Greetings from the big apple! Well, we’ve been here a couple of weeks and I thought I’d fill you in on one of the most essential and enjoyable aspects of New York…transportation. Now there are so many ways to get around New York that anyone would be mad to suggest hiring a car around here. The streets are easy to understand, it’s a grid and the streets are in numerical order so when you look up the address of where you’re going you know exactly where to go and how far it is. Now onto the different ways you can get around:
Now, walking is by far the best way to get around New York; it’s easy, it’s cheap and the different districts are so close that it’s the best way to see the most of New York. Now Laura and I have been walking to college every day, which is a decent walk (7kms) so we’ve picked up a few tips for people who may be new to the city:
Keep right – breaking left when someone’s coming in the opposite direction is a habit you need to get out of.
Jaywalking is a way of life – If you want to get anywhere in an acceptable amount of time jaywalking is essential. Be prepared to be budged from behind even if the walking light isn’t green (they’re white in NYC). There’s a rhythm which you’ll learn, Laura has been a good at nudging me when it’s time to walk as well as holding me back when it’s time to not die.
Traffic Lights are a guide – Traffic signals are merely an indication of what traffic may do at this intersection at that point in time, not a guarantee. This is also true for car indicators, they mean NOTHING!
Most streets are one way – this actually makes the traffic in New York Flow and makes the whole jaywalking thing easier. Just make sure you’re looking the right way when you cross the street and keep an eye out for the few two-way streets that do exist.
Time Square is busy – now this may be obvious, but the closer you are to Times Square the busier the foot-traffic and unless you are going to Time Square avoid walking through it if you can. After a week you’ll walk through Times Square and think to yourself “Fuckin’ tourists”.
The crossing signals don’t make noise – You will probably figure this one out when you’re on your phone and look up and realise that you’ve missed your time to cross.
Zig-Zag is the best route – you will rarely find that you need to stop on a corner, unless you’re already on the street you need to be on you can always turn and cross at the adjacent crossing to keep moving, otherwise I’ll take a lot longer to get to where you’re going.
Citbikes are great! There is a system in New York similar to Europe and Melbourne where you can purchase a 24-hour hire on a bike from multiple racks around the city (only south of Central Park) for $7 and you can return it to any station. But the only issue with this is that you have to check the bike in every 30 mins at any station, so you need to know where the stations are and can’t travel too far away.
The subway is quick although walking is king. The best way for tourists to ride the subway is to go to a vending machine and get a “Metrocard” and buy either a weekly or monthly card that allows you to have unlimited travel for that period of time. Here are some tips for the subway:
The station you go down may be the wrong direction – you can’t just walk across a platform to go the opposite direction, in most cases you need to go back up to the street cross the road and go back down again.
The app Moovit is great – Moovit is great, it’s essentially TripView for New York but also includes walking directions via GPS, which is really helpful when finding exactly where your station is.
Be careful walking through turnstiles – it’s not uncommon for it not to read your Metrocard the first time and you end up with a sore crotch, wait for it to say go and there is no designated entry exit turnstiles, so just be aware of people coming in the opposite direction.
Taxis are the easiest way to get around, but although cheaper than Sydney, still the most expensive form of transportation. I understand how catching a cab can be difficult and intimidating, but it really is easy.
Getting lost? – As I said before Manhattan is a grid, so if its quite easy to tell when your cab driver is going the wrong direction.
Paying – every cab accepts card payment and has a screen in the back seat where it shows you the total amount and then select payment by card or cash. If it’s cash its done old school style where as if you select card it then takes you to a screen where you select how much you would like to tip and whether or not you want to tip an exact amount or a percentage of the total price and then you just pay by PayPass.
Finding a Cab – there are so many cabs, the best thing to do though is go to a corner where the traffic is heading in the direction you want to go, because as I said before most of the streets are one way. Remember if the light is on the cab is available, if its off there’s someone inside.. But be vigilant, people will steal your cab.
That’s pretty much it, we haven’t caught a bus, because we haven’t seen the need to really. But it’s a city where it’s all so familiar but different at the same time. In other interesting news we have seen a couple more shows that I’m yet to post my review but will do soon: The Realistic Joneses staring Toni Collette, Marisa Tomei, Michael C. Hall & Tracy Letts, as well as Cabaret Starring Michelle Williams and Alan Cumming.
Other Reviews I’ve done: