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Record Subway Rides

Beginning with Herman Rinke in 1940, more than 70 others have ridden the entire system.  They are recorded in an unofficial file in the MTA Public Relations Department and below are some stories we pieced together.

Please click on the name of each person to find out more about their journey


Herman Rinke - May 30, 1940

25 hours

Two days before the IRT, BMT and IND were unified in 1940, Herman Rinke, an electric-railroad buff, became the first person to tour the entire system on a single 5-cent fare, doing it purely as a "sentimental gesture."  Rinke rode the system for some 25 hours that day.  Since then, more than 70 others - recorded in an unofficial file at the TA Public Relations Department - have ridden the entire system.


Jerome Moses - 1957

25 hours, 36 minutes

NYC Subway maps circa 1960 included the following fact on the back of them, "A Flushing youth, who wanted his money's worth, rode all lines of the subway on a single token.  With doubling back as needed, the trip totaled over 400 miles - more than the train journey from New York to Pittsburgh."  That youth was Jerome Moses who was immortalized, even though he was not the first to travel the whole system.


Geoffrey Arnold - 1963

24 hours, 56 minutes

In 1963, Geoffrey Arnold set a record of 24 hours and 56 minutes.  Three years later, while a student at Harvard, Arnold worked with the MIT group led by Peter Samson to develop a set of rules which Samson then prevailed upon the Transit Authority to take as gospel.  These rules delineated three different categories of record attempts for (A) Covering all Lines, (B) Touching all Stations and (C) Passing all Stations.


Peter Samson - March 31, 1966 

25 hours, 57 minutes, 20 seconds

In 1966, inspired by the "Flushing Youth," MIT student Peter Samson cured spring break boredom by using the computer in the Artificial Intelligence lab to determine the optimal route through the system.  He completed the first ride with George Mitchell, Andy Jennings, Jeff Dwork, Dave Anderson and Dick Gruen.  On April 19, 1967 they made a second attempt and improved by only 7 minutes. 


James Law - August 3, 1967

22 hours, 11 minutes

James Law and six high school buddies rode the entire system in 22 hours, 11 minutes, a time that was reportedly cited at one point in time in the Guinness Book of World Records.  No further information was found regarding this ride.


Eliot Shulman - December, 1968

exact time unknown

Eliot Shulman, Steven Scofield, Richard Spivack, Lawrence Danziger and Ray Marzoll, stopped at every station in December 1968.  Reviewing their schedule it appears their target was about 26 hours, and they said they beat their tentative time by an hour and beat the existing record by over an hour and a half. They submitted their record to the NYC Transit Authority, for verification, and then to MIT.  


Rich Temple, Phil Vanner, and Tom Murphy - December 12-13, 1988

29 hours, 47 minutes

This group set the Guinness World Record and were featured in the 1990 edition of the book (published Oct 1, 1989).  As part of their ride, they celebrated the opening of three new stops in Queens and the inauguration of the Z rush hour train that ran along the J tracks.  They began their trip at those new stops, which probably cost them 45 minutes, because they had to do the run out to the Rockaways twice.


Kevin Foster - October 25, 1989

26 hours, 21 minutes, 8 seconds

Searching for a diversion while training to become the first person to bicycle the entire length of The Great Wall in China, Kevin Foster opened up the Guinness Book of World Records to find another challenge.  He decided that to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the New York subway system he would spend 85 consecutive hours on the subway, during which he broke the record for stopping at every station.


Michael Falsetta and Salvatore Babones - January 1998

25 hours, 11 minutes

Instinct, not planning, worked for Michael Falsetta and Salvatore Babones who say their only preparation for their 1998 record run was a lifetime of riding the trains.  They followed the guidelines that you must ride past all stations, but not stop at every one. They also did not leave the system over the course of their ride. 


Jenni Marquiss and Max Jacobs - November 10-11, 2002

31+ hours

In a ride that was designed as a short film documentary by the group Flite Risk Films, this pair stopped at every station in over 31 hours....well actually if you watch the film you'll see the Max threw in the towel several hours before the end.  We're not sure why the camera man wasn't recognized for completing the ride.


Rich Green and Mike Fields - July 25-26, 2005

24 hours, 59 minutes, 52 seconds

Rich has completed a full system ride three times and topped the Class C record of Falsetta and Babones, though there was no media coverage to recognize this feat.  His first trip took over 28 hours, and the second was 26 hours.  His next goal is to do a class A trip: riding the entire right of way rather than stopping at every station.


Matt Green and Don Badaczewski - August 23, 2006

24 hours, 2 minutes

Matt and Don met at the University of Virginia where they embarked on such challenges as eating 16 tacos and then running a mile barefoot.  They spent five months pouring over subway maps to find the route with the fewest transfers and then  fine-tuned their strategy for service advisories the day of their attempt.


 

Other Subway Challenges


Dan Herman - January 2, 2008

7 hours, 38 minutes, 57 seconds

One-Stop Challenge - At Least One Stop on Each Line

A bit less demanding than a 24 hour tour of subway stations, the One-Stop Challenge entails riding at least one stop on all 26 lines (including all 3 shuttles), in the shortest possible time.  Dan's took one restroom break early in the journey at the 42nd Street-Bryant Park station, and there was one 'out-of-system' free transfer used. 


 

Great Feats in Transportation History

Please click on the name of each pioneer to find out more about their journey

 

Juan Sebastián Elcano in the Victoria

First Marine Circumnavigation of the World

September 6, 1522

Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain

3 years, 27 days

 

 

Maj. Frederick Martin in the Chicago and the New Orleans

First Aerial Circumnavigation of the World

September 28, 1924

Seattle, Washington, USA

175 days

 

 

Hugo Eckener in the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin 

First Airship Circumnavigation of the World

August 29, 1929

Lakehurst, New Jersey, USA

21 days

 

 

Herman Rinke in the NYC Subway

Toured the entire system on a single 5-cent fare

May 30, 1940

New York, New York, USA

25 hours