Above: Photo of a stairway to the J line, taken on June 19, 2005.
Last night I took the L line train home and I was struck by how much different it was in terms of the demographic than the J line, which is my usual ride.
* The age range on the L train is very young, say 18 to 30 for he most part. On average I may spot about one family with a kid on the L line, as where on the J line you could see three to four families on a train. On the J line about 30% of the train would be 18 to 30, but you'll also see people who are much older - and more high school aged kids as well.
* The J line is much more blue collar. It's not to say that the entire train is working class, but the L line is very white collar and much more upscale. You can even see this in the technology that people have - both trains are crammed with cell phone users (although you'll see people using their phones more on the J line as it goes over the Williamsburg bridge), but on the L line you'll see many more people with iPods while on the J line some people have CD players.
* This isn't to say that there aren't hipsters on the J line about a 25% of the people I see fall into this group. However they are much more hard core than the L line hipsters. On the L line I see quite a few "tourist hipsters", people in from Europe or Japan who while dressing on the fun side, tend to dress a bit more cute. The J line hipsters have more of a punk look to them - it seems more real and less of an act.
* On the L line I have to get off on the 2nd stop (Lorimer), so I've always noticed how much you can see the demographics of the train changes once the first wave of people get off at Bedford. The Bedford folks are even much more upscale and cute trendy than the people who stay on for the next few stops.
* The L line is much more crammed than the J line. I took a train at 11pm and it was packed wall to wall with people standing - if that was the J line the main thing might be if you could get a seat or not. It's only a matter of time until they need to start running express trains between Bedford and Union Square.
NYC Blogs on the J Line:
NYC Blogs on the L Line: