A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“I am rarely more focused on 5 seconds than when I’m waiting to skip an ad on the internet” (6/22)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/22)
“Coffee completes me” (6/22)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/22)
“Sometimes all you need is a billion dollars” (6/22)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from September 27, 2004
Never/Rarely (N/R subway lines)
The N/R subway lines are often called the "Never" and the "Rarely" because of infrequent service. The slang has been current since at least 1996.

The "R" line was nicknamed the "Norwegian-American line" in the early 20th century because it serviced Brooklyn's then-expanding Norwegian population.


Wikipedia: N (New York City Subway service)
The N Broadway Express is a service of the New York City Subway. It is colored yellow on the route sign (either on the front and/or side - depending on equipment used) and on station signs and the NYC Subway map, as it represents a service provided on the BMT Broadway Line through Manhattan.

The N service operates at all times from Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria, Queens, to Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn via the BMT Astoria Line, Broadway, and the Manhattan Bridge to and from Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, the N operates via Fourth Avenue and the BMT Sea Beach Line.

Wikipedia: R (New York City Subway service)
The R Broadway Local is a service of the New York City Subway. It is colored yellow on the route sign (either on the front and/or side - depending on equipment used) and on station signs and the NYC Subway map, as it represents a service provided on the BMT Broadway Line in Manhattan. Normal service is local from 71st Avenue in Forest Hills, Queens, to 95th Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn; during late nights it operates as a shuttle within Brooklyn from 36th Street to 95th Street. The R is one of only two services that have two or more stations with the same name (the other being the B); it serves two 36th Street stations (one in Queens on the IND Queens Boulevard Line and one in Brooklyn on the BMT Fourth Avenue Line). In addition, the R is the longest New York City Subway line without an elevated section, although there is a small opening between 59th Street and Bay Ridge Avenue in Brooklyn when the line passes over a valley containing the L.I.R.R. Bay Ridge tracks.

7 July 1996, New York Times, pg. CY7:
To Ms. Lui, the 45-minute ride in the back of a van packed with fellow Chinese-speaking New Yorkers is far more comfortable than a longer trek on the N or R subway lines - known among some Brooklynites as the Never and the Rarely.

Google Groups: nyc.transit
Newsgroups: nyc.transit
From: (Robert M. Forstner)
Date: 1996/07/31
Subject: Re: KK Line

Given the erratic (and that seems to be an understatement) behavior of the N and R (or "The Never and the Rarely", as they're known in Brooklyn), controlling the split/merge at Canal would be, ummm, interesting.

Google Groups: nyc.transit
Newsgroups: nyc.transit
From: (Michael549)
Date: 1996/08/01
Subject: Re: NYC Ferry Services

Even the "Never" and the "Rarely" (the N and R lines) have been known to completely defy all logic and help you to miss the boat.

Google Groups: nyc.transit
Newsgroups: nyc.transit
From: (Noel Crouper)
Date: 10 Aug 2002 11:00:08 -0700
Local: Sat, Aug 10 2002 2:00 pm
Subject: The ABC's of the subway

A - Ad infinitum
B - Brief
C - Corrugated
D - Damn Yankees
E - Entropy
F - Fixed route
G - Goes nowhere
J - Jalopy
L - Lofts
M - eMpty
N - Never
Q - Quick
R - Rarely
S - Several
V - Vilified
W - Whiskers
Z - Zero Useful

Obscure ramblings
11th-Aug-2006 10:28 am
Many of you out there may not have visited New York, or if you have done so, you may not have become intimately familiar with the New York City subway (a system for which sexual intimacy will clearly give you many, many foul diseases). One of the things that we are all quite used to is the nomenclature of the subway lines. We don’t use names for the lines, or even rely on pretty colors. We use numbers and letters. A through Z, 1-9, those are our subway lines.

Undoubtedly, this is a bit boring. I admire the flair of London Transport for having named a subway line “Bakerloo” (from Baker Street to Waterloo Station). It’s silly, but descriptive. Instead, in New York, we adopted the current almost mathematical system a few decades ago. There was an older convention in naming, which is forgotten by all but the most elderly and bitter subway workers. This is why you will sometimes hear useless non-instructive announcements like “Transfer here for the IRT trains.”

The what you say?

Anyway, it can be rather dull to use just the letter for your train (I always seem to live on “letter” lines as opposed to “number” lines). Therefore, city dwellers have adopted names for the lines based on their letter designation, and their performance characteristics.

For example:
N – “The Never Train”
R – “The Rarely Train”
F – “The Forever Train”
G – “The Gross Train”

Those are all lines I have lived on. For the last year I have been living on the L train. The L train has a singularly apt designation:
L – “The HELL Train”

New York (NY) Sun
Leaning Over Tracks Could Become a Thing of the Past
By ANNIE KARNI
Special to the Sun
January 15, 2007
(...)
That date is for the numbered lines; except for on the L, there is no plan to extend the notification signs to the lettered subway lines, whose nicknames — "Forever" for "F," "Never" for "N" and "Rarely" for "R" — indicate that such signs might just encourage riders to surface and walk or take a taxi.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityTransportation • Monday, September 27, 2004 • Permalink