Transit - Not For Tourists Guide to New York City - Not For Tourists

Not For Tourists Guide to New York City - Not For Tourists (2016)


Transit ✵ JFK Airport



General Information


JFK Expy Jamaica, NY 11430



Lost & Found:

718-244-4225 or



AirTrain Phone:


Ground Transportation:

800-AIR-RIDE (247-7433)

Long Island Rail Road:

Port Authority Police:





Ah, JFK. It’s long been a nemesis to Manhattanites due to the fact that it’s the farthest of the three airports from the city. Nonetheless, more than 49 million people go through JFK every year. A $9.5 billion expansion and modernization program is transforming the airport, with JetBlue taking about $900 million of that for its gigantic, 26-gate, new HQ to address the ten million of you who, in spite of JFK’s distance, wake up an hour earlier to save a buck.

JetBlue’s Terminal 5 rises just behind the landmark TWA building, which you should check out if you have time to kill after getting up an hour earlier. Its bubblicious curves make this 1960s gem a glam spaceship aptly prepared to handle any swanky NY soiree. Top that, Newark.

Rental Cars (On-Airport)

The rental car offices are all located along the Van Wyck Expressway near the entrance to the airport. Just follow the signs.

Avis: 718-244-5406 or 800-230-4898

Budget: 718-656-1890 or 800-527-0700

Dollar: 800-800-4000

Enterprise: 718-553-7013 or 800-736-8222

Hertz: 718-656-7600 or 800-654-3131

National: 718-632-8300 or 888-826-6890

Car Services, Shared Rides & Taxis

All County Express: 800-914-4223

Connecticut Limousine: 203-974-4700 or 800-472-5466

Westchester Express: 914-332-0090 or 866-914-6800

Super Shuttle Long Island: 800-742-9824

Super Shuttle Manhattan: 212-BLUE-VAN or 800-258-3826

Dial 7 Car & Limo Service: 212-777-7777 or 800-777-8888

Super Saver by Carmel: 866-666-6666

ExecuCar: 800-253-1443

Taxis from the airport to anywhere in Manhattan cost a flat $52 + tolls and tip, while fares to the airport are metered + tolls and tip. The SuperShuttle (800-258-3826) will drop you anywhere in Manhattan, including all hotels, for $20-$30, but be warned it could end up taking a while, depending on where your fellow passengers are going. Nevertheless, it’s a good option if you want door-to-door service and have a lot of time to kill, but not a lot of cash.

Transit ✵ JFK Airport


How to Get There—Driving

You can take the lovely and scenic Belt Parkway straight to JFK, as long as it’s not rush hour. The Belt Parkway route is about 30 miles long, even though JFK is only 15 or so miles from Manhattan. You can access the Belt by taking the Hugh L. Cary Tunnel to the Gowanus (the best route) or by taking the Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Williamsburg Bridges to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to the Gowanus. If you’re sick of stop-and-go highway traffic and prefer using local roads, take Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and drive east until you hit Conduit Avenue. Follow this straight to JFK—it’s direct and fairly simple. You can get to Atlantic Avenue from any of the three downtown bridges (look at one of our maps first!). From midtown, you can take the Queens-Midtown Tunnel to the Long Island Expressway to the Van Wyck Expressway South (there’s never much traffic on the LIE, of course…). From uptown, you can take the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge to the Grand Central Parkway to the Van Wyck Expressway S. Tune into 1630AM for general airport information en route to your next flight. It might save you a headache.

How to Get There—Mass Transit

This is your chance to finish War and Peace. A one-seat connection to the airport—any of them—is still a far-off dream, but the AirTrain works fairly well. AirTrain runs 24 hours a day between JFK and two off-site stations, one connecting with the A train at Howard Beach and the other connecting with the E, J, and Z trains at the Sutphin/Archer Ave-Jamaica Station stop. The ride takes around 15-25 minutes, depending on which airport terminal you need.

A one-way ride on the AirTrain is $5, so a ride on the subway and then hopping the AirTrain will cost $7.75 combined. If you’re anywhere near Penn Station and your time is valuable, the LIRR to Jamaica will cost you $10 during peak times ($7.25 off-peak and $4.25 on weekends using a MTA CityTicket). The AirTrain portion of the trip will still cost you an additional $5 and round out your travel time to less than an hour.

If you want to give your MetroCard a workout, and ridiculously long bus journeys don’t make you completely insane—or if you’re just a connoisseur of mass transit—you can also take the E or F train to the Turnpike/Kew Gardens stop and transfer to the Q10 bus. Another option is the 3 train to New Lots Avenue, where you can transfer to the B15 bus to JFK. The easiest and most direct option is to take a NYC Airporter bus (718-777-5111) from either Grand Central Station, Penn Station, or the Port Authority for $16. Since the buses travel on service roads, Friday afternoon is not an advisable time to try them out.


Daily rates for the Central Terminal Area lots cost $4 for the first half-hour, $8 for up to one hour, $4 for every half-hour after that, up to $33 per 24-hour period. Long-term parking costs $18 for the first 24-hours, then $6 in each 8-hour increment thereafter. The Port Authority website features real-time updates on parking availability, showing what percent of each lot is occupied. Online reservations are available for $5, and EZ-Pass holders can use the tag to pay for parking.

Transit ✵ LaGuardia Airport




Air Canada:

Terminal B - Concourse A

Air Tran:

Terminal B - Concourse B


Terminal B - Concourse D

American Eagle:

Terminal B - Concourse C


Terminals C and D

Delta Connection:

Terminal D

Delta Shuttle:

Terminal A


Terminal B - Concourse B


Terminal B - Concourses A and B


Terminal B - Concourse B


Terminal B - Concourse B


Terminal B - Concourses A and C

United Express:

Terminal B - Concourses A and C

US Airways:

Terminal C

US Airways Express:

Terminal C

US Airways Shuttle:

Terminal C


Terminal C

General Information


LaGuardia Airport, Flushing, NY 11371



Lost & Found:



Ground Transportation:

800-AIR-RIDE (247-7433)






The reason to fly from LaGuardia (affectionately known as LGA on your baggage tags) is that it is geographically the closest airport to Manhattan and thus a cheap(er) cab ride when your delayed flight touches down at 1 in the morning. The reason not to fly to and from here is that there is no rail link and the check-in areas are just too darn small to accommodate the many passengers and their many bags that crowd the terminals at just about every hour of the day. Food has gotten better, but it is still not a great option, so eat before you leave home.

How to Get There—Driving

LaGuardia is mere inches away from Grand Central Parkway, which can be reached from both the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) or from the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. From Lower Manhattan, take the Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Williamsburg Bridges to the BQE to Grand Central Parkway E. From Midtown Manhattan, take FDR Drive to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge to Grand Central. For a toll-free alternative, take the 59th Street Bridge to 21st Street in Queens. Once you’re heading north on 21st Street, you can make a right on Astoria Boulevard and follow it all the way to 94th Street, where you can make a left and drive straight into LaGuardia. This alternate route is good if the FDR and/or the BQE is jammed, although that probably means that the 59th Street Bridge won’t be much better.

How to Get There—Mass Transit

Alas, no subway line goes directly to LaGuardia. The closest the subway comes is the 7-E-F-M-R Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street stop in Queens where you can transfer to the Q70 limited-stop bus which gets you to LaGuardia in 8-10 minutes. Another option is the M60 bus, which runs across 125th Street and the RFK Bridge to the airport, connecting with the N and Q at Astoria Blvd. You could also pay the extra few bucks and ride the NYC Airporter bus ($13 one-way, 718-777-5111) from Grand Central, departing every 30 minutes and taking approximately 45 minutes. Also catch it at Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The SuperShuttle (800-258-3826) will drop you anywhere in Manhattan, including all hotels, for $20-$30.

How to Get There—Really

Taxis to Manhattan run between $25-$37 depending on your final destination, and there is no flat rate from LaGuardia. If you want a taxi, search for the “hidden” cab line tucked around Terminal D as the line is almost always shorter than the others. Alternatively, plan ahead and call a car service to guarantee that you won’t spend the morning of your flight fighting for a taxi. Nothing beats door to door service. All County Express: 800-914-4223; Connecticut Limousine: 203-974-4700 or 800-472-5466; Westchester Express: 914-332-0090 or 866-914-6800; Dial 7 Car & Limo Service: 212-777-7777 or 800-777-8888; Super Saver by Carmel: 866-666-6666; ExecuCar: 800-253-1443.


Daily parking rates at LaGuardia cost $4 for the first half-hour, $8 for up to one hour, $4 for every hour thereafter, up to $33 per 24-hour period. Long-term parking is $33 per day for the first two 24-hour periods, and $6 for each subsequent 8 hour period. (though only in Lot 3). The Port Authority website features real-time updates on parking availability, showing what percent of each lot is occupied. Online reservations are available for $5, and EZ-Pass holders can use the tag to pay for parking.

Several off-site parking lots serve LaGuardia, including LaGuardia Plaza Hotel (104-04 Ditmars Blvd, 718-457-6300 x295), Clarion Airport Parking (Ditmars Blvd & 94th St, 718-335-2423) and The Parking Spot (23rd Ave & 90th St, 718-507-8162). Each runs its own shuttle from the lots, and they usually charge $14-$25 per day. If all the parking garages onsite are full, follow the “P” signs to the airport exit and park in one of the off-airport locations.

Rental Cars

1 Avis ✵ LGA

718-507-3600 or 800-230-4898

2 Budget ✵ 83-34 23rd Ave

718 639-6400

3 Dollar ✵ 95-05 25th Ave


4 Enterprise ✵ 104-04 Ditmars Blvd

718-457-2900 or 800-736-8222

5 Hertz ✵ LGA;

718-478-5300 or 800-654-3131

6 National ✵ Ditmars Blvd & 95th St

718-429-5893 or 888-826-6890

Transit ✵ Newark Liberty Airport




Air Canada


Air India


Alaska Airlines




American Eagle




British Airways


Cathay Pacific




El Al




Jet Airways


Jet Blue






Porter Airlines








TAP Portugal



C (some int’l flights arrive Terminal B)

United Express

A & C

US Airways


US Airways Express


Virgin America


Virgin Atlantic


General Information

Address: 10 Toler Pl, Newark, NJ 07114

Phone: 973-961-6000

Lost & Found:



Ground Transportation: 800-AIR-RIDE (247-7533)

Twitter: @NY_NJairports


Newark Airport is easily the nicest of the three major metropolitan airports. The monorail that connects the terminals and the parking lots, the AirTrain link from Penn Station, and the diverse food court (in Terminal C), make it the city’s preferred point of departure and arrival. There are also plenty of international departures, making it a great second option to the miserable experience of doing JFK.

If your flight gets delayed or you find yourself with time on your hands, check out the d-parture Spa to unwind (Terminal C), or, if you’re feeling carnivorous after your screaming match with airline personnel, Gallagher’s Steakhouse (Terminal C).

How to Get There—Driving

The route to Newark Airport is easy—just take the Holland Tunnel or the Lincoln Tunnel to the New Jersey Turnpike South. You can use either Exit 14 or Exit 13A. If you want a cheaper and slightly more scenic (from an industrial standpoint) drive, follow signs for the Pulaski Skyway once you exit the Holland Tunnel. It’s free, it’s one of the coolest bridges in America, and it leads you to the airport just fine. If possible, check a traffic report before leaving Manhattan—sometimes there are viciously long tie-ups, especially at the Holland Tunnel. It’s always worth it to see which outbound tunnel has the shortest wait. Tune into 530 AM for information as you arrive or leave the airport.

How to Get There-Mass Transit

If you’re allergic to traffic, try taking the AirTrain service to and from the Newark Liberty International Airport station on the main Northeast Corridor line into and out of Penn Station. Both Amtrak long-haul trains and NJ Transit commuter trains serve the stop, which is between Newark and Elizabeth. NJ Transit to Penn Station costs $12.50 one way (price includes the $5.50 AirTrain ticket) and takes about 30 minutes. You can also transfer to PATH trains at Newark Penn Station (confusing, we know) to Lower Manhattan. If you use NJ Transit from Penn Station, choose a train that runs on the Northeast Corridor or North Jersey Coast Line with a scheduled stop for Newark Airport, designated with the “EWR” code. If you use Amtrak, choose a train that runs on the Northeast Corridor Line with a scheduled stop for Newark Airport. The cheapest option is to take the PATH train ($2.50) to Newark Penn Station then switch to NJ Transit bus #62 ($1.50), which hits all the terminals. Why you’re skimping on bus fare when you’re paying hundreds of dollars to fly is beyond us, however. You can also catch direct buses departing from Port Authority Bus Terminal (with the advantage of a bus-only lane running right out of the station and into the Lincoln Tunnel), Grand Central Terminal, and Penn Station (the New York version—confusing, we know) on the Newark Airport Express Bus for $16 ($28 round trip).

How to Get There-Car Services

Car services are always the simplest option, although they’re a bit more expensive for Newark Airport than they are for LaGuardia—expect $50 or more and know you’re getting a fair deal for anything under that. Carmel Super Saver (800-924-9954 or 212-666-6666), Dial 7 Car & Limo Service (800-222-9888 or 212-777-7777), and All County Express (800-914-4223 or 516-285-1300) serve all five boroughs. Super Shuttle Manhattan (800-258-3826 or 212-258-3826) and Airlink New York (877-599-8200 or 212-812-9000) serve Manhattan. There are taxis from Newark that charge $40-50 to Hudson County and $50-70 to Manhattan. Yellow cabs from Manhattan are metered fares with a surcharge of $17.50; all tolls to and from the airport are the responsibility of the passenger.


Short-term parking directly across from the terminals is $4 for the first half-hour, $8 up to one hour, and $4 for each half-hour increment up to $33 per 24-hour period. Daily lots have the same rates, except up to $24 per day for the P1 and P3 lots, and $27 per day for the P4 garage. The P6 long-term parking lot is served by a 24-hour shuttle bus leaving the lot every 10 minutes and costs $18 for the first 24 hours and $6 for each 8-hour period or part thereafter. High rollers opt for valet parking at lot P4, which costs $40 per day and $20 for each additional 12 hours. There are some off-airport lots that sometimes run under $10 per day. Most of them are on the local southbound drag of Route 1 & 9. The Port Authority website features real-time updates on parking availability, showing what percent of each lot is occupied. Online reservations are available for $5, and EZ-Pass holders can use the tag to pay for parking.

Rental Cars

Use free AirTrain link to reach rental car counters. Avis, Enterprise, Hertz, and National are located at Station P3. Alamo, Budget, and Dollar are at Station P2.

Alamo: 973-849-4315 or 877-222-9075

Avis: 973-961-4300 or 800-230-4898

Budget: 800-527-0700

Dollar: 800-800-4000

Hertz: 973-621-2000 or 800-654-3131

National: 973-849-2060 or 888 826-6890

Enterprise: 973-792-0312 or 800-736-8222

Transit ✵ Bridges & Tunnels


General Information

Port Authority of NY and NJ: or @PANYNJ

DOT: or 311 or @NYC_DOT

MTA: or @MTA


General Information:


Since NYC is an archipelago, it’s no wonder there are so many bridges and four major tunnels. Most of the bridges listed in the chart below are considered landmarks, either for their sheer beauty or because they were the first of their kind at one time. The traffic-jammed Holland Tunnel, finished in 1927, was the first vehicular tunnel connecting New Jersey and New York. King’s Bridge, built between Manhattan and the Bronx in 1693, was sadly demolished in 1917. Highbridge, the oldest existing bridge in NYC (completed 1848), is scheduled to reopen to pedestrians in the near future. Brooklyn Bridge, built in 1883, is the city’s oldest functioning bridge, still open to vehicles and pedestrians alike, and is considered one of the most beautiful bridges ever built.

The ‘70s was a decade of neglect for city bridges. Inspections in the ‘80s and maintenance and refurbishment plans in the ‘90s/’00s have made the bridges stronger and safer than ever before. On certain holidays when the weather permits, the world’s largest free-flying American flag flies from the upper arch of the New Jersey tower on the George Washington Bridge. The Williamsburg Bridge has been completely rebuilt and is almost unrecognizable from its pre-renovation form, especially the pedestrian pathways. The Triborough has been renamed the “RFK” Bridge, and the Queensboro is now officially called Ed Koch Queensboro, just to confuse everyone immensely.


Transit ✵ Ferries, Marinas, & Heliports


Ferries/Boat Tours, Rentals & Charters

Staten Island Ferry: 311;

This free ferry travels between Battery Park and St. George, Staten Island. On weekdays it leaves every 15-30 minutes 5 am-12:30 am and every hour at other times. On Saturday, it leaves every half-hour 6 am-7 pm and every hour at other times. On Sunday, it leaves every half-hour 9 am-7 pm and every hour at other times.

NY Waterway: 800-53-FERRY; or @ridetheferry

The largest ferry service in NY, NYWaterway offers many commuter routes along the Hudson River to and from New Jersey and points north, and a route to Belford in Monmouth County. Their East River Ferry (, @eastriverferry) shuttles folks between Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Brooklyn Bridge Park to and from 34th Street and Pier 11 in Manhattan.

NY Water Taxi: 212-742-1969; or @nywatertaxi

Available mostly for sightseeing, specialty cruises, and charter rides, NY Water Taxi also runs the popular IKEA shuttle to Red Hook.

Sea Streak: 800-BOAT-RIDE (262-8743); or @SeaStreakFerry

High-speed catamarans that travel from Atlantic Highlands, NJ to Pier 11/Wall Street in 40 minutes, with connecting service to Midtown at E 35th Street.

Circle Line: 212-563-3200; or @CircleLine42NYC

Sightseeing Cruises Circle Line offers many sightseeing tours, including their iconic circle around the island of Manhattan that takes it all in over the course of a 2.5 hour journey.

Spirit of New York: 866-433-9283;

Offers lunch and dinner cruises. Prices start around $50. Leaves from Chelsea Piers, over toward the Statue of Liberty and up the East River to the Williamsburg Bridge. Make a reservation at least one week in advance, but the earlier the better.

Loeb Boathouse: 212-517-2233;

You can rent rowboats from April through November at the Lake in Central Park, open seven days a week, weather permitting. Boat rentals cost $15 for the first hour and $3 for every additional 15 minutes (rentals also require a $20 cash deposit). The boathouse is open 10 am-6 pm. Up to four people per boat. No reservations needed.

World Yacht Cruises: 212-630-8100 or 800-498-4270; or @WorldYacht

These fancy, three-hour dinner cruises start at $105 per person. The cruises depart from Pier 81 (41st Street) and require reservations. The cruise boards at 6 pm, sails at 7 pm, and returns at 10 pm. There’s also a Sunday brunch cruise April-October that starts at $50 per person.

Marinas/Passenger Ship Terminal

MarineMax Manhattan: 212-336-7873; or @MarineMax; Map 8

Dockage at Chelsea Piers. They offer daily, weekly, and seasonal per-foot rates (there’s always a waiting list).

West 79th St Boat Basin: 212-496-2105; Map 14

This city-operated dock is filled with long-term houseboat residents. It’s located at W 79th Street and the Hudson River in Riverside Park.

Dyckman Marina: 212-496-2105; Map 25

Transient dockage on the Hudson River at 348 Dyckman Street

Manhattan Cruise Terminal: 212-246-5450;; Map 11

If Love Boat re-runs aren’t enough and you decide to go on a cruise yourself, you’ll leave from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. W 55th Street at 12th Avenue. Take the West Side Highway to Piers 88-92.

North Cove Yacht Harbor; 212-786-1200;; Battery Park City

A very, very fancy place to park your yacht in Battery Park City.

Helicopter Services

Helicopter Flight Services: 212-355-0801;; Map 3, 8

For a minimum of $149, you can hop on a helicopter at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport at Pier 6 on the East River on weekdays or on weekends and spend 15 minutes gazing down on Manhattan. Reservations are recommended, and there’s a minimum of two passengers per flight.

Liberty Helicopter Tours: 212-967-6464; or @LibertyHelicop; Map 3, 8

Leaves from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport at Pier 6 on the East River (9 am-6:30 pm). Prices start at $150.

Minimum of four passengers per flight.

Transit ✵ Driving in Manhattan

General Information

E-ZPass Information:

Radio Station Traffic Updates:

1010 WINS on the 1s for a five-borough focus and 880 on the 8s for a suburban focus




Real-Time NYC

Traffic Cameras:

Driving in Manhattan

Avoid it. Why drive when you can see the city so well on foot or by bus? (We don’t count the subway as seeing the city, but rather as a cultural experience in and of itself.) We know that sometimes you just have to drive in the city, so we’ve made you a list of essentials.

✵ Great auto insurance that doesn’t care if the guy who hit you doesn’t have insurance and doesn’t speak any English.

✵ Thick skin on driver, passengers, and car. Needed for the fender benders and screamed profanity from the cabbies that are ticked anyone but cabbies are on the road.

✵ Anti-anxiety medication to counteract cardiac arrest-inducing “almost” accidents.

✵ NFT. But we know you would never leave home without it.

✵ E-ZPass. Saves time and lives. Maybe not lives, but definitely time and some money.

✵ New York State license plates. Even pedestrians will curse you out if you represent anywhere other than the Empire State, especially NJ or CT or Texas.

✵ A tiny car that can fit into a spot slightly larger than a postage stamp or tons of cash for parking garages.

✵ Patience with pedestrians—they own the streets of New York. Well, co-own them with the cabbies, sanitation trucks, cops, and fire engines.

The following are some tips that we’ve picked up over the years:

Hudson River Crossings

In the Bridge or Tunnel battle, the Bridge almost always wins. The George Washington Bridge is by far the best Hudson River crossing. It’s got more lanes and better access than either tunnel with a fantastic view to boot. If you’re going anywhere in the country that’s north of central New Jersey, take it. However, inbound traffic on the George can back up for hours in the morning because they don’t have enough toll booth operators to handle all those nuts who don’t have E-ZPass. The Lincoln Tunnel is decent inbound, but check 1010 AM (WINS) if you have the chance. Avoid the Lincoln like the plague during evening rush hour (starts at about 3:30 pm). If you have to take the Holland Tunnel outbound, try the Broome Street approach, but don’t even bother between 5 and 7 pm on weekdays.

