Village + Lower East Side)

vegan Jajaja

Jajaja is the ultimate heaven for Mexican food addicts. Get your fix of south of the border staples like burritos, street tacos, and enchiladas that'll make you second guess whether or not it's actually vegan (pro tip: The nacho portion is large enough to be a meal for one person). They also have a small but mighty menu of tequila and mezcal cocktails to kick off a night of LES bar-hopping. It gets crowded here quickly, though, so try to schedule your dinner early.

Urban Vegan Kitchen(West Village)

Urban Vegan Kitchen

We get it—eating vegan can get kind of bland sometimes. But that's not an issue at Urban Vegan Kitchen, the type of restaurant that'll have you wanting to order one of everything on the menu (but we recommend the "chicken" and waffles). Co-owned by the founder of Blossom, they boast a menu that's just as edgy and exciting as their decor. Their space is large too, making it a crowd-pleasing option for a slightly larger group.

Champs Diner (Williamsburg)

Champs Diner vegan

Located near the border of hip neighborhoods Williamsburg and Bushwick, Champs is a favorite of many young Brooklynites. Their menu is full of vegan alternatives to classic diner fare like breakfast plates, cheeseburgers, and even milkshakes that taste mysteriously like the real deal, while the decor puts a quintessential Brooklyn edge on '50s digs. Who said going plant-based had to be healthy all the time, anyway?

Peacefood (Greenwich Village)

vegan Peacefood

Conveniently located just a stone's throw from Union Square—near both NYU and the New School—Peacefood is a hotspot for college students, but vegans of any age are guaranteed to enjoy their menu. They specialize in comfort food items like quiche, chicken parmesan, and chili with corn bread—all plant-based, of course. While their "chicken" tender basket is to die for, make sure to save room for dessert here, too; Peacefood's lengthy pastry menu is a dream come true.

Buddha Bodai (Chinatown)

Buddha Bodai vegan

Dim sum restaurants in Chinatown are a dime a dozen, but Buddha Bodai takes the cake for the best veggie-friendly experience in one of New York's most bustling neighborhoods. Bring your family or friends along with you to enjoy this massive menu of buns and dumplings stuffed with any type of mock meat you could want. This is also a great option for gluten-free vegans, too, as much of their menu accommodates a gluten-free diet.

Greedi Kitchen (Crown Heights)

Greedi Kitchen vegan

Crown Heights might not be the first neighborhood people think of when it comes to dining in Brooklyn, but Greedi Kitchen is making the case for delicious restaurants in the area. Inspired by its founder's many years of travel, Greedi Kitchen combines the comforting flavors of southern soul food with the added pizazz of global influences. Try one of their po'boys or the crab cake sliders. Trust us.

Screamer’s Pizzeria (Greenpoint + Crown Heights)

Screamer's Pizza vegan

We know what you're thinking: Pizza without real cheese? Call us crazy, but Screamer's does vegan pizza to perfection. If you're into classic pies like a simple margherita or pepperoni, or you want to branch out with unexpected topping combinations, Screamer's is delicious enough to impress carnivores, too (pro tip: the Greenpoint location is small and serves most pies by the slice, while the Crown Heights location is larger for sitting down).


Learning a second language is one of the coolest and most rewarding things you can do in your spare time.

However, if hopping on a one-way ticket to your country of choice isn't an option for you, it can be difficult to find an immersive experience to learn, especially past high school or college.

The next best thing is language-learning apps.

We wanted to look at the top two: DuoLingo and Rosetta Stone. Duolingo is the new kid on the block; one of the top downloaded, this free app is a favorite. Then, there's the legacy option: Rosetta Stone. For over 20 years, they've been developing their language-learning software, and their app is the most recent innovation.

They're both great options, but keep reading to figure out which one is the best for you.

Key Similarities

  • Both claim you'll expand your vocabulary
  • Both are available as an app for iOS and Android users
  • Both have a clean user interface with appealing graphics
  • Both have offline capabilities (if you pay)

Key Differences

  • DuoLingo has a popular free version along with its paid version, whereas Rosetta Stone only has a paid version
  • DuoLingo offers 35+ languages, and Rosetta Stone offers 24 languages
  • Rosetta Stone has an advanced TruAccent feature to detect and correct your accent
  • DuoLingo offers a breadth of similar vocab-recognizing features, and Rosetta Stone offers a wider variety of learning methods, like Stories

DuoLingo Overview

DuoLingo's app and its iconic owl have definitely found a place in pop culture. One of the most popular free language-learning apps, it offers 35 different languages, including Klingon, that can be learned through a series of vocabulary-matching games.

DuoLingo offers a free version and a version for $9.99 a month without ads and with offline access.

Rosetta Stone Overview

The Rosetta Stone app is a beast. There are 24 different languages to choose from, but more importantly, you get a huge variety of methods for learning. Not only are there simple games, but there are stories where you get to listen, the Seek and Speak feature, where you go on a treasure hunt to photograph images and get the translations, and the TruAccent feature, which will help you refine your accent. Whenever you speak into the app, you'll get a red/yellow/green rating on your pronunciation, so you can fine-tune it to really sound like you have a firm grasp of the language.

