New Yorkers aren’t exactly known for taking leisurely strolls, but leisurely subway riding? The concept is as foreign as ketchup on pizza. That’s why most city slickers will have no idea that the longest non-repeating subway route is 155 miles and includes over 54 transfers. Why should they? Who on Earth is ever going to take that ride?
Answer: FiveThirtyEight podcast host Jody Avirgan, who decided to actually brave the longest, non-repeating subway route earlier this week. His journey began in Wakefield (in the Bronx), and ended in Far Rockaway, Queens some 14 hours later.
The rules are simple: The computer gets one card swipe and unlimited transfers. It can repeatedly visit any station, as long as it doesn’t cover any stretch of the track twice.
When Avirgan heard tell of the 155 mile non-repeating route, he knew he had to try it. He discusses the experience during the Brian Lehrer Show on WYNC, and you’re at all considering following in his footsteps, it’s worth having a listen first. Rather than the romantic, reflection-filled journey Avirgan had imagined, riding the longest subway route was more like following a torturously confusing mess of instructions written by a vindictive third grader, punctuated by inexplicable delays and gross bathroom breaks.
The longest possible subway route, determined by sourcing over 200 billion possibilities. Via The WNYC Data News Team
Still, Avirgan did manage to get some good people-watching in (“43 attractive women, 41 good-looking guys, seven adorable old couples, countless lost tourists”), and his account of the journey on Twitter perfectly captures the weirdness of the smelly, crowded, bustling universe beneath the city that never sleeps.
New Yorkers, at least, ought to crack a smile at some of these.
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