East River Crossings


Pearl Street to the Brooklyn Bridge is the least-known approach. Only the Williamsburg Bridge has direct access (i.e. no traffic lights) to the northbound BQE in Brooklyn, and only the Brooklyn Bridge has direct access to the FDR Drive in Manhattan. Again, listen to the radio if you can, but all three bridges can be disastrous as they seem to be constantly under construction (or, in a fabulous new twist, having one lane closed by the NYPD for some unknown reason). The Williamsburg is by far the best free route into North Brooklyn, but make sure to take the outer roadway to keep your options open in case the BQE is jammed. Your best option to go anywhere else in Brooklyn is usually the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, which can be reached from the FDR as well as the West Side Highway. Fun fact: The water you pass was so dirty in the ‘50s that it used to catch fire. The tunnel is not free, but if you followed our instructions you’ve got E-ZPass anyway. The bridges from south to north can be remembered as B-M-W, but they are not as cool as the cars that share the initials.


There are three options for crossing into Queens by car. The Queens-Midtown Tunnel is usually miserable, since it feeds directly onto the parking lot known as the Long Island Expressway. The 59th Street Bridge (otherwise known as the Ed Koch Queensboro) is the only free crossing to Queens. The best approach to it is First Avenue to 57th Street (after that, follow the signs) or to 59th Street if you want to jump on the outer roadway that saves a ton of time and only precludes easy access to Northern Boulevard. If you’re in Queens and want to go downtown in Manhattan, you can take the lower level of the 59th Street Bridge since it will feed directly onto Second Avenue, which of course goes downtown. The Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (née Triborough) is usually the best option (especially if you’re going to LaGuardia, Shea, Astoria for Greek, or Flushing for dim sum). The FDR to the RFK is good except for rush hour—then try Third Avenue to 124th Street.

Harlem River Crossings

The RFK will get you to the Bronx in pretty good shape, especially if you are heading east on the Bruckner toward I-95 or the Hutchinson (which will take you to eastern Westchester and Connecticut). To get to Yankee Stadium, take the Willis or the Macomb’s Dam (which are both free). When you feel comfortable maneuvering the tight turns approaching the Willis, use it for all travel to Westchester and Connecticut in order to save toll money. The Henry Hudson Bridge will take you up to western Westchester along the Hudson. It wins the fast and pretty prize for its beautiful surroundings. The Cross-Bronx Expressway will take years off your life. Avoid it at all costs.

Manhattan’s “Highways”

There are two so-called highways in Manhattan—the Harlem River Drive/FDR Drive/East River Drive (which prohibits commercial vehicles) and the Henry Hudson Parkway/West Side Highway/Joe DiMaggio Highway. The main advantage of the FDR is that it has no traffic lights, while the West Side Highway has lights from Battery Park up through 57th Street. The main disadvantages of the FDR are (1) the potholes and (2) the narrow lanes. If there’s been a lot of rain, both highways will flood, so you’re out of luck (but the FDR floods first). Although the West Side Highway can fly, we would rather look at Brooklyn and Queens than Jersey, so the FDR wins.

Driving Uptown

The 96th Street transverse across Central Park is usually the best one, although if there’s been a lot of rain, it will flood. If you’re driving on the west side, Riverside Drive is the best route, followed next by West End Avenue. People drive like morons on Broadway, and Columbus jams up in the mid 60s before Lincoln Center and the mid 40s before the Lincoln Tunnel but it’s still the best way to get all the way downtown without changing avenues. Amsterdam is a good uptown route if you can get to it. For the east side, you can take Fifth Avenue downtown to about 65th Street, whereupon you should bail out and cut over to Park Avenue for the rest of the trip. Do NOT drive on Fifth Avenue below 65th Street within a month of Christmas, and check the parade schedules before attempting it on weekends throughout the year. The 96th Street entrance to the FDR screws up First and Third Avenues going north and the 59th Street Bridge screws up Lexington and Second Avenues going downtown. Getting stuck in 59th Street Bridge traffic is one of the most frustrating things in the universe because there is absolutely no way out of it.

Driving in Midtown

Good luck! Sometimes Sixth (northbound) or Seventh (southbound) is best because everyone’s trying to get out of Manhattan, jamming up the west side (via the Lincoln Tunnel) and the east side (via the 59th Street Bridge and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel). Friday nights at 9:30 pm can be a breeze, but from 10 pm to midnight, you’re screwed as shows let out. The “interior” of the city is the last place to get jammed up—it’s surprisingly quiet at 8 am. At 10 am, however, it’s a parking lot. Those who plan to drive in Midtown on weekends from about March-October should check parade schedules for Fifth AND Sixth Avenues.

The demarcation of several “THRU Streets” running east-west in Midtown has been with the city permanently since 2004 and when people don’t openly flout the no-turn signs, the system works pretty well. See “THRU Streets” section for more information.

Driving in the Village

People get confused walking in the Village, so you can imagine how challenging driving can be in the maze of one ways and short streets. Beware. If you’re coming into the Village from the northwest, 14th Street is the safest crosstown route heading east. However, going west, take 13th Street. Houston Street has the great benefit of direct access to FDR Drive, both getting onto it and coming off of it. If you want to get to Houston Street from the Holland Tunnel, take Hudson Street to King Street to the Avenue of the Americas to Houston Street (this is the only efficient way to get to the Village from the Holland Tunnel). First Avenue is good going north and Fifth Avenue is good going south. Washington Street is the only way to make any headway southbound and Hudson Street is the only way to make any headway northbound in the West Village.

Driving Downtown

Don’t do it unless you have to. Western TriBeCa is okay and so is the Lower East Side—try not to “turn in” to SoHo, Chinatown, or the Civic Center. Canal Street is a complete mess during the day (avoid it), since on its western end, everyone is trying to get to the Holland Tunnel, and on its eastern end, everyone is mistakenly driving over the Manhattan Bridge (your only other option when heading east on Canal is to turn right on Bowery!). Watch the potholes!

DMV Locations in Manhattan

If you’re going to the DMV to get your first NY license (including drivers with other states’ licenses), you’ll need extensive documentation of your identity. The offices have a long list of accepted documents, but your best bet is a US passport and a Social Security card. If you don’t have these things, birth certificates from the US, foreign passports, and various INS documents will be okay under certain conditions. Do not be surprised if you are turned away the first time. This trip requires great amounts of patience. Plan on spending three to six hours here. This is not a lunch-hour errand. That said, there is an online reservation system that takes some of the stress out of the whole endeavor, and do yourself a favor and check online if you might be able to transact business from home.

Greenwich Street Office

11 Greenwich St

New York, NY 10004

(Cross Streets Battery Park Pl & Morris St)

M-F 8:30 am-4 pm

Harlem Office

159 E 125th St, 3rd Fl

New York, NY 10035

(Lexington and Third)

M, T, W & F 8:30 am-4 pm, Thursday 10 am-6 pm

Herald Square Office

1293-1311 Broadway, 8th Fl

New York, NY 10001

(Between W 33 & W 34th Sts)

Handles out-of-state license exchange.

M-F 8 am-6 pm


License X-Press Office

300 W 34th St

New York, NY 10001

(Between Eighth & Ninth Aves)

Service limited to license and registration renewals and surrendering your license plate. You can’t get your snowmobile or boat license here, and they do not do out-of-state exchanges. Oh, and no permit renewals.

M-F 8:30 am-4 pm

Transit ✵ Thru Streets


General Information

NFT Maps:

12 & 13




In the tradition of “don’t block the box” and other traffic solutions (such as randomly arresting political protesters), the city adopted “THRU Streets,” in Midtown in 2004. The plan was implemented on some crosstown streets in Midtown in order to reduce travel times, relieve congestion, and provide a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists. They are still working on cleaning up the exhaust fume issue, for those concerned about said environment. On certain streets, cars are not allowed to make turns between Sixth and Third Avenues (with the exception of Park Avenue). The regulations are in effect between 10 am and 6 pm on weekdays. The affected streets are:

36th & 37th Streets

45th & 46th Streets

49th & 50th Streets

53rd & 54th Streets

60th Street (between Third and Fifth Avenues)

The above streets are easily identifiable by big, purple “THRU Streets” signs. With everything that’s going on in midtown Manhattan though, you’d be forgiven for missing a sign (by us, not by the NYPD). If you happen to unwittingly find yourself on a THRU Street and can’t escape on Park Avenue, you’re going to have to suck it up until you get to Sixth Avenue or Third Avenue, depending on the direction you’re heading. If you attempt to turn before the designated avenue, you’ll find yourself with an insanely expensive ticket. Of course, if you’re trying to drive crosstown, it’s in your best interests to take one of these streets.

Both sides of almost every non-THRU Street in this grid have been stuck with “No Standing Except Trucks Loading and Unloading” regulations, supposedly creating up to 150 spaces for truck loading (if you were ever stuck behind a truck in morning rush hour on a THRU Street in 2004, you would rejoice at this news). Additionally, one side of each non-THRU street has been “daylighted” for 80-100 feet in advance of the intersection. We are not exactly sure how they came up with the term “daylighted,” but the DOT tells us it allows space for turning vehicles. DOT studies showed that THRU Streets worked—initial studies showed travel times falling by 25% (as people decided to emigrate to New Zealand) and vehicle speeds increasing by an average of 33% (from 4 mph to 5.3 mph). The THRU Streets combined carried 4,854 vehicles per hour (up from 4,187), an average of 74 additional vehicles per hour.

Split Signal Phasing

”Split signal phasing” is just a fancy term for red lights for left- or right-hand turns, allowing pedestrians to cross the street without having to worry about vehicles turning in their path. This is in place at about 40 non-THRU Street intersections in this same grid. Of course, this system assumes that both pedestrians and drivers follow the rules of the road. In spite of the disregard that most New Yorkers display for crossing signals, the number of pedestrian accidents in the eight-month trial period (compared to the eight months prior to implementation) fell from 81 to 74. The number of cycling accidents fell from 30 to 17. Accidents not related to pedestrians or bikes fell from 168 to 102.

Now if the DOT and NYPD could get traffic to flow smoothly onto bridges and into tunnels, they might actually be onto something…

Transit ✵ Parking in Manhattan


Department of Transportation (DOT):


Parking Violations Help Line:


Dept of Finance TTY Hearing-Impaired:


Department of Finance Parking Ticket Info:

DOT Alternate Side Parking Info:

Standing, Stopping and Parking Rules

In “No Stopping” areas, you can’t wait in your car, drop off passengers, or load/unload.

In “No Standing” areas, you can’t wait in your car or load/unload, but you can drop off passengers.

In “No Parking” areas, you can’t wait in your car or drop off passengers, but you can load/unload.

NYC also has a “no idling” law, so when you’re doing one of the three illegal things mentioned above, shut your car off, so at least you only get one ticket, not two!

