Many people dream of travelling to the Big Apple someday—not only is it a major transit hub, but it also opens hundreds of opportunities to get there. However, considering you’re not a local, New York’s transportation system might be the last thing you’ll understand.
Have fun at the famous Rockefeller Centre up close, walk through Central Park, and take your time window-shopping on Fifth Avenue—it’s nearly impossible to enjoy any of these without understanding transportation in New York. After all, despite already mentioning these activities, they’re only a fraction of what you can do at the Big Apple. Therefore, if you want to enjoy travelling in New York, getting a grasp on its transportation services must be your priority.
How To Get To New York
It’s so easy to get swept up in daydreaming about what you can do in New York. There’s Times Square, the ‘heart’ of the Big Apple, where the infamous ball drops to ring in the new year. And you can see the Statue of Liberty up close to appreciate its mass or view it from anywhere in the city. Or you could peer through the history of art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (or ‘Met’ for short). But before you go any further, learn how to get to New York first.
Stay on the ground without the hassle of draining your cash for fuel by riding a bus. Many bus companies are available from different states that offer a trip to New York, with Greyhound bus leading the charge. Even though it’ll take hours to get there, most bus companies offer services to make your wait much more comfortable. From having access to free Wi-Fi to onboard entertainment, these perks make the entire bus trip bearable.
Unlike travelling by plane or train, bus lines have regular departing times, regardless of the location. While this may sound ideal, it’s better to book a bus ahead of time. Otherwise, you’ll end up soldiering through the usual bustle. Fortunately, with how many bus companies there are, you can choose among them for their various perks before you go ahead and book one.
Compared to plane rides and taking the bus, travelling by train will take you just a little over three hours, depending on where you came from going to New York. Even when travelling from Amtrak DC to NYC, all you have to do is take the Amtrak Acela express train from Union Station to get to the Moynihan Train Hall at New York City’s Penn Station. And considering it’s still on the ground, these trains are connected to both cities. Hence, you can still enjoy some sightseeing as a preview of your experience at the Big Apple.
Driving to New York seems like a harrowing experience when you think about it. But if you have a set route, it should be smooth sailing. Ideally, your route must start with you taking l-95 North. From Washington, you’ll be passing through Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. And this way, you can enter New York by crossing the George Washington Bridge. However, if you’re going to Midtown, go through Lincoln Tunnel. For Downtown, it’s Holland Tunnel.
Although you’ll be eating through your budget because of the bridge access and toll gates, travelling to New York by car is advisable for families and pets. Considering the pace for how you travel falls in your hands, you’re free to take as many stops as you want to appreciate good food and all sorts of attractions along the road.
Since you’ll be high up in the air, it might take around an hour to reach New York when travelling by plane. However, that doesn’t include how long you’ll get to the airport or wait in line for a security clearance. Fortunately, you can choose three major airports: JFK International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and Newark Liberty International Airport. It means there’s always a flight entering or leaving the city.
How To Get Around New York
Now you’ve reached New York, and you might end up getting overwhelmed by the sights. As the Big Apple is bound to be busy every day, you need to keep up with the rest of the New Yorkers. Otherwise, you’ll get swept up by everyone else instead of taking your time enjoying what the city has to offer. One way to keep pace is by familiarising yourself with New York’s transportation system.
When someone asks you to imagine New York, you’re likely to envision busy streets chock-full of bustling crowds with people hailing yellow cabs left and right. Most New Yorkers prefer taxis to anything else because they’re the fastest mode of transportation in the city. After all, it’s no use settling with a slower option if you’re in a rush. However, just because it’s an easy choice doesn’t mean hailing a cab is as simple as that.
For those who aren’t familiar with cabs, remember that they’re yellow and only available if their light is on. If anything, other than yellow taxis offering you a ride, they’re likely a gypsy driver who isn’t registered with the city. The only exception to this principle is green taxis, which frequent upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs more.
Although they often get packed full, trains are your typical go-to if you want to go somewhere at a low price. But considering New York's size, travelling by train might confuse you, especially if you don’t know whether you’ll be going uptown or downtown. If that’s the case, ensure you have a navigation app to figure out where you’re going. Additionally, be aware if you’re on a local line or express train because local lines stop at all stations, while express trains are only limited to certain stations.
Like subways, riding a bus is another cheap transportation you must consider looking into. However, buses often don’t have any air conditioning units installed, and they travel slowly since traffic and accidents can happen on the road. Furthermore, they also get crowded during the day. But be that as it may, most locals prefer taking the bus rather than the subway since they can avoid walking through tunnels or heading underground via escalators.
If you want to travel between islands within New York, use this opportunity to take the ferry. Just a heads-up, unlike other modes of transportation, commuter ferries are often free of charge, while some still charge for tickets. NYC Ferry is a commuter ferry that travels the East River. Therefore, it’s free along with NY Waterway (also called Hudson River Ferry) and Staten Island Ferry.
Many are driven to travel there someday with how sought-after New York is. Fortunately, various options are available to get there as well as explore the city itself. This way, you could enjoy the trip at your own pace while seeing everything the Big Apple has to offer.