You have to be quick to make it in NYC — people are always in a hurry to be somewhere, get things done, and move on to the next thing. Here are a few tips to make your trip as legit as it can be:
The best way to see the city is on foot. Neighborhoods transform from block to block before your eyes. It’s the most pleasant way to get from the east side to the west side, especially if you walk along the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir at 85th or 97th Street in Central Park. Need to pee? Find a hotel. Most have semi-public restrooms just off the lobby floor.
The Staten Island Ferry is free for folks wishing to explore this often overlooked borough. During the summer, free ferries also bring people to Governor’s Island, home to events like the Jazz Age Lawn Party. These ferries will also give you the chance to see the city from a different point of view, and are much cheaper than the cheesy boat yacht tours with gross food.
Apps like Citymapper will help you get the basics down, but really part of the experience is getting lost or getting on the wrong train. The 1, 2, 3 and 4, 5, 6 trains will take you most places you need to be, and the L train or the 7 train will help connect you from the west side to the east side. Stay away from the J and G trains if possible, they are super slow and take forever to get you anywhere.
Magic numbers for metro card
One ride on the subway costs $2.75, but adding $20 to a card actually results in a few extra dollars and cents too short of one last ride. So put $11.90, $19.50, or $30.95 and you’ll ensure you never lose cash or unused rides from that floppy little rectangle again.
Walking / Biking bridges and elevated walkways
The Highline, running from West 34th Street down to Gansevoort Street, is the coolest combination of urban and ecological planning in NYC to date. It’s a nice break from the street rushers below. The Brooklyn Bridge is pretty iconic and offers not only the perfect place for a souvenir photo, but takes travelers from Downtown Manhattan straight into the business district of Downtown Brooklyn.
Yellow cabs have joined the 21st century; Arro was introduced as a way of competing with Uber and other rideshare companies. Navigating the city via taxi can be fun, quick, and comfortable, but avoid peak times (like morning and evening rush hours) if you don’t want to pay money to sit in traffic. Prices vary but start at $2.50 once you tell the driver where you want to go.
While lots of locals have adopted Citibikes in recent years, it’s generally discouraged for tourists to use them; even the most seasoned of cyclists will have trouble navigating the bike lanes and erratic traffic of the city, not to mention the countless accidents that have occurred. That said, if you’re feeling up for it, bring a helmet, know the rules and regulations, and keep your wallet well-stocked: prices start at $10 a day.
You’ll probably get laughed at, but they’re fun. Sitting on top of a double-decker bus, cruising down the avenues and listening to an NYC expert rattle off fun trivia, isn’t the worst way to spend your time in NYC. This city is so vast that taking a bus tour is one of the best ways to check it all out in a short amount of time. City Sights and Big Bus Tours are two of the best.