Parking Meter Zones

On holidays when street cleaning rules are suspended (see calendar), the “no parking” cleaning regulations for metered parking are also suspended. You can park in these spots but have to pay the meters. Also, metered spots are still subject to rules not suspended on holidays (see below). On MLH (major legal holidays), meter rules are suspended (so no need to feed the meter).


Instead of old-fashioned individual meters, NYC relies on muni-meters that let you purchase time-stamped slips which you stick in your windshield to show you paid. These machines accept coins, parking cards, and credit cards. In the case of a non-functional muni-meter, a one-hour time limit applies. Sundays are free.

The DOT sells parking cards that come in $20, $50, and $100 denominations and can be used in muni-meters, municipal parking lots, and some single space meters (look for a yellow decal). The cards can be purchased through the DOT website (, or by going to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal or one of the two City Stores.


New York City Traffic Rules state that one parking sign per block is sufficient notification. Check the entire block and read all signs carefully before you park. Then read them again.

If there is more than one sign posted for the same area, the more restrictive sign takes effect (of course). If a sign is missing on a block, the remaining posted regulations are the ones in effect.

The Blue Zone

The Blue Zone is a “No Parking” (Mon-Fri, 7 am-7 pm) area in Lower Manhattan. Its perimeter has been designated with blue paint; however, there are no individual “Blue Zone” signs posted. Any other signs posted in that area supersede Blue Zone regulations. Confused yet?


✵ All of NYC was designated a Tow Away Zone under the State’s Vehicle & Traffic Law and the NYC Traffic Rules. This means that any vehicle parked or operated illegally, or with missing or expired registration or inspection stickers, may, and probably will, be towed.

✵ On major legal holidays, stopping, standing, and parking are permitted except in areas where stopping, standing, and parking rules are in effect seven days a week (for example, “No Standing Anytime”).

✵ It is illegal to park in a spot where SCR are in effect, even if the street cleaner has already passed. If you sit in your car, the metermaid will usually let you stay

✵ Double-parking of passenger vehicles is illegal at all times, including street-cleaning days, regardless of location, purpose, or duration. Everyone, of course, does this anyway. If everyone is double parked on a certain block during street cleaning, the NYPD probably is not ticketing. However, leave your phone number in the window in case the person you blocked in feels vindictive and demand that a cop write you a ticket.

✵ It is illegal to park within 15 feet of either side of a fire hydrant. The painted curbs at hydrant locations do not indicate where you can park. Isn’t New York great? Metermaids will tell you that each cement block on the sidewalk is five feet, so make sure you are three cement blocks from the hydrant (2.5 will not do).

✵ If you think you’re parked legally in Manhattan, you’re probably not, so go and read the signs again.

✵ Cops will now just write you parking tickets and mail them to you if you are parked in a bus stop; so you won’t even know it’s happening unless you’re very alert.

✵ There is now clearly an all-out effort to harass everyone who is insane enough to drive and/or park during the day in downtown Manhattan. Beware.

Tow Pounds


Pier 76 at W 38th St & Twelfth Ave

open 24 hours: Monday 7 am-Monday 5 am

212-971-0771 or 212-971-0772


745 E 141st St b/w Bruckner Expy & East River

Open Monday-Friday 8 am-10 pm and

Saturday 8 am-3 pm; closed Sunday

718-585-1385 or 718-585-1391


Brooklyn Navy Yard; corner of Sands St & Navy St

Open Monday-Friday 8 am-10 pm and

Saturday 8 am-3 pm; closed Sunday



31-22 College Point Boulevard, Flushing

Open Monday-Friday 8 am-10 pm and

Saturday 8 am-3 pm; closed Sunday


Find out if your car was towed (and not stolen or disintegrated) by contacting your local police precinct or online via NYCServ:

Once you’ve discovered that your car has indeed been towed, your next challenge is to find out which borough it’s been towed to. This depends on who exactly towed your car—the NYPD, the Marshall, etc. Don’t assume that since your car was parked in Manhattan that they will tow it to Manhattan—always call first.

So you’ve located your car, now come the particulars: If you own said towed car, you’re required to present your license, registration, insurance, and payment of your fine before you can collect the impounded vehicle. If you are not the owner of the car, you can usually get it back with all of the above, if your last name matches the registration (i.e. the car belongs to a relative or spouse); otherwise, you’ll need a notarized letter with the owner’s signature authorizing you to take the car. The tow fee is $185, plus $20 for each day it’s in the pound. If they’ve put a boot on it instead, it’s still $185. You can pay with cash, credit or debit card, certified check or money order. We recommend bringing a wad of cash and a long Russian novel for this experience. The longest waiting times are around noon and the late afternoon hours.

Transit ✵ LIRR


General Information

In New York State

call 511

All inquiries (24/7)

say “Long Island Rail Road”

From Outside New York State:


International Callers:


Schedule Information (24/7)

Say “Schedules”

Fare Information (24/7)

Say “Fares”

Mail & Ride (M-F, 7:30 am-5 pm)

Say “Mail and Ride”

Group Travel and Getaways (M-F, 8 am-4 pm)

Say “Group Travel”

Lost & Found (M-F, 6 am-10 pm)

Say “Lost & Found”

Refunds (M-F, 8 am-4 pm)

Say “More Options” then “Ticket Refunds”

Ticket Machine Assistance (M-F, 6:30 am-3:30 pm)

Say “More Options” then “Ticket Machines”

Hamptons Reserve Service (May-Sept)

Say “More Options” then “Hamptons Reserve”

MTA Police:






The Long Island Railroad is the busiest railroad in North America. It has eleven lines with 124 stations stretching from Penn Station in midtown Manhattan, to the eastern tip of Long Island, Montauk Point. Over 80 million people ride the LIRR every year. If you are going anywhere on Long Island and you don’t have a car, the LIRR is your best bet. Don’t be surprised if the feeling of being in a seedy bar creeps over you during evening rush—those middle-aged business men like their beer en route. Despite a recent movement to ban the sale of alcohol on LIRR station platforms and trains, for now, it’s still legal to get your buzz on.

If you’re not a regular LIRR user, you might find yourself taking the train to Citi Field for a Mets game (Port Washington Branch), Long Beach for some summer surfing (Long Beach Branch), or to Jamaica to transfer to the AirTrain to JFK (tip—the subway is cheaper). For the truly adventurous, take the LIRR all the way out to the Hamptons beach house you are visiting for the weekend (Hamptons Reserve seating is available during the summer for passengers taking eight or more trips). Bring a book as it is a long ride.

Fares and Schedules

Fares and schedules can be obtained by calling one of the general information lines, depending on your area. They can also be found on the LIRR website. Make sure to buy your ticket before you get on the train at a ticket window or at one of the ticket vending machines in the station. Otherwise it’ll cost you an extra $5.75 to $6.50 depending on your destination. As it is a commuter railroad, the LIRR offers weekly and monthly passes, as well as ten-trip packages for on - or off-peak hours. The LIRR’s CityTicket program offers discounted one-way tickets for $4 within the five boroughs during weekends.

Pets on the LIRR

Trained service animals accompanying passengers with disabilities are permitted on LIRR trains. Other small pets are allowed on trains, but they must be confined to closed, ventilated containers.

Bikes on the LIRR

You need a permit ($5) to take your bicycle onto the Long Island Railroad. Pick one up at a ticket window or online at the LIRR website.

Transit ✵ Metro-North Railroad


General Information

In New York State

call 511

All inquiries

say “Metro-North Railroad”

From Connecticut:


From Outside New York State:


International Callers:


Schedule Information (24/7):

Say “Schedules”

Fare Information (24/7):

Say “Fares”

Mail & Ride (M-F, 6:30 am-5 pm)

Say “More Options” then “Mail and Ride”

Group Sales (M-F, 8:30 am-5 pm):

Say “More Options” then “Group Sales”

Lost & Found (M-F, 6 am-10 pm):

Say “More Options” then “Lost & Found”

Ticket Machine Assistance (24/7):

Say “More Options” then “Ticket Machines”

MTA Police: 2






Metro-North is an extremely accessible and efficient railroad with three of its main lines (Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven) originating in Grand Central Station in Manhattan (42nd St & Park Ave). Those three lines east of the Hudson River, along with two lines west of the Hudson River that operate out of Hoboken, NJ (operated by NJ Transit; not shown on map), form the second-largest commuter railroad system in the US. Approximately 250,000 commuters use the tri-state Metro-North service each day for travel between New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. Metro-North rail lines cover roughly 2,700 square miles of territory. The best thing about Metro-North is that it lands you at Grand Central Station, one of the city’s finest pieces of architecture. On weekdays, sneak into the land of platforms via the North Passage, accessible at 47th & 48th Streets. At least for now, it’s still legal to have an after work drink on Metro-North. During happy hour (starting somewhere around 3 pm), hit the bar car or buy your booze in advance on the platform at Grand Central. It might make you feel better about being a wage slave. But beware of having too happy of an hour as the bathrooms can be stinky and not all cars have them.

Fares and Schedules

Fare information is available on Metro-North’s extraordinarily detailed website (along with in-depth information on each station, full timetables, and excellent maps) or at Grand Central Station. The cost of a ticket to ride varies depending on your destination so you should probably check the website before setting out. Buy advance tickets on MTA’s WebTicket site for the cheapest fares. If you wait until you’re on the train to pay, it’ll cost you an extra $5.75-$6.50. Monthly and weekly rail passes are also available for commuters. Daily commuters save 50% on fares when they purchase a monthly travel pass.


Train frequency depends on your destination and the time of day that you’re traveling. On weekdays, peak-period trains east of the Hudson River run every 20-30 minutes; off-peak trains run every 30-60 minutes; and weekend trains run hourly. Hours of operation are approximately 4 am to 3:40 am. First trains arrive at Grand Central at 5:30 am and the last ones leave at 2 am. Don’t miss the last train out as they leave on time and wait for no one.

Bikes on Board

If you’re planning on taking your two-wheeler onboard, you’ll need to apply for a bicycle permit first. An application form can be found on the Metro-North website at The $5 lifetime permit fee and application can either be mailed into the MTA, or processed right away at ticket booths and on board trains.

Common sense rules for taking bikes on board include: no bikes on escalators, no riding on the platform, and board the train after other passengers have boarded. Unfortunately there are restrictions on bicycles during peak travel times. Bicycles are not allowed on trains departing from Grand Central Terminal 4 pm-8 pm and connecting trains. In addition, bikes are not allowed on trains leaving from Grand Central between 5:30 am-9 am, 3 pm-3:59 pm, and 8:01-8:15 pm. Bikes are not permitted on trains arriving at Grand Central 5 am-10 am and connecting trains. Bicycles are subject to expanded restrictions around major holidays, including major Jewish holidays, and Fridays before long weekends. No bicycles are allowed on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, Eve of Rosh Hashanah, Eve of Yom Kippur, Eve of Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. There’s a limit of two bikes per carriage, and four bikes per train on weekdays, and eight on the weekends. Unfortunately, the same restrictions are not imposed on passengers with 4 Vera Bradley overnight bags heading off to the country house, but that is another story.

Riders of folding bikes do not require a permit and do not have to comply with the above rules, provided that the bike is folded at all times at stations and on trains.


Only seeing-eye dogs and small pets, if restrained or confined, are allowed aboard the trains.

One-Day Getaways

Metro-North offers “One-Day Getaway” packages on its website. Packages include reduced rail fare and discounted entry to destinations along MNR lines including Bruce Museum, Dia:Beacon, Hudson River Museum/Andrus Planetarium, Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, Mohegan Sun Casino, New York Botanical Garden, and Wave Hill. Tickets are available at Metro-North ticket offices or full-service ticket vending machines. The MTA website also suggests one-day hiking and biking excursions.

Transit ✵ PATH & Light Rail


PATH Train

General Information



Police/Lost & Found:






The PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corp.) is an excellent small rail system that services Newark, Jersey City, Hoboken, and Manhattan. There are a few basic lines that run directly between 33rd Street (Herald Square) in Manhattan & Hoboken, 33rd Street & Jersey City, and Newark & the WTC. Transfers between the lines are available at most stations. The PATH can be quite useful for commuters on the west side of Manhattan when the subway isn’t running, say, due to a sick passenger or mysterious police investigation. Additionally, you can catch the PATH to Newark and then either jump in a cheap cab or take New Jersey Transit one stop to Newark Airport.

Check the front or the sides of incoming trains to determine their destination. Don’t assume that if a Journal Square train just passed through, the next train is going to Hoboken. Often there will be two Journal Square trains in a row, followed by two Hoboken trains. During the weekend, PATH service can be excruciatingly slow and confusing, and is best only endeavored with a seasoned rider.


The PATH costs $2.50 one-way. Regular riders can purchase 10-trip, 20-trip, and 40-trip SmartLink cards, which reduce the fare per journey to $1.90. The fare for seniors (65+) is $1 per ride. You can also use pay-per-ride MTA MetroCards for easy transition between the PATH and NYC subway.


The PATH runs 24/7 (although a modified service operates between 11pm-6am, M-F, and 7:30pm-9 am, Sat, Sun, & holidays). Daytime service is pretty consistent, but the night schedule for the PATH is a bit confusing, so make sure to look at the map. You may be waiting underground for up to 35 minutes. During off hours the train runs on the same track through the tunnel. This allows for maintenance to be completed on the unused track.

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail

General Information







Even though it’s called the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system (HBLR, operated by NJ Transit), it actually only serves Hudson county. Bergen County residents are still waiting for their long promised connection. The HBLR has brought about some exciting changes (a.k.a. “gentrification”) in Jersey City, though Bayonne remains (for the moment) totally, well…Bayonne. Currently there are 24 stops in the system, including service to Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, and Union City.


The Light Rail is $2.10 per trip; reduced fare is $1.05. Ten-trip tickets are $21, monthly passes cost $64. Unless you have a monthly pass, you need to validate your ticket before boarding at a Ticket Validating Machine (TVM). Once validated, tickets are only valid for 90 minutes, so don’t buy too far in advance. The trains and stations have random fare inspection and the fine for fare evasion is up to $100.


Light rail service operates between 5 am and 1:30 am. Times are approximate, check the website for exact schedules on each line.

Bikes on Board

Bikes are allowed (no permit or fee required) on board during off-peak times—weekdays from 9:30 am to 4 pm and 7 pm to 6 am, and all day Saturday, Sunday, and NJ state holidays. Bicycles have to be accompanied on the low-floor vestibule section of each rail car.


Small pets are allowed, as long as they’re confined to a carry container. Service animals are permitted at all times.

Transit ✵ NJ Transit


General Information


1 Penn Plz E Newark, NJ 07105



Suspicious activity:


Lost and Found:

Call main number





With a service area of over 5,000 square miles, NJ Transit (just “NJ,” thank you) is one of the largest transit systems in the country. And yet, sandwiched between New York and Philadelphia, and a feeder into both city’s transportation systems, you can’t blame NJ Transit for feeling a little slighted. And when you think about it, there’s a point there: an incredibly large proportion of those urban workforces are utterly dependent on a commuter system that relies on a handful of underground links with Manhattan and a few bridges into Philly. All of which is to say, let’s hear it for NJ Transit, for all they do to get us in and out of two major cities day in and day out, as well as moving folks around the Garden State itself.

That said, are the rails prone to power loss and broken switches? Sure. And did someone or something screw pooches when they or it left much of its rolling stock in a flood plain during Superstorm Sandy? Well, yes. And does the Pascack Valley Line seem to just creep along, which can be problematic when you’re trying to make a transfer before reaching the Big Apple? Absolutely. And do you wonder who exactly thought it was a good idea to dub Secaucus Junction “Frank R. Lautenberg Station at Secaucus Junction” long before the Senator passed away? No question. But for all that, the trains are usually clean (and immune to the weirdness that seems to plague the LIRR), and there’s nothing better than relaxing on one of their brand spanking new Bombardier MultiLevel Coach cars while your boys wait in traffic at one of the three measly Hudson River automobile crossings. And don’t forget NJ Transit’s convenient and efficient bus lines connecting areas not served by the train lines.

That’s right, when you’re cruising into the departure lounge at Newark an hour early because your Northeast Corridor line train got you to the airport in just 30 minutes from Midtown, just know who to thank: the good folks at NJ Transit. And when you’re settling into your lower-level seat at the Izod Center to check out the latest WWE tour event, remember who took you there—and who you’re going home with. That’s right: NJ Transit.

Secaucus Junction Station

By way of a history lesson, before the three-level hub with the senatorially laden moniker at Secaucus was built, two major lines crossed but never met, as existential as that sounds. Fourteen years and $450 million later, hundreds of thousands of commuters found relief by being able to connect in Secaucus, without having to travel all the way to Hoboken. That and the super-badass New Jersey Turnpike “Exit 15X” was created from literally nothing. Goya Foods and The Children’s Place have their corporate headquarters in Secaucus, and Robert John Burck, otherwise known as Times Square’s Naked Cowboy, makes his home in Secaucus. Oh, and if you want to be a huge smartass, know that Secaucus Junction is technically not actually a junction.

For riders, Secaucus Junction is just an 8-minute ride from Penn Station, and connects ten of NJ Transit’s 11 rail lines, while offering service to Newark Airport, downtown Newark, Trenton, and the Jersey Shore.

Fares and Schedules

Fares and schedules can be obtained at Hoboken, Newark, Penn Station, on NJ Transit’s website, or by calling NJ Transit. If you wait to pay until you’re on the train and you board from a station that has an available ticket agent or open ticket machine, you’ll pay an extra five bucks for the privilege. NJ Transit also offers discounted monthly, weekly, weekend, and ten-trip tickets for regular commuters. Tickets are valid until used and have no expiration date.


Only seeing-eye dogs and small pets in carry-on containers are allowed aboard the trains and buses.


The short answer is that in general, you can take your bicycle on board a NJ Transit train only during off-peak hours and during all hours on the weekends. The nitty gritty is this: bicycles are permitted on all trains except inbound trains that end in Hoboken, Newark or New York between 6 am and 10 am weekdays, outbound trains that originate in Hoboken, Newark or New York between 4 pm and 7 pm weekdays, and on weekend trains along the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line and Morristown Line trains terminating in New York between 9 am and 12 pm and trains originating in New York between 5 pm and 8 pm. If confused, look on the timetables for trains designated by a bicycle symbol. Bikes are not allowed on board most holidays, or the Fridays prior to any holiday weekend; however, a folding frame bicycle can be taken on board at any time. Most NJ Transit buses participate in the “Rack ‘n’ Roll” program, which allows you to load your bike right on to the front of the bus.

Transit ✵ Amtrak



800-USA-RAIL (872-7245)




General Information

Amtrak is our national train system, and while it’s not particularly punctual or affordable, it will take you to many major northeastern cities in half a day or less. Spending a few hours on Amtrak also makes you want to move to Europe where France is now running trains at 357 mph (as opposed to 35 mph in the US). We exaggerate. But seriously, if you plan a trip at the last minute and miss the requisite advance on buying airline tickets or want to bring liquids with you with checking baggage, you might want to shop Amtrak’s fares. Bonus: Amtrak allows you to talk on cell phones in most cars and has plugs for laptop computers at your seat.

Amtrak was created by the federal government in 1971. Today, Amtrak services 500+ stations in 46 states (Alaska, Hawaii, South Dakota, and Wyoming sadly do not have the pleasure of being serviced by Amtrak, as much as Joe Biden would like to commit funding toward a trans-Pacific high-speed link). While not being as advanced as the Eurail system, Amtrak does serve over 30 million passengers a year, employs 20,000 people, still has the same decor it did in the early 1970s, and provides “contract-commuter services” for several state and regional rail lines.

Red Caps (station agents) are very helpful, especially for passengers traveling with children and strollers. The only problem is finding an available one!

Amtrak in New York

In New York City, Amtrak runs out of Pennsylvania Station, an eyesore currently located underneath Madison Square Garden. We treat the station like our annoying little brother, calling it Penn for short and avoiding it when we can. But don’t despair—chances are the city you’ll wind up in will have a very nice station, and, if all goes well, so will we, once the front half of the Farley Post Office is converted to a “new” Penn Station. Warning: If you hop in a cab to get to Amtrak, specify that you want to be dropped off at Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street in order to avoid LIRR and Madison Square Garden foot traffic. Don’t let the cabbie argue with you, especially if you have luggage. He is just trying to make his life easier.

Popular Destinations

Many New Yorkers use Amtrak to get to Boston, Philadelphia, or Washington DC. Of course, these are the New Yorkers who are traveling on an expense account or fear the Chinatown bus service. Amtrak also runs a line up to Montreal and through western New York state (making stops in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, etc.) Check Amtrak’s website for a complete listing of all Amtrak stations.

Going to Boston

Amtrak usually runs about two dozen trains daily to Boston. One-way fares cost approximately $70-$200, and the trip, which ends at South Station in downtown Boston, takes about four-and-a-half hours door-to-door. For over $100 one-way you can ride the high speed Acela (“acceleration” and “excellence” combined into one word, though perhaps “expensive” would have been more appropriate) and complete the journey in three to three-and-a-half hours—if there are not track problems.

Going to Philadelphia

Dozens of Amtrak trains pass through Philadelphia every day. One-way tickets start from about $50-$55 on a regular Amtrak train; if you’re really in a hurry, Acela service starts around $100, which will get you there in an hour or so. The cheapest rail option to Philly is actually to take NJ Transit to Trenton and then hook up with Eastern Pennsylvania’s excellent SEPTA service—this will take longer, but will cost you approximately $25. Some commuters take this EVERY day. Thank your lucky stars you’re probably not one of them.

Going to Washington DC

(Subtitle: How Much is Your Time Worth?)

Amtrak runs dozens of trains daily to DC and the prices vary dramatically. The cheapest trains cost around $85 one-way and take between three and four hours. The Acela service costs at the cheapest $150 one-way, and delivers you to our nation’s capital in less than three hours (sometimes). Worth it? Only you can say. Depending on what time of day you travel, you may be better off taking the cheaper train when the Acela will only save you 30 minutes.

A Note About Fares

While the prices quoted above for Boston, Philly, and DC destinations tend to remain fairly consistent, fare rates to other destinations, such as Cleveland, Chicago, etc., can vary depending on how far in advance you book your seat. For “rail sales” and other discounts, check Military IDs will save you a bundle, so use them if you have them. Occasionally (or rarely), Amtrak frequently offers discounts that can be found on their website—hunt around.

Baggage Check (Amtrak Passengers)

A maximum of two items may be checked up to thirty minutes before departure. Two additional bags may be checked for a fee of $20 each (two carry-on items allowed). No electronic equipment, plastic bags, or paper bags may be checked. See the “Baggage Policy” section of their website for details.

Transit ✵ Penn Station

General Information

NFT Map:



Seventh Ave & 33rd St

General Information (Amtrak):


NJ Transit:

Tracks 1-12


Tracks 5-16


Tracks 13-21

MTA Subway Stops:

1, 2, 3 (Seventh Avenue side) and A, C, E (Eighth Avenue side)

NYCT Bus Lines:

M34, M20, M7, M4, Q32

Train Lines:

LIRR, Amtrak, NJ Transit

GA/JFK Airport Bus Service:, 718-777-5111 or 855-269-2247

Penn Station Map:

Unofficial Guide to New York Penn Station:


Penn Station, designed by McKim, Mead & White (New York’s greatest Beaux-Arts architectural firm), is a treasure, filled with light and…oh wait, that’s the one that was torn down. Penn Station is essentially a basement, complete with well-weathered leather chairs, unidentifiable dust particles, and high-cholesterol snack food. Its claim to fame is that it is the busiest Amtrak station in the country. If the government gods are with us, the plan to convert the eastern half of the Farley Post Office (also designed by McKim, Mead & White) next door to an above-ground, light-filled station will come to fruition. With bureaucracy at hand, we aren’t holding our collective breath. Until then, Penn Station will go on servicing 600,000 people per day in the rat’s maze under Madison Square Garden.

Penn Station serves Amtrak, the LIRR, and NJ Transit. Amtrak, which is surely the worst national train system of any first-world country, administers the station. How is it that the Europeans have bullet trains and it still takes three or more hours to get from NYC to DC? While we’re hoping the new station proposal will come through, will it help the crazed LIRR commuters struggling to squish down stairwells to catch the 6:05 to Ronkonkoma? We can only hope.

Dieters traveling through Penn Station should pre-pack snacks. The fast food joints are just too tempting. Donuts and ice cream and KFC, oh my! Leave yourself time to pick up some magazines and a bottle of water for your train trip. It may turn out to be longer than you think.

The plus side to Penn is that it’s easy to get to from just about anywhere in the city via subway or bus. If you are just too ritzy to take the MTA (or you have an abundance of baggage), have your cab driver drop you off anywhere surrounding the station except for Seventh Avenue—it is constantly jammed with tour buses and cabs trying to drop off desperately late passengers.

Temporary Parcel/Baggage Check

The only facility for storing parcels and baggage in Penn Station is at the Baggage Check on the Amtrak level (to the left of the ticket counter). There are no locker facilities at Penn Station. The Baggage Check is open from 5:15 am until 10 pm and costs $5.50 per item for each 24-hour period.

Terminal Shops

Food & Drink (Upper Level)

Auntie Anne’s Pretzels


CocoMoka Cafe

Don Pepi Pizza & Deli

Haagen Dazs



Krispy Kreme

Moe’s Southwest Grill


Penn Sushi

Pizza Hut

Planet Smoothie

Primo! Cappuccino

Soup Stop

Taco Bell

Tasti D-Lite

TGI Friday’s

Tim Horton

Zaro’s Bread Basket

Food & Drink (Lower Level)

Au Bon Pain

Auntie Anne’s Pretzels

Caruso Pizza


Central Market

Charley’s Grilled Subs



Colombo Yogurt

Don Pepi Express

European Cafe

Frankie’s Dogs on the Go

Hot & Crusty

Jamba Juice


Knot Just Pretzels

Le Bon Café


Moe’s Southwest Grill


Pizza Hut

Planet Smoothie

Riese Restaurant

Rose Pasta & Pizza



aco Bell

TGI Friday’s

Tim Horton

Tracks Raw Bar & Grill

Shopping & Services (Upper Level)

Book Corner

Drago Shoe Shine/Repair

Duane Reade



Hudson News

New York New York


Soleman Shoe Repair

Petal Pusher


Verizon Wireless

Shopping & Services (Lower Level)

Carlton Cards

Duane Reade

Expert Shoe Repair

Fresh Flowers


Hudson News


Penn Books

Penn Station Bookstore

Penn Wine & Spirits

Petal Pusher

Puff ‘n Stuff

Soleman Shoe Repair

Banking/ATM (Upper Level)

Chase Bank

Wells Fargo

Banking/ATM (Lower Level)

Bank of America


Transit ✵ Grand Central Terminal


General Information

NFT Map:



42nd St & Park Ave

General Information:


Lost and Found:





Metro-North: or @MetroNorth

MTA Subway Stops:

4, 5, 6, 7, Shuttle to Times Square

MTA Bus Lines:

M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M101, M102, M103, M42

Newark Airport Express:, 877-8-NEWARK

JGA/JFK Airport Bus Service:, 718-777-5111 or 855-269-2247


Grand Central Terminal, designed in the Beaux-Arts style by Warren & Wetmore, is by far the most beautiful of Manhattan’s major terminals, and it is considered one of the most stunning terminals in the world. Its convenient location in the heart of Midtown and its refurbishments only add to its appeal. The only downside is that the station will only get you on a train as far north as Dutchess County or as far east as New Haven via Metro-North—in order to head to the Island or Jersey, you’ll have to hoof it over to GCT’s architecturally ugly stepsister Penn Station.

If you ever find yourself underestimating the importance of the Grand Central renovations (begun in 1996 with continued work and maintenance today), just take a peek at the ceiling toward the Vanderbilt Avenue side—the small patch of black shows how dirty the ceiling was previously (and, believe us, it was really dirty…). In 2013 Grand Central celebrated its 100th anniversary, marked by a comprehensive exhibit in Vanderbilt Hall. The exhibit, worth checking out, survives online at

Sometime in the next 75 or 100 years, the multi-gazillion-dollar East Side Access project will connect the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central via the new tunnel under 63rd Street, adding an eight-track terminal and concourse below Grand Central.


Diners have any number of choices including Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C. or Cipriani Dolci for nice views overlooking the main concourse or the food court on the lower level (perfect for commuters or those intent on saving a few bucks). As food courts go, the lower level food court isn’t half bad; if you squint, it’s like a curated selection of NYC mainstays: gelato from Ciao Bella, cheesecake from Junior’s, and Shake Shack for burgers (lower concourse open Monday-Saturday 7 am to 9 pm, Sunday 11 am to 6 pm). After hitting the raw stuff at Oyster Bar, go right outside its entrance to hear a strange audio anomaly: If you and a friend stand in opposite corners and whisper, you’ll be able to hear each other clearly. Alternatively, folks looking to hit the sauce may do so in 1920s grandeur in The Campbell Apartment near the Vanderbilt Avenue entrance, or for a non-edible treat, grab an iPad for your train ride at the shiny Apple Store on the east balcony overlooking the main concourse. One of the more fun spots to shop at in Grand Central is the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store, a satellite branch of the MTA’s excellent Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn. The annex features a gallery with changing exhibits and the gift shop has some great gift ideas.

Grand Central Market, located between the east passages of the terminal as you head out toward Lexington Avenue, is a true big-boy market featuring various purveyors of high-quality foodstuffs. Build your own bread-meat-cheese extravaganza here, or take home fresh fish or meat to cook at home later on. Our favorite vendors include Wild Edibles, Dishes at Home and a Midtown branch of the best cheese shop in NYC—Murray’s. Market open weekdays 7 am to 9 pm, Saturday 10 am to 7 pm, and Sunday 11 am to 6 pm.


The Municipal Arts Society runs a 75-minute tour of Grand Central guided by MAS docents. Tours depart daily at 12:30 pm. Tickets cost $20 ($15 reduced) at the tour window on the main concourse. Visit for more information. Grand Central also offers a headset audio tour ($8) daily from 9 am to 6 pm, and an app version of the tour ($4.99) via the website for visitors who want to wander on their own (

Transit ✵ Port Authority Bus Terminal

General Information

NFT Map:



625 Eighth Ave at 41st St

General Information:




A, C, E, 42nd St/Port Authority or 1, 2, 3, 7, N, R, Q, S to Times Square


M42, M34A, M20, M11, M104

Newark Airport Express:, 877-8-NEWARK

JGA/JFK Airport Bus Service:, 718-777-5111 or 855-269-2247


Devised as a solution to New York City’s horrendous bus congestion, the Port Authority Bus Terminal was completed in 1950. The colossal structure consolidated midtown Manhattan’s eight, separate, interstate bus stations into one convenient drop-off and pick-up point. Back in the day the Port Authority held the title of “largest bus terminal in the world,” but for now we’ll have to be content with merely the biggest depot in the United States. The Port Authority is located on the north and south sides of W 41st Street (b/w Eighth Ave & Ninth Ave) in a neighborhood that real estate agents haven’t yet graced with an official name. How about Greyhound Gardens?

There are plenty of things to do should you find that you’ve got some time to kill here. Send a postcard from the post office, donate blood at the blood bank on the main floor, use the refurbished bathrooms, roll a few strikes and enjoy a cocktail at Frames bowling lounge, chug a couple of decent brews at mini-chain Heartland Brewery, or shop the Greenmarket on Thursdays. There are also many souvenir carts, newsstands, and on-the-go restaurants, as well as a statue of beloved bus driver Ralph Kramden located outside of the south wing. The grungiest area of the terminal is the lower bus level, which is dirty and exhaust-filled, best visited just a few minutes before you need to board your bus.

If you can, avoid interstate bus rides from the Port Authority on the busiest travel days of the year. The lines are long, the people are cranky, and some of the larger bus companies hire anyone who shows up with a valid bus operator’s license and their very own bus (apparently, easier to obtain than you might think). The odds of having a disastrous trip skyrocket when the driver is unfamiliar with the usual itinerary.

On Easter Sunday, Christmas Eve, or Thanksgiving, one can see all the angst-ridden sons and daughters of suburban New Jersey parents joyfully waiting in cramped, disgusting corridors for that nauseating bus ride back to Leonia or Morristown or Plainfield or wherever. A fascinating sight.

