Travel in NYC
NYC can be a daunting place. We’re aware of that. Luckily we are here to make sure your visit is as easy as possible. From tips and tricks to maneuvering the city, how to get around, and some GREAT deals for those traveling from out of state.
First of all, getting into the city from either LGA or JFK doesn’t have to be a hassle. While it may seem scary for first timers, you DON’T have to spend $75 on a taxi or an Uber to get you there! (however Uber is usually cheaper than a taxi). If you are traveling from LGA, the M60 bus will take you right into the city at 125th street, and attach you to either the A,C,B,D or 1 subway line. What better way to acclimate to the city than experiencing the subway? While it may take longer (up to an hour) the $2.75 price tag is MUCH easier to swallow. The Select bus service also has power outlets to charge your phone. Metrocards are sold right next to the airport, making it easy and convenient. From JFK, it’s even easier. You can take the airlink, which is a $5 ride, and then switch directly to the A train which is an express train heading into Manhattan. With stops along 8th Avenue, it connects almost ALL of midtown to the airport. Again, while you are looking at an hour ride, the $7.75 price tag means you’ll have extra money for something fun! (perhaps a tour??) You can also book a private guide to meet you at the airport and deliver you directly to your hotel!
If that sounds like way more of a hassle, then head on over to our partners page. We have a long list of airport shuttles, cars and services ready to get you into the city quickly and efficiently. From private cars, to shared rides, they are ready and waiting to make your experience as comfortable as possible.
Once you get into the city, the subway can be a scary mess, but never fear. We’ll try to break it down for you. Although actually getting into the subway and reading about it are two completely different animals, this may alleviate some stress! The Subway runs 24 hours, as do the buses. However the service does slow down and some lines stop running. There are certain trains that begin to run local (take the A for example. While express during the day, at night it runs local and makes EVERY stop). The East side runs the green line and yellow line, and the West side hosts the blue, orange and red line. There are places they intersect and in lower Manhattan all the rules go out the window. Most stations have been upgraded with a time board, letting you know exactly when the next train is coming. If your station hasn’t been upgraded, never fear. There is an app for that.
Subway rides are $2.75 a pop. If you are here for a lengthy amount of time, then you can do an unlimited pass, which lasts for a week. This also ends up being a cheaper version at $32, which is about 11 rides. You’d be surprised at how quick that goes. Unlike the Washington DC Metro, you pay for a ride regardless of how far you go. Two subway stops? The same price as if you went from Coney Island (the last stop on the D) to Inwood. (The last stop on the A.) By the way, both places are pretty cool experiences if you want to get out of the “city” for a while! The most frustrating thing about the subway is the lack of cross town connection. The Upper West to the Upper East do not connect by subway, but by bus. You always get a free transfer when doing so, but it still ends up being a little confusing. Most out of town guests avoid this. Best tip? Have your MetroCard handy or step off to the side. There is nothing worse than trying to catch a train and getting stuck behind someone digging for a card. This is where the “nasty New Yorkers” rep comes from.
Don’t be afraid to ask, either! Nothing could be further from the truth, and most New Yorkers are happy to help! We understand that the underground maze can be confusing. After ten years of living here, we STILL get turned around too.
This handy little video helps better explain our subway system and goes over the Do’s and Don’ts of subway etiquette in a humorous manner.
As a super quick reference, Port Authority Bus terminal connects to the A,C,E. Times Square hits the N,Q, R, W, 1,2,3,7. The 7 line also runs all the way out into Flushing. Think Citified for a Mets game, the US Open, or Corona Park. Penn Station is the 1,2,3,A,C,E. Brooklyn Bridge is the 6. South Ferry is the 1. Grand Central is the 4,5,6,7. Obviously, there are SO many more stops and connections and if you have the time, sometimes it’s fun to get off at a random station and just explore the neighborhood! (Don’t forget that’s EXACTLY what we do! Dive deeper into Manhattan through amazing walking tours!)
