Are we there yet? How to get around NYC

New York Travel Blog

 › entry 8 of 16 › view all entries
When arriving in New York City, it’s easy to be immediately overwhelmed by the abundance of transportation options readily available for your use, especially when every transit vendor is urging you to take his advice or offering you so-called “special rates.” I've broken it down for you, so next time you’re stuck thinking “Bus? Taxi? No, definitely subway. Hmm.” you won’t be left in a bind.

SUBWAY: It may not be the cleanest metro system in the world (if you’re OCD on the germ front, definitely keep a bottle of anti-bacterial sanitizer handy), but it gets you where you need to go in a (relatively) timely and (subjectively) cheap manner. At just $2 a ride (good for one bus transfer over a two-hour period), you can nip on down to Battery Park or hightail it up, up, up to Harlem in no time at all. The  best thing about New York’s subway system is its extensive web-like routes: It covers nearly every corner of Manhattan and good portions of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, as well. The drawback: there is no set timetable, so depending on when you arrive at the station, you could be waiting 15 seconds or 15 minutes to the next train.

If you’re arriving at JFK, you can take the AirTrain to Jamaica station and, from there, hop one of the Manhattan- and Brooklyn-bound trains to your final destination. Or rather pick up the A train at Howard Beach, which deposits  you directly at Penn Station. Both are $7 one way. If you’re coming westward from Newark, you can also hop the AirTrain to Penn for $11. LaGuardia is not well-connected to the city by subway (though you can take a bus from the airport to a subway that will deliver you to town), so if arriving here, we suggest finding an alternative route.

TAXI: A flat fee of $45 from JFK and Newark to anywhere in Manhattan, if you’re traveling with a crew, this is likely to be your best budget option. From LaGuardia, there is no set rate via taxi, though it’s cheaper when traveling into the city than from the other airports thanks to its close proximity (depending on where in Manhattan you’re going, you could pay as little as $18). Ask to travel the 59th Street Bridge route to avoid added tolls.

If you’re just cruising around the city, you’ll pay $2.50 as a base and $0.40 for every additional fifth of a mile (a $0.50 surcharge is tacked on between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., and a peak-hour fee of $1.00 is added between 4 and 8 p.m. on weekdays). Just don’t forget: It’s customary to tip at least 10 percent.

BUS: Perhaps the easiest way, albeit not necessarily the quickest, each avenue boasts at least one major bus line that covers it length, while crosstown buses can be found every five to 10 blocks. The same cost as the subway, $2 (the NYC metro card can be used interchangeably for the two modes of transportation), the bus is perhaps the most reliable method of getting where you need to go. A bus-to-subway transfer is free within two hours of using your ticket.

From LaGuardia, you can hop a bus to either Queens, the Upper East Side or the Upper West side, and catch a connecting bus or train to wherever it is you’re going.

SHUTTLE: If you’re too cheap to pony up for a cab but still above taking the subway, book one of the airport-to-city shuttle services. My favorite is Super Shuttle: For a flat fee of $21 from JFK and Newark or $16 from Laguardia, you can enjoy door-to-door service.

CAR: With a dominating percentage of Manhattan traffic big yellow cabs and fancier limo rentals, you won’t find a ton of rental cars cruising the city. And they’re really not necessary either, unless you’re planning on touring more of New England, as your transportation options are many, and parking is both costly and close to impossible to find.

OTHER: Cycling in the city is not advised, as traffic is excessive and there are no lanes for bikers. You can, however, peddle around Central Park in a rental that can be found at various points around the park (prices vary). Pedi-cabs are a scenic way of traveling Manhattan, though they don’t really get you anywhere fast and cost $1-$2 per block. Horse and carriages abound in and around the park and typically go for $30-$50 per leisurely half hour, depending on your negotiating skills. You can find them parked all along the park’s south border on any given day.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
New York
photo by: herman_munster