Terminal Shops

Subway Level

Green Trees

Hudson News

Au Bon Pain

Hudson News

Music Explosion

Main Floor

Au Bon Pain

Auntie Anne’s

Blank SL8 Pop-Up Store


Casa Java

Deli Plus

Duane Reade


Jamba Juice

Heartland Brewery

Hudson News

Hudson News Business Center

Marrella Men’s Hair Stylist

NY Blood Center

Radio Shack


US Postal Service

Villa Pizza

Second Floor

Australian Homemade

Bank of America

Book Corner

Café Metro


Drago Shoe Repair


Hudson News

Jay’s Hallmark

ewel Box


McAnn’s Pub

Mrs Fields Cookies

Munchy’s Gourmet

Sak’s Florist

Bus Lines

✵ Academy (201-420-7000, Northeastern US and Florida

✵ Adirondack Pine Hill New York Trailways (800-858-8555, New York State and nearby Canadian destinations

✵ Bieber (800-243-2374, Eastern Pennsylvania

✵ Community (Coach USA) (800-877-1888, Morris and Essex Counties (NJ)

✵ Community Lines (201-309-0006): Hudson County (NJ)

✵ DeCamp (800-631-1281, Northern New Jersey

✵ Greyhound (800-231-2222, US and Canada

✵ Lakeland (973-366-0600, Northern New Jersey

✵ Martz Trailways (800-233-8604, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

✵ Megabus (877-462-6342, US and Canada

✵ NJ TRANSIT (973-275-5555, New Jersey commuter

✵ Olympia (Coach USA) (877-894-9155, Newark Airport Express

✵ Peter Pan (800-343-9999, Mid-Atlantic US and New England

✵ Rockland (Coach USA) (201-263-1254, Rockland County (NY) and Northern New Jersey

✵ Shortline (Coach USA) (800-631-8405, Upstate NY, Colleges, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, Bergen and Pike Counties, Woodbury Common Premium Outlets

✵ Suburban (Coach USA) (800-222-0492, Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset Counties (NJ)

✵ Susquehanna Trailways (800-692-6314, Susquehanna River Valley, PA

✵ Trans-Bridge Lines (610-868-6001, Lehigh Valley, PA

Transit ✵ GWB Bus Terminal

General Information

NFT Map:



4211 Broadway at 178th St


800-221-9903 or 212-564-8484



A to 175th St or 1 or A to 181st St


M4, M5, M98, M100, Bx3, Bx7, Bx11, Bx13, Bx35, Bx36


The George Washington Bridge Bus Station opened in 1963 to consolidate bus operations in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. Italian architect Pier Luigi Nervi designed the facility and its striking roof consisting of 26 reinforced concrete triangle sections. The design is a great living example of 1960s architecture, and the reinforced concrete material is typical of Nervi’s work. This was his first US project, after designing many well-known structures in Italy including the 1960 Olympic Stadium in Rome.

With easy access to the George Washington Bridge, the station connects Upper Manhattan with Northern New Jersey, and is served by several private carriers along with NJ Transit. A passageway connects with the 175th Street station of the A train (open 5 am to 1 am). Sitting directly atop the Trans-Manhattan Expressway (otherwise known as I-95), the views of the George Washington Bridge are pretty spectacular, and worth checking out even if you’re not catching the bus to Hackensack.

For years the station’s 30,000 square feet of retail space sat underutilized, but change is coming slowly. A $183 million rehabilitation is underway to modernize the facility and expand retail opportunities, including a 120,000-square-foot “MarketPlace” (no room for spaces) that will feature a gym, supermarket and Marshall’s department store. Part of us hopes it will never lose its “lived-in” charm, but really, any place with pigeons routinely wandering around indoors can never be too sanitized.

Bus Companies

✵ Air Brook

(800-800-1990, Casino shuttle to Atlantic City

✵ New Jersey Transit

(973-275-5555, To 60th St, Bergenfield, Bogota, Cliffside Park, Coytesville, Dumont, Edgewater (including Edgewater Commons Mall), Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, West Englewood, Fair Lawn (including the Radburn section), Fairview, Fort Lee, Glen Rock, Guttenberg, Hackensack (including NJ Bus Transfer), Hoboken, North Hackensack (Riverside Square), Irvington, Jersey City, Kearney, Leonia, Maywood, Newark, North Bergen, Paramus (including the Bergen Mall and Garden State Plaza), Paterson (including Broadway Terminal), Ridgewood, Rochelle Park, Teaneck (including Glenpointe and Holy Name Hospital), Union City, Weehawken, and West New York.

✵ Rockland Coaches (Coach USA)

(908-354-3330, To Alpine, Bergenfield, Central Nyack, Closter, Congers, Coytesville, Cresskill, Demarest, Dumont, Emerson, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Fort Lee, Grandview, Harrington Park, Haverstraw, Haworth, Hillsdale, Leonia, Linwood Park, Montvale, Nanuet, New City, New Milford, Northvale, Norwood, Nyack, Old Tappan, Oradell, Palisades, Palisades Park, Park Ridge, Pearl River, Piermont, Rivervale, Rockland Lake, Rockleigh, Sparkill, Spring Valley, Stony Point, Tappan, Tenafly, Upper Nyack, Valley Cottage, West Englewood, Westwood, Woodcliff Lake

✵ Shortline (Coach USA)

(800-631-8405, Express service to Montgomery, Washingtonville, Monroe, Central Valley and Ridgewood, NJ

Transit ✵ Budget Bus Travel


High-speed rail is efficient, fast, sleek and…decades away. Which is where low-cost, bare-bones intercity bus travel comes in. No, it’s not particularly glamorous, especially when you’re fumbling with quarters in front of a vending machine at a rest stop along Interstate 91, but it’s cheap. Real cheap. Like cheaper than a cab to LaGuardia cheap. Cheaper than a fancy downtown cocktail cheap. Cheaper than an outerborough cocktail cheap. Like $10 cheap. $20 cheap. Even at $30, you’re practically saving money sitting quietly on a bus to Boston or DC. No, this is no 300 kilometer-per-hour bullet train. But that is a VHS tape of Look Who’s Talking Too, so what do you want?

There was a moment in time, starting around the late 1990s, when low-cost intercity coach travel was referred to as the “Chinatown Bus.” The chartered buses catered to an Asian clientele, traveling between Chinatowns along the Northeast Corridor. The lines had no need for advertising, overhead, or—most importantly—gates at bus stations. Travelers bought tickets on the sidewalk and boarded buses on street corners. They’d play cheesy movies, subtitled in various Chinese dialects. Soon budget travelers began noticing and it wasn’t long before the buses revolutionized short-haul travel—the fledgling Acela high-speed train was in an entirely different league, money-wise, and shuttle plane service between Northeastern cities was often not as fast, especially when taking into account post-9/11 security protocols and traffic to and from airports.

The early days of the Chinatown Bus were a hoot. Often trips were perfectly fine. Sometimes they seemed a little too efficient; three hours from Boston is great—except on a Chinatown bus. Other times, odds were high that you experienced at least one problem during the course of your trip including, but not limited to, poor customer service, unmarked bus stops, late departures, less than ideal bus conditions, and loogie-hucking and/or spitting from other passengers. Then there were the cancellations without warning, breakdowns, fires, broken bathrooms, fragrant bathrooms or no bathrooms at all, uncoupled luggage, drop-offs on the side of the road near the highway because bus companies didn’t have permission to deliver passengers to central transportation hubs, and (alleged) organized crime links. We exaggerate. But only slightly. And still none of that deterred folks from using the buses. Again, the prices were just too good.

Before long, legacy bus carriers like Greyhound and Trailways began noticing, and rather than trying to beat the Chinatown options, they joined them, creating low-cost carriers like Megabus and BoltBus that mimicked the style and pricing of Chinatown buses. Of course, innovation ruffles feathers, and eventually neighborhoods tired of rolling bags clogging up the sidewalks. Concessions ensued, but for the time being a detente exists; the prices are just too good. The free wi-fi isn’t too bad either.

After years of accidents, including a particularly gruesome March 2011 accident along I-95 that killed 15 people, the feds began cracking down on the carriers, shutting down many, including Fung Wah, one of the original lines. Of the organizations that remained, something miraculous happened: prices have stayed relatively low while oversight and regulation have increased. So now at least you can ride with some peace of mind. What were you saying about high-speed what?

Bus Companies

✵ Lucky Star Bus Transportation

(888-881-0887 or 617-269-5468, To Boston 13 times daily 7 am-9 pm. From 55-59 Chrystie St to South Station: one-way $20

✵ Washington Deluxe

(866-BUS-NY-DC, To Washington multiple times a day; From 36th St & Seventh Ave. Additional departures from Delancey & Allen Sts, and Empire Blvd and Bedford Ave in Crown Heights, Brooklyn to Dupont Circle and Union Station in DC. Schedule varies by day of the week, so it’s recommended that you check the website for info. $26-$35 one-way.

✵ Eastern Travel

(212-244-6132, To Washington DC, Baltimore, Rockville, MD, and Richmond, VA; From Allen St/Canal St and 34th St/Seventh Ave.

✵ Yo! Bus

(855-66YOBUS, To Boston and Philadelphia, joint venture of Greyhound and Peter Pan, tickets as low as $10; buses leave from East Broadway and Division St.

✵ Vamoose

(212-695-6766, To Bethesda, MD, Arlington, VA and Lorton, VA; stops at 30th St and Seventh Ave.

✵ Megabus

( To destinations across US; departure from 34th St and Eleventh Ave; arrival at 28th St and Seventh Ave.

✵ BoltBus

(877-265-8287, To Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC area; special $1 early fares; stops at 33rd St and Eleventh Ave.

✵ TripperBus

(877-826-3874, To Bethesda, MD and Arlington, VA; stops at 31st St and Eighth Ave.

Transit ✵ Biking

General Information

Bicycle Defense Fund:

Bike Blog NYC: or @bikeblognyc

Bike New York, Five Borough Bike Tour: or @bikenewyork

Century Road Club Association (CRCA): or @crca

Department of City Planning:

Department of Parks & Recreation:

Department of Transportation:

Fast & Fabulous Lesbian & Gay Bike Club:

Five Boro Bicycle Club: or @5BBC

League of American Bicyclists: or @BikeLeague

New York Bicycle Coalition: or @BikeNYBC

NYC Bike Share: or @CitibikeNYC

New York Cycle Club: or @NYCycleClub

Recycle-A-Bicycle: or @RAB_NYC

Streetsblog NYC: or @StreetsblogNYC

Time’s Up! Bicycle Advocacy Group: or @nyctimesup

Transportation Alternatives: or @transalt


While not for the faint of heart, biking around Manhattan can be one of the most efficient and exhilarating forms of transportation. The advocacy group Transportation Alternatives estimates that over 200,000 New Yorkers hop on a bike each day. Manhattan is relatively flat, and the fitness and environmental advantages of using people power are incontrovertible. However, there are also some downsides, including, but not limited to: psychotic cab drivers, buses, traffic, pedestrians, pavement with potholes, glass, debris, and poor air quality. For years now biking has enjoyed the support of the city: many new miles of bike lanes have been added, and there has been an effort to create well protected lanes whenever possible including in Times Square, Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Chelsea, and Second and Third Avenues in the East Village. These tend to be the safest places to ride, though they often get blocked by parked or standing cars. Central Park is a great place to ride, as is the Greenway along the Hudson River from Battery Park all the way up to the GWB (it’s actually a 32-mile loop around the island). East River Park is another nice destination for recreational riding, as well as skating. The most exciting cycling news in recent years is the launch of the Citi Bike bike share program, designed for quick trips around town.

