I was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx. I have worked in all five boroughs of New York City my entire life. I have been in New York for 60 years. To me, it’s the greatest city in the world. I can never see myself living anywhere else. I have left a couple of times, but I always come back. Those who live in the city will argue that we have the greatest of everything. The greatest restaurants, the greatest cafés, the greatest theaters, and of course the greatest amount of traffic that you’ve ever seen. We are proud, but maybe not proud of everything, especially the traffic that will drive you nuts.
Many people who live in the boroughs with the exception of Staten Island, don’t own cars because it’s pretty tough to have to deal with having to move your car every couple days due to alternate side-of-the-street parking rules. That’s a heads up to travelers who think they could find a spot on the street and leave it there for the entire week of vacation in New York City. If you do, your call will be towed away faster than you can say, Robert De Niro.
This article is for people who don’t live or work in New York City. If you do, you already know the best way to get around the city because it’s a matter of survival and trying to keep a certain degree of sanity. Additionally, the tips for getting around the city for a tourist are very different than for someone who works in the city every day for multiple reasons.
There are many ways to get around New York City with number one being the best, they are….
# 6 – Yellow Taxis
Most tourists who walk out of Penn Station or Grand Central Terminal for the first time in New York City will find themselves hailing a taxi or being greeted by a taxi driver looking for a fare. It’s not just New York City where we encounter these scenarios, it happens in Paris, Rome, Munich, and all major cities and transportation hubs. It’s hard making a living driving a yellow cab, and so these drivers need to make money. You don’t want them taking advantage of you, which sadly many of them will do.
There are also gypsy drivers who are not registered with the city that may swoop in on you offering you a ride for a great rate. Stay away from these guys. If you arrive in the city late at night, a yellow cab is probably your safest bet to get you to your hotel. They are all registered with the city. You will pay more than you should because they may make a few extra turns here and there to pad that fare, but late at night in the city, you just want to get to your hotel safely.
# 5 – The Subway
New York City has one of the biggest underground transit systems in the world. To utilize the MTA New York City subway system, you must purchase a Metro Card or set up the OMNY app on your phone. A one-way trip on a New York City subway train cost 2.75. It doesn’t matter how many stops or how far you go. You can ride the D train from Coney Island In Brooklyn through Manhattan and all the way to the Northern Bronx’s last stop at 205th Street and pay only 2.75. I wouldn’t recommend that trip for many reasons, but it does prove the argument that one can travel very far on a subway train for only 2.75.
Many people will ask if it’s safe to ride the subway. I have been riding them my entire life and I will tell you it’s all about being alert. Millions of people ride the subway without incident. It’s not the cleanest subway system in the world and you will see homeless people on the train, but you will also see young kids going to school, people going to work and all sorts of lives traveling these trains every day. Whatever you do, do not stand close to the tracks looking for the subway, you will hear it and feel it when it begins to pull into the station. Stay in the middle of the platform or even better stay by a staircase or newsstand. You will know when the subway arrives.
Riding the New York City subway system is an experience. The most effective aspect of the subway is that it can get you to any borough with the exception of Staten Island (which it does not serve) or around the city faster than any other form of transportation in New York.
# 4 – The Bus
We are talking about the MTA New York City Bus. We are not talking about the tourist buses that will rip you off times ten. The New York City Bus system charges the same rate of 2.75 per ride. However, you can’t get on a bus and try to pay with cash or coin. Those days are gone. You need a Metro Card or the OMNY app to board a bus. The OMNY app is still relatively new to New York City so we highly recommend you get a Metro Card. You can purchase Metro Cards at most Subway stations, pharmacies, supermarkets and check cashing stores also sell the Metro Card.
Many people who work and live in the city prefer the bus over the subway. There are those who feel the bus is a much safer form of transportation as you don’t have to walk through tunnels or long halls and down escalators underground to get on a bus. Nonetheless, the buses are not as frequent as subway trains and can get extremely crowded during the day. It all depends on the route. I will always take the subway over the bus because it’s quicker and more convenient. Busses do get stuck in traffic just like cars and taxis.
Like many other cities around the world, New York City does offer a discounted Metro Card for daily or monthly use. If you think you will be using the bus and subways heavily, it would be worthwhile to buy a daily or weekly pass which will save you a lot of money.
# 3 – CitiBike
If you don’t want to ride a form of transportation where someone else driving and you don’t want to use your own car, you can rent a bicycle at hundreds of stops throughout the city. Citibank sponsors the publicly rented bikes that are painted blue and have the Citibank logo attached to them. You need a credit card to rent the bike and release it from the stand it’s attached to. It’s all do it yourself. You don’t have to return the bike to its original spot, you can park it at any Citibike stand in the city. There are bike lanes that one can use all through Manhatten. Just be careful, because of Uber Eats and all the bicycle delivery drivers, New York City is starting to resemble Amsterdam.
# 2- Uber
Uber is for the most part my favorite choice of transportation in the city if I feel that money doesn’t matter. It’s amazing how fast you can get an Uber car to pick you up wherever you are and take you to wherever you need to go. Every time I have used an Uber in the city, a car usually picks me up within two or three minutes. It blows my mind. Yesterday I took an Uber from 70th Steet and York Avenue on the upper East of Manhattan all the way to Broadway and 22nd street. That’s a pretty far ride. For two people that ride cost me twenty-two dollars. It was worth every penny for how quick the pickup was and how comfortable the car was.
What is great about using Uber is you don’t get ripped off like you can in a Yellow Taxi and of course a gypsy driver. Uber tells you the rate up front and you don’t have to tip until you get out of the car. It’s as comfortable as it gets. Of course, it can add up, if you are doing it daily, but if you are a tourist in New York City, this is the way to do it.
# 1- Walking
If you’re going to explore Manhattan, there is no better way to do it than on foot. Of course, not everyone can physically walk for too long of a period of time, but if you can, walking around the city during the day is an awesome experience. You can find adventure on every block. From the best restaurants, pizza places, coffee shops, clothing stores, and so much more, you will never see as much as you can from public transportation as you will just walking around the city. That’s what I’m talking about!
In the end, the best way to get around the city would be to use a combination of Uber cars and walking, Take an Uber to go from uptown to downtown and work your way back on foot. If you get tired just take an Uber back. It doesn’t matter if you heading uptown downtown, across town, or just around town, Uber and your feet is the way to get around the city if you’re a tourist. Have fun and contact me here at the site if you have any questions about New York. Just leave a comment and I will get back to you right away.
Best Ways To Get Around New York City article published on BigCityReview.com© 2022
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