27 January 2014

Getting around New York

With almost all my New York posts done I thought I'd do a useful post to help you get around New York. Want to know how to get around Manhattan/New York, then keep reading. Keep in mind that this is by no means a comprehensive resource and you should always do your own research.

How to get around New York:

On foot
The best way to see any city, in my book, is on foot. Having said that though, Manhattan is massive, do not underestimate it and walking is best for sites near each other(eg lower Manhattan) and the different districts. When decided if you are going to walk somewhere keep in mind the city grid.

The city grid
Manhattan is laid out on a grid. Almost all the street names are numbers eg "42nd Street" which makes it easy to get your bearings. But you need to bear in mind that going north/south 5 blocks is going to take a lot longer than going East/West 5 blocks. Figure out where your going and then see if its best to walk or take a different mode of transport.

New York is full of the iconic yellow cabs. You will usually find one quite easily and can hail it from the kerb. They are cheap and make it easy to get to your destination with the least fuss. Unless you are travelling with a lot of people, ALWAYS get in the back. Most cabs have a monitor in the back for passengers that can be used to monitor the route your taking. Cabs re best used for short trips which would be too far to walk and have too many changes on the metro.

If you are confident to ride on Manhattan streets, you can hire a bike! There are loads of stations from Battery Park the southern edge of of Central Park. If you only ride in 30minute segments, it wont cost you anything - have a look at this for details.


Using the Metro System
The Metro is a cheap and efficient way to get around Manhattan. Get yourself a metro card, usually from ticket machines at any station, and load it with credit to use on the metro system and buses. Like most major cities the system relies on a number of lines that reach different destinations and New York has no less than 24 lines. Yes, 24 lines.

Ok this is where it can get confusing...
Not all lines stop at all stations. For example, on the map, the red lines (1, 2, 3) appear to pass through 28th Street and 7th Avenue but line 1 is the only line that stops there all the time, line 2 only stops at night and line 3 doesn't stop at all. This may mean that if you are trying to get somewhere but you need to change lines, you have to make sure that both lines stop at the "interchange" station. I did see some trains with screens showing where it would be stopping but cant be sure if this is available on all lines.

Better yet, do yourself a favour and download an app that will do all this for you and save yourself the hassle! The MTA recommends these apps.

Bear in mind that sometimes changing lines means that you may need to exit the station and re-enter. Depending on the situation, how you have paid or the station, you may be charged again for the trip. If your not sure, you can always ask at a ticket window.

How to get from JFK Airport to Manhattan
The cheapest way to get from JFK airport to Manhattan or vice versa is by Airtrain which connects to the metro system for $7.50 and takes, on average, around 50 minutes. A faster way (35 minutes) is to take the Air Train to Jamaica station and then the Long Island railroad to Penn station which will set you back 15.50.

Other options include taxis and shuttle services. Taxis charge a flat rate of $52 to Manhattan not including tolls or tips.

To see what suits you best, have a look at the options available on the Ground transport page of the JFK airport website.

Hope this has been useful and at least given you a starting point of reference for getting around New York.

Do you hae any tips for gettin around New York?

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