A word about protecting your investment: bikes have to be locked up on the street and are always at risk of being stolen. Unfortunately, bike racks can be hard to come by in NYC, so you may need to get creative on where to park. Always lock them to immovable objects and don’t skimp on a cheap bike lock. With over 40,000 bikes a year stolen in NYC, the extra cost for a top-of-the-line bike lock is worth it.

Now that we’ve got your attention, let’s review some of the various rules and regulations pertaining to biking. First, remember that with great power comes great responsibility: bicyclists not only have all the rights of motor vehicles but they are also subject to all the same basic rules, including obeying all traffic signals, signage and pavement markings. Just as you can’t drive a car on the sidewalk, neither are you allowed to ride on the sidewalk. And just as you can’t drive a car into a park, remember that bicycle riding is prohibited in parks, except along designated bike paths. Some less-known rules: you can use either side of a one-way roadway; deliverymen must wear apparel with the name of their place of business when riding; when riding, you can’t wear more than one earphone; feet must be on pedals; and riders must keep hands on the handlebars, and at least one hand when carrying packages. Also keep in mind the rules of equipment: a white headlight and red taillight are mandatory from dusk to dawn, and both bells and reflectors are required. Here’s another thing: hand signals are mandatory. Children bring a whole other set of considerations: children under one year are not allowed on bikes, even in a Baby Bjorn; children ages one through five must wear a helmet and sit in an appropriate carrier. Children five through 13 must wear an approved helmet. Oh, and for Pete’s sake, don’t be a jerk.

Crossing the Bridges by Bike

Brooklyn Bridge

Separate bicycle and pedestrian lanes run down the center of the bridge, with the bicycle lane on the north side and the pedestrian lane on the south. Cyclists should beware of wayfaring tourists taking photographs. The bridge is quite level and, aside from the tourists and planks, fairly easy to traverse.

Brooklyn Access: Stairs to Cadman Plz E and Prospect St, ramp to Johnson & Adams Sts

Manhattan Access: Park Row and Centre St, across from City Hall Park

Manhattan Bridge

The last of the Brooklyn crossings to be outfitted with decent pedestrian and bike paths, the Manhattan Bridge bike and pedestrian paths are on separate sides of the bridge. The walking path is on the south side, and the bike path is on the north side of the bridge. The major drawback to walking across the Manhattan Bridge is that you have to climb a steep set of stairs on the Brooklyn side (not the best conditions for lugging around a stroller or suitcase). Fortunately, the bike path on the north side of the bridge is ramped on both approaches. However, be careful on Jay Street when accessing the bridge in Brooklyn due to the dangerous, fast-moving traffic.

Brooklyn Access: Jay St & Sands St

Manhattan Access: Bike Lane-Canal St & Forsyth St

Pedestrian Lane-Bowery, just south of Canal St

Williamsburg Bridge

The Williamsburg Bridge has the widest pedestrian/bike path of the three bridges to Brooklyn. The path on the north side, shared by cyclists and pedestrians, is 12 feet wide. The southern path, at eight feet wide, is also shared by bikers and walkers. Now that both sides of the bridge are always open to pedestrians and bikes, this is one of the best ways to get to and from Brooklyn. As a bonus fitness feature, the steep gradient on both the Manhattan and Brooklyn sides of the bridge gives bikers and pedestrians a good workout.

Brooklyn Access: North Entrance-Driggs Ave, right by the Washington Plz

South Entrance-Bedford Ave b/w S 5th & S 6th Sts

Manhattan Access: Delancey St & Clinton St/Suffolk St

George Washington Bridge

Bikers get marginalized by the pedestrians on this crossway to New Jersey. The north walkway is for pedestrians only, and the south side is shared by pedestrians and bikers. Cyclists had to fight to keep their right to even bike on this one walkway, as city officials wanted to institute a “walk your bike across” rule to avoid bicycle/pedestrian accidents during construction. The bikers won the battle but are warned to “exercise extra caution” when passing pedestrians.

Manhattan Access: W 178th St & Fort Washington Ave

New Jersey Access: Hudson Ter in Fort Lee

Robert F. Kennedy Bridge

Biking is officially prohibited on this two-mile span that connects the Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan. Unofficially, people ride between the boroughs and over to Wards Island all the time. The bike path is quite narrow, compared to the paths on other bridges, and the lighting at night is mediocre at best. The tight path sees less pedestrian/cycling traffic than other bridges, which, paired with the insufficient lighting, gives the span a rather ominous feeling after dark. If you’re worried about safety, or keen on obeying the laws, the 103rd Street footbridge provides an alternative way to reach Wards Island sans car. This pedestrian pass is open only during the warmer months, and then only during daylight hours.

Bronx Access: 133rd St & Cypress Ave

Manhattan Access: Ramps—124/126th Sts & First Ave Stairs-Second Ave and 124/126 Sts

Queens Access: 26th St & Hoyt Ave (beware of extremely steep stairs).

Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge

The north outer roadway of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge is open exclusively to bikers, 24/7, except for the day of the New York Marathon. More than 2,500 cyclists and pedestrians per day traverse the bridge. Bikers complain about safety issues on the Manhattan side of the bridge: With no direct connection from Manhattan onto the bridge’s West Side, bikers are forced into an awkward five-block detour to get to Second Avenue, where they can finally access the bridge.

Manhattan Entrance: 60th St, b/w First Ave & Second Ave

Queens Entrance: Queens Plz & Crescent St

Citi Bike Bike Share

The membership-only Citi Bike bike sharing program began in 2013. Designed for short jaunts around town, annual memberships cost $155 and entitle the user to unlimited trips of up to 45 minutes. One-day and 7-day “Access Passes” for unlimited trips up to 30 minutes are available for $9.95 and $25, respectively. Trips exceeding the time limit incur steep overage charges; much like ZipCar, the program is not intended to function as a bike rental. Bike stations are located in Manhattan south of 86th Street, in Western Brooklyn north of Fulton Street, and Long Island City in Queens (in Brooklyn and Queens, picture a chunk of land bounded by Brooklyn Bridge Park to the west, Fulton Park in Bed-Stuy to the east, and the Queensboro Bridge to the north). The bikes themselves are functional three-speed machines, with easily adjustable seats, bells and LED safety lights, and multiple logos of main sponsor Citibank, which pledged more than $40 million to start the program. For more information visit

Bike Sales and Rentals

Gotham Bikes ✵ 112 West Broadway ✵ 212-732-2453 ✵ Map 2

Metro Bicycles ✵ 75 Varick St ✵ 212-334-8000 ✵ Map 2

Bike Works ✵ 106 Ridge St ✵ 212-388-1077 ✵ Map 4

Chari & Co. ✵ 175 Stanton St ✵ 212-475-0102 ✵ Map 4

Dah Bike Shop ✵ 134 Division St ✵ 212-925-0155 ✵ Map 4

Frank’s Bike Shop ✵ 533 Grand St ✵ 212-533-6332 ✵ Map 4

Waterfront Bike Shop ✵ 391 West St ✵ 212-414-2453 ✵ Map 5

Bfold ✵ 224 E 13th St ✵ 212-529-7247 ✵ Map 6

Bicycle Habitat ✵ 244 Lafayette St ✵ 212-431-3315 ✵ Map 6

Metro Bicycles ✵ 332 E 14th St ✵ 212-228-4344 ✵ Map 6

NYC Velo ✵ 64 2nd Ave ✵ 212-253-7771 ✵ Map 6

Landmark Bicycles ✵ 43 Ave A ✵ 212-674-2343 ✵ Map 7

Recycle-A-Bicycle ✵ 75 Ave C ✵ 212-475-1655 ✵ Map 7

Bike and Roll ✵ 557 12th Ave ✵ 212-260-0400 ✵ Map 8

City Bicycles ✵ 315 W 38th St ✵ 212-563-3373 ✵ Map 8

Enoch’s Bike Shop ✵ 480 10th Ave ✵ 212-582-0620 ✵ Map 8

Chelsea Bicycles ✵ 130 W 26th St ✵ 212-727-7278 ✵ Map 9

Metro Bicycles ✵ 546 Avenue of the Americas ✵ 212-255-5100 ✵ Map 9

Paragon Sporting Goods ✵ 867 Broadway ✵ 212-255-8889 ✵ Map 9

Sid’s Bikes ✵ 151 W 19th St ✵ 212-989-1060 ✵ Map 9

Spokesman Cycles ✵ 34 Irving Pl ✵ 212-995-0450 ✵ Map 10

Liberty Bicycles ✵ 846 9th Ave ✵ 212-757-2418 ✵ Map 11

Metro Bicycles ✵ 653 10th Ave ✵ 212-581-4500 ✵ Map 11

Conrad’s Bike Shop ✵ 25 Tudor City Pl ✵ 212-697-6966 ✵ Map 13

Bicycle Renaissance ✵ 430 Columbus Ave ✵ 212-724-2350 ✵ Map 14

Eddie’s Bicycles ✵ 480 Amsterdam Ave ✵ 212-580-2011 ✵ Map 14

Toga Bikes ✵ 110 West End Ave ✵ 212-799-9625 ✵ Map 14

Jeff’s Bicycles NYC 1400 ✵ 3rd Ave ✵ 212-794-2929 ✵ Map 15

NYCeWheels ✵ 1603 York Ave ✵ 800-692-3943 ✵ Map 15

Pedal Pusher Bike Shop ✵ 1306 2nd Ave ✵ 212-288-5592 ✵ Map 15

Champion Bicycles ✵ 896 Amsterdam Ave ✵ 212-662-2690 ✵ Map 16

Innovation Bike Shop ✵ 105 W 106th St ✵ 212-678-7130 ✵ Map 16

Metro Bicycles ✵ 231 W 96th St ✵ 212-663-7531 ✵ Map 16

Danny’s Cycles ✵ 1690 2nd Ave ✵ 212-722-2201 ✵ Map 17

Metro Bicycles ✵ 1311 Lexington Ave ✵ 212-427-4450 ✵ Map 17

ModSquad Cycles ✵ 2119 Frederick Douglass Blvd ✵ 212-865-5050 ✵ Map 19

Heavy Metal Bike Shop ✵ 2016 3rd Ave ✵ 212-410-1144 ✵ Map 20

Junior Bicycle Shop ✵ 1820 Amsterdam Ave ✵ 212-690-6511 ✵ Map 21

Victor’s Bike Repair ✵ 4125 Broadway ✵ 212-740-5137 ✵ Map 23

Tread Bike Shop ✵ 250 Dyckman St ✵ 212-544-7055 ✵ Map 25

Bikes and Mass Transit

You can take your bike on trains and some buses—just make sure it’s not during rush hour and you are courteous to other passengers. The subway requires you to carry your bike down staircases, use the service gate instead of the turnstile, and board at the very front or back end of the train. To ride the commuter railroads with your bike, you may need to purchase a bike permit. For appropriate contact information, see transportation pages.

Amtrak: Train with baggage car required

LIRR: $5 permit required

Metro-North: $5 permit required

New Jersey Transit: No permit required

PATH: No permit required

New York Water Taxi: As space allows; no fee or permit required

NY Waterway: $1.25 surcharge

Staten Island Ferry: Enter at lower level

Bus companies: Call individual companies