New York Subway Directions: Penn Station to 66th Street

Friends - Please tell me, in the simplest terms possible, how to get from Penn Station to the ABC Building, 57 West 66th Street, in New York, via subway. By “simplest terms possible,” I mean, “get off the train and take a right” kind of stuff.

I’m going to audition to be on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?. I’m flying into Newark and taking the NJ Transit train to Penn Station. Once I get to Penn Station, I’ll be at the mercy of the Dopers who are knowledgeable about such things.

And if you’re reading the thread and you know anything about the WWTBAM audition process, I’d appreciate any tips. Thanks.

On the Seventh Avenue side of Penn Station, downstairs in the Long Island Rail Road section, you want to get the 1 train uptown to, hmm…66th Street!

Go upstairs and look around. You’re so smart, you’ll find the place. :wink:

I would have said the uptown IRT local, but that’s not nearly so helpful, since the number 1 train hasn’t been referred to in that fashion for years.

I must inadvertently mess up more out-of-towners with my quaint 20th century locutions…

ok a little more detail:
Penn Station has three levels, and they are all buried underneath madison Square Garden. SO don’t expect to see the light of day during this exchange.

Level 0 – street level and Madison Sq. Garden
Level 1 (uppermost) Amtrak waiting area and shops concourse
Level 2 (middle) Long Island Railroad and NYC Subway level (including a shops concourse and an Andean pipe band that seems to have been permanently installed.)
Level 3 (lowest) Actual Amtrak tracks and arrival platforms.

Now, I’m pretty sure NJ Transit uses the Amtrak tracks, so you would arrive at the lowest level, take 1 flight of stairs to the midlevel, and follow signs to the Subway. If you find yourself in the Amtrak waiting area, you’ll need to go down one level to be at the subway.

It can be a little confusing, but you should see other peple heading towards the subway and contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers are usually quite helpful with directions.

Penn Station is an incomprehensible labyrinth and you won’t get anywhere at all if you attempt to follow directions. You will have to do some work. Namely, look for the big white number “1” or “9” in a red circle. Follow it. You will eventually arrive at the 1 and 9 trains. You will need to purchase a Metrocard at one of the vending machines on the way.

Make sure you get on the uptown side. (The signs will say either uptown or downtown.) Ignore the 2 and 3 trains on the center tracks, you don’t want those. Get on the 1 or 9 uptown and get off at 66th Street. You will be right on the intersection of W. 66th Street and Broadway and you’ll need to walk about half a block east on W. 66th Street to find number 57. (Remember that the train you were on was traveling north, therefore determining which way is east is trivial.)

OK, here’s the dope.

When you get off the NJ Transit train, take the stairs from the platform up into the station.

Exactly where you go in the station will depend on what track you come in on and which stair you use. However, there are plentiful signs leading you toward the subways.

You will want to follow the signs to the (1) subway (a red circle with a black ‘1’ in it). The signs will probably say (1) (2) (3) and/or Seventh Avenue Subway.

When you get to the subway entrance, you will be faced with the turnstiles. Go to the token booth or a Metrocard machine, and get a Metrocard. If you’re coming right back to the train, get a $4.00 (two trip) card. If you’re hanging around the city, and plan to make several trips, you may want a $10 card, which will get you a free ride (6 for the price of 5).

Hold the Metrocard in your right hand and slide it in the turnstile slot. The screen should either say ‘go’ or say ‘swipe again’. If it says ‘go’, go through; ‘swipe again’, swipe it again.
Once you are through, look for the sign for the uptown (1) train. When you get on the uptown (1) platform, get on the next train that arrives.

You will take the (1) four stops (first is Times Square, second is 50th St, third is 59th St/Columbus Circle, and fourth is 66th Street). Get off at 66th Street, and go up the nearest exit stairs.

There are two exit stairs that you might come up of. Either way, you will find yourself in or near a triangular plaza where Broadway crosses Columbus and West 66th Street.

The best thing to do is look for the large Barnes & Noble bookstore at the north (uptown) side of the plaza. The Barnes & Noble is on the north side of West 66th Street between Broadway and Columbus Ave., and when you are facing the Barnes & Noble, Columbus Ave. is on your right.

57 West 66th is on 66th between Columbus and Central Park West on the north side of the street. You want to go to the Barnes & Noble, cross Columbus and walk a bit up the block to find ABC. Bad ASCII map:

     B\  B & N   |  C |         ABC
      r\_________|  o |______________
       o   W.66     l      W.66
        a _______   u  ______________
         d\  (1) |  m |
          w\     |  b |
           a\    |  u |
            y\   |  s |

Good Luck.