Rosetta Stone costs just $5.99 a month for a 24-month subscription, which gives you access to all of their 24 languages!

Final Notes

Overall, these are both excellent apps for increasing your proficiency in a new language! They both feel quite modern and have a fun experience.

When it comes to really committing words to memory and understanding them, Rosetta Stone is king.

DuoLingo definitely will help you learn new words, and the app can be addicting, but users report it as more of a game than a means to an end.

With Rosetta Stone's variety of features, you'll never get bored; there are more passive elements and more active elements to help you activate different parts of your brain, so you're learning in a more dynamic and efficient way.

The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers only: Up To 45% Off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Languages & Free Tutoring Sessions!

Travel

So You Want to Try Workaway

Want to travel cheap, meet locals and kindred spirits, live off the land, and possibly change your life? It might be time to try Workaway.

Sitting in a house on a hill in Tuscany, Italy, watching the sun set and listening to the sound of music coming from the house in which I was staying almost rent-free, I wondered how I had gotten this lucky.

Actually, it was really all thanks to one website—Workaway.info.

Workaway Workaway


Workaway is a site that sets travelers up with hosts, who provide visitors with room and board in exchange for roughly five hours of work each weekday. The arrangement varies from host to host—some offer money, others require it—but typically, the Workaway experience is a rare bird: a largely anti-capitalist exchange.

I did four Workaways the summer I traveled in Europe, and then one at a monastery near my home in New York the summer after. Each experience, though they lasted around two weeks each, was among the most enriching times of my life—and I'd argue I learned almost as much through those experiences as I did in four years of college.

There's something extremely special about the Workaway experience, though it's certainly not for everyone.

Workaway Isn't for Everyone: What to Know Before You Go

I loved all the Workaways I went on, but the best advice I can give to anyone considering going is: Enter with an open mind. If you're someone who doesn't do well with the unexpected, if you're not willing to be flexible, if you're a picky eater or easily freaked out, then it's likely that you won't have a good experience at a Workaway.

There are exceptions to all of this. At the Workaway I stayed at in Italy, one of the travelers was suffering from stomach bloating, and the host helped cure her with a diet of miso. (I'm not saying you should go Workawaying if you're ill—this traveler's mother also came to oversee everything—but still, you never know what you'll find).

Workaway WoIsango.com

You should also probably be willing and able to actually work at your Workaway. These aren't vacations, and some hosts will be stricter and less forgiving than others regarding your work ethic. If you're someone who has no experience with difficult farm work, for example, it might not be a good idea to do a Workaway on a farm.

How to Choose a Host

The Workaway website boasts a truly overwhelming number of hosts. You can narrow your search down by location, but you can also search key terms that can help guide you in the right direction. You might search "music," for example—that's how I found the Italy location. You'll find hosts in busy cities and in the most remote mountains of India; you'll find opportunities to tutor and explore. You'll find shadiness, too, so trust your instincts.

Take time to actually read the host's entire bio before reaching out. Read all the comments, too, and if you're nervous or a first-timer, only reach out to hosts who have exclusively glowing reviews. I had the best experiences with hosts that had left extremely detailed bios—that showed me they were likely going to be dedicated hosts.

I also chose hosts whose bios gave me a good feeling, something like a spark of electricity or recognition. This instinctual method might not work for everyone, but it certainly led me in the right direction in all of my Workaway experiences. My Workaways gave me some of the best memories and deepest relationships of my life, and that was partly thanks to the fact that I chose places that were good fits for me.

For example, I chose to stay alone with a wizened academic in France. Something about his bio and descriptions resonated with me enough to trust him. (I also read some of his many thousand-page-long treatises on peace and compassion and decided that if someone could write this and be a psychopath, this wasn't a world I wanted to live in anyway). It was the right decision—and the two weeks I spent there were some of the most enlightening of my entire life.

When you reach out to a host, particularly if it's someone you really want to stay with, it's a good idea to frame your initial contact email as a cover letter of sorts—make sure you explain who you are and personalize your letter to fit each host.

Ixcanaan A Workaway painting experienceWorkaway


Travel Safely

Especially if you're traveling alone, it's always a good idea to choose a host whose page has tons of good reviews. Aside from that, a quick Google search and a scan of any social media pages related to your potential host can't hurt.

Ultimately, Workawaying requires a certain amount of trust and faith on both the host and the traveler's parts—you're either trusting someone to stay in your home or trusting a stranger to host and feed you.

But that trust, in my experience, also results in rapid and deep connections unlike anything I've experienced in the "real world." When you go and share a home with someone, you're also sharing yourself with them, and in that exchange there are the seeds of a powerful bond.

Participate Fully

Wherever you go, you'll want to open your mind and participate fully. Adjust yourself to your host's lifestyle, not the other way around, and take time to get to know your host and the others around you.

You might find that you become someone you never knew you were. As a lifelong introvert, I somehow managed to develop close relationships with many of the people I was staying with.

This might be because most people who are at Workaways are seeking something for one reason or another. In my experience, you find lots of people who are at junctures in their lives, seeking connection and meaning. With the right Workaway, you might just find it.

Workaway The Broke Backpacker - WorkawayThe Broke Backpacker