The A, C, E is the Blue Line and runs from Inwood to the Rockaways/JFK Airport. The B,D, F,M is the Orange. B and D run from Bronx to Coney Island. The F and M head into Queens and the Lower East Side. G train is a light green and only runs in Brooklyn. J is the brown line and runs in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. L is the grey line and runs from the west side crosstown into Brooklyn. N, Q, R, W is the yellow line and it runs the Upper East Side, Midtown and lower Manhattan. They break and run into Queens and Brooklyn as well. The 1,2,3 is the red line and runs partway into the Bronx, and down the west side where it splits into South Ferry and Brooklyn. The 4,5 6 is the green line and hits the Bronx down to the Brooklyn Bridge and then into Brooklyn. Each line has a local and an express train, and several local trains stop service after certain hours. Express trains switch local during late nights. There are plenty of places that crossover and transfer, and most are free, unless you go above ground. A lot of apps can be super useful, and always pay attention to announcements. Trains that typically don’t run local/express may switch up, due to unforeseen circumstances or track work.
One of NYC’s most fun ways to travel is waterway. While the Staten Island Ferry has been around since 1817, the city of New York did not obtain control until 1905. Today it is one of the best FREE ways to see the Statue of Liberty. It does not stop at Ellis Island though, those boats come from South Ferry and are separate entities. Like the subways and busses the Ferry runs 24/7, but there is a reduced schedule during late night hours. Our recently expanded NYC Ferry (which travels in the East River) has six routes traveling to lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. The fare is the same as a subway ride, but metrocards are no good here. Their app is the most convenient way to buy tickets and check schedules. Even without a destination in mind, the ferry is a great way to experience the city from a different angle. With a bar on board and some great photography opportunities, why not jump on and off for a few hours?
Another fun experience is the Roosevelt Island Tramcar. This aerial Tramcar also spans the East River, and connects Roosevelt Island to Manhattan. Located next to the Queensboro bridge on the EastSide (59th Street) This adorable little tram is the first commuter aerial tram in North America, and has been around since 1976. It does accept metrocards, and is also included in the free subway transfer. This small strip of land located in the East River is 2 miles in length and is more residental than anything. However, it plays a huge part in architectural history and has several significant buildings. It is well worth spending a few hours exploring, especially for some great photography.
Walking is how most New Yorkers get anywhere. This IS a city best seen on foot and there are plenty of people not used to that. As common as it is to jump in your car and run to the grocery store, it is as UNCOMMON for New Yorkers to do so. We spend a lot of time pounding the pavement, so make sure that your packing list includes very comfortable walking shoes. The last thing you want to worry about is blisters! There are plenty of walking tours around the city (we highly recommend ours!) and walking is a great way to get the chance to get a feel for the city. Take the time to explore many of the neighborhoods, visit some local businesses, and just pop in nooks and crannies and see what you discover.New York also has a great many bridges and tunnels that connect to the city and its outer boroughs. There are 16 alone that connect directly to Manhattan, and several of these are walkable! Some of our favorites are the Brooklyn Bridge (which leads into the city of DUMBO-Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and includes Brooklyn Bridge park. This little area is GREAT for exploring and also includes Grimaldi’s pizza. Be on the lookout for Mickey Mouse, and if you see him, let us know! Be careful of bikers on the bridge. They come across as rude, however many do not follow the rules of the road, and often end up getting hit. Our favorite is the Queensboro Bridge and if you are in the area you can also ride the tram! The RFK Bridge is lovely, as is the George Washington. GW heads into Fort Lee NJ, while RFK into Queens.
Traveling through the city with a personal guide is the best way to learn how to get around, and experience Manhattan in all its glory. There are so many cool places hidden in the city. Keep following @nycstreetseatsandtreats on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and be sure to contact us should you have any questions. Don’t forget to visit our partners for great deals!