Go to It’s like a MapQuest for the NYC subway system. It’ll even give you walking directions after you get off the train.

(Kudos to Billdo for those incredibly detailed directions, by the way.)

Is that your final answer?

Oddly enough, it isn’t.

I had an errand to do around 66th Street today, so I stopped there on my way from work. I have a couple of more points.

First, when you get off the subway at the West 66th Street stop, you will see two exits at different ends of the platform. One will have signs for 65th & Broadway or Columbus and Lincoln Center, the other will have signs for 66th & Broadway. The 65th St/Lincoln Center leads to a staircase down under the tracks to Lincoln Center. Do not take the down staircase. Head toward the 66th Street signs and go through the turnstiles to the stairs up to the street level.

Second, the Barnes & Noble is currently covered with green scaffolding. It is a bit more difficult to see, but there is a smaller sign on the scaffolding that should be pretty obvious

Third, are you sure that the address is 57 West 66th Street? I noticed a 77 West 66th , a 47 West 66th and a 56 West 66th across the street, but not a 57 West 66th (but I didn’t check really carefully).

HeyHomie, I successfully auditioned for the show last year and here’s my advice…

  1. The questions are multiple choice, and I think there are 30 questions you need to answer in 10 minutes. They’re not that tough but we all have our general knowledge blind spots. I’d say if you do really well on the show up to $25,000, you’ll be in good shape.

  2. I think studying for the test is a waste of time - the questions are not that difficult and they are from all over. Just relax yourself, answer the questions you know quickly, and leave the ones you are puzzling over until the end.

  3. If you pass the test you’ll have a brief interview with a producer. (Before the test ensues they will ask you to fill out a personal info sheet. Give some thought to the questions - give interesting responses. It’s worth asking yourself, “Why would people be interested in me on this show?”) They’ll probably ask you about an interesting fact you wrote about, or ask you straight up, “What makes you interesting?” Be bubbly and engaged. (Of course it helps if that is your personality!)

  4. A second producer might talk to you as well. Same deal. I think it matters if you smile a lot. There is definitely a “likeability factor” they’re looking for. They are generally looking for people viewers want to see win a million bucks! If you’re at this point there isn’t a need to show how smart you are, just how interesting and fun you would be to root for.

On my tape day I found all of the contestants really nice people with great stories about themselves. If you can bring those stories I think you will do fine. Good luck!

There is a large Starbucks on the corner across Columbus Ave. from the studio. There are also big posters of current ABC shows on the mostly windowless blocky building.

When you exit the subway, walk north, away from Lincoln Center. If you see this building, you’re headed the wrong way!

The Starbucks is on 67th and Columbus, not 66th. There are several studio buildings in the neighborhood, and I think (this is off the top of my head so I’m not really sure) the one you’re thinking of is at 143 Columbus Ave.

D’oh! Didn’t know there was more than one ABC building in the vicinity.

Thanks everybody! You are all very helpful and considerate. Screw what everyone says about New Yorkers!

How did you do on the show???


OK, can I ask for more directions?

After WWTBAM, I think I might swing by Ground Zero.

So, can I please have directions from 66th St to Ground Zero, and then from Ground Zero back to Penn Station?

Take the 1 train downtown to Chambers (or switch from the 1 to the 2 or 3, whch are express trains, to the same station), and you’ll be at Chambers street and Church Street, about three blocks north of the WTC site. Walk downtown, facing traffic on Church Street to the corner of Vesey and Church. Can’t miss it. It’s directly opposite from St. Paul’s Chapel burial ground on Vesey and Church.

To get back to Penn Station, just take the 1,2, or 3 back north and get off at Penn Station.

When you are taking the 1 train downtown, you should get down to the subway by an entrance across Broadway from the one you came up out of. I think there is one just in front of Tower Records. (If you screw up, the staircase down at the 65th Street side fo the uptown platform will take you to a tunnel below the tracks from which you can get to the downtown platform.)

You can switch to the 2 or 3 express at Times Square (3 stops from 66th St.) If there’s a train across the platform or coming into the station, I would take it. If not, you are probably just as well to stay on the 1. You can also change at 14th Street, but you’ll gain less, so I’d just stay on the if you don’t switch at 42nd.

I’m not sure how much there is to see at Ground Zero, which at this point is really just a hole in the ground. However, if you’re there, you may want to go down into the PATH station, where you can see part of the excavation from a lower level.

Enjoy your trip.

Last time I went to Ground Zero (last summer?) there was a display next to the PATH station about the WTC, and commemorative plaques listing all those who were killed there. Very emotional. I recommend it - after your audition, HeyHomie.

Oh, to answer your question HeyHomie - I won $50,000. Not bad for a day’s work!