From the airports
Taxi: It may not be the most costeffective, but the most convenient way to get into town is tocollect your bags and get in line for a taxi. From John F. KennedyAirport, taxis are required to charge a flat fee to Manhattan of$45 plus any tolls. According to the Taxi & LimousineCommission, drivers should not turn on the meter or add the nightsurcharge.
From La Guardia Airport, visitorsshould expect to pay what's on the meter, plus bridge or tunneltolls.
A more economical mode of transport from the airports is a privatebus service to midtown Manhattan. New York Airport service (www.nyairportservice.com) offers frequent service fromthe airports with stops in Manhattan to Grand Central Terminal (at42nd Street and Park Avenue), Port Authority bus terminal (at 42ndStreet and Eighth Avenue) and Penn Station (at 34th Street andSeventh Avenue). Bus stops at the airport are well marked. Faresare $12 from La Guardia and $15 from Kennedy.
The newest addition to getting to and from the airports is theAirTrain, serving Kennedy Airport. This new monorail serviceconnects air passengers with other modes of public transportationthat will then take them into Manhattan. The options are the LongIsland Rail Road's Jamaica Station, where passengers can get acommuter train directly to Penn Station. The AirTrain also makesstops at two subway stops -- E, J/Z subways at Jamaica Station andthe A subway at Howard Beach Station. If you choose the subways,expect a long ride into Manhattan. The cost of the Air Train is $5,but then passengers also have to pay fares for the connectingsubway and LIRR trains.
Get a map.
Any New Yorker will tell you that the best way to get from Point Ato Point B in the city is by subway. The system is big, not alwaysclean and can be a confusing jumble of letters and numbers forfirst-time riders, especially if you're not sure whether you'regoing uptown or down. That's why it's important to arm yourselfwith an official New York City Transit Authority subway map, givenout free at all subway station booths. That and a Metrocard willget you a long way toward arriving at your destination. You canalso go online for subway maps, schedules and more information: www.mta.nyc.ny.us/nyct/subway/index.html
What it costs.
The cost of riding the subway is $2. The Transit Authority hasphased out all tokens, which riders used to drop in the turnstileto gain entry, in favor of the magnetized MetroCards. The bestplace to buy them is at vending machines located inside subwaystations. The machines are simple to operate and most accept cash,ATM cards or credit cards. The seven-day unlimited MetroCard at $25is a good deal. You also can pay as you ride with a regularMetroCard. To find out more MetroCard info go to www.mta.nyc.ny.us/metrocard/index.html
Swiping a MetroCard.
Swiping the MetroCard through the turnstile can be tricky. If thecard isn't pulled through properly, you'll get a messageinstructing you to try again. Make sure the black stripe is facingyou and slide with the M of MetroCard going through first. Also besure to move the card through quickly, but not too fast, and toallow the entire card to pass through the turnstile without liftingit up too soon. For stress-free subway riding, check your mapbefore heading to the station. Figure out if you're going east orwest, uptown or downtown and identify the best route. This isimportant because many subway entrances are for 'uptown only' or'downtown only' trains. Once you're on the subway, don't be afraidto ask other riders for help. Most subway riders will be more thanhappy to point you in the right direction.
Not the fastest. The city operates 3,700 buses throughout the five boroughs on morethan 200 routes, so you'll find that you're usually within a fewblocks of a bus stop. Beware. Traveling by bus in the city can beslow going. Buses stop every two to three blocks and if you'retrying to get through midtown Manhattan during a bigsecurity-conscious event such as a political convention, trafficwill probably be moving at a snail's pace. But if you have anafternoon with lots of time on your hands, a city bus can be a goodplace to view the city at a leisurely pace and in anair-conditioned environment.
What it costs. As with subways, bus rides cost $2. Payment is made as you enterthe bus with a MetroCard or exact change. Don't try to pay yourfare with dollar bills. The driver won't make change and you'll bestanding on the sidewalk as the bus pulls away from the curb. Ifyou pay with a MetroCard, you may transfer free from bus to subway,subway to bus, or bus to bus within two hours of the time you paidyour fare. If you pay with change, ask the driver for a transferand he or she will give you a paper transfer slip that can be usedon another bus or subway car.
Buses can be a good option if you're trying to get across town inManhattan, either from the West Side to the East Side orvice-a-versa. Crosstown buses can be found at the followingstreets: 8th/9th, 14th, 23rd, 34th, 49/50th, 57th, 66/67th, 72nd,79th, 86th, 96th, 110th, 116th, and 125th. For more information onbus schedules, routes, etc, go to www.mta.nyc.ny.us/nyct/bus/index.html
The taxisNo trip to New York City is complete without at least one ride in afamous yellow taxi cab. Taxis roam the streets of Manhattan and canbe hailed down at any street corner and along any avenue. Someinformation can help make it easier to get one to actually stop foryou.
What the lights mean.The lights on top of a taxi indicate whether it is available, busywith another fare or off duty. If the middle light is illuminated,the taxi is free and looking for a customer. If the middle light isoff, the taxi is currently engaged. If the two outside lights areon, it means the cabbie is off duty and heading home. Once inside acab, it is best to give the driver as much information as possibleabout your destination, including the intersection closest to whereyou're going. For example, saying 2 Park Avenue at 32nd Street isbetter than just giving the street address.
What it costs. Taxis run on meters. The total cost depends on the distancetraveled and time spent in the cab. Taxi fares are $2.50 for thefirst 1/5 mile, then 40 cents for each 1/5 of a mile thereafter,and 40 cents per 120 seconds when cab is not moving. A50-cent night surcharge is in effect between 8 p.m. and 6a.m. and a $1 surcharge is in effect from 4-8 p.m. weekdays (notincluding holidays). Any bridge or tunnel tolls will be added tothe total charge. Taxi drivers are usually given a 15% gratuity ontop of the final metered fare. Although many people -- and taxicab drivers -- prefer cash transactions, some 9,000 or the city's 13,150 cabs now have credit-card capabilities. Always askfor a receipt because if you leave anything behind, it willindicate the number of your taxi. Tip: Always hail a taxi going inthe direction that you are heading. This will save the driver fromgoing around the block, saving you time and money.
Availability. Finding an available taxi is usually the most difficult between 4and 5 in the afternoon when rush hour kicks in. Any place wherethere is a crowd, such as when the theaters let out in evenings,can be difficult. Sometimes, it's helpful to walk a few blocks awayfrom the crowd before even trying to hail a cab. Also, cabs becomescarce any time it rains.
The agency that oversees taxis has written up 'a taxicab rider's billof rights,' which ensures riders' the right to go to any of thecity's five boroughs and to a driver who obeys all traffic laws,among other things. Any complaints about taxi drivers can be madeby calling 311.
The pedicabs One of the more unusual ways to catch a ride in the city is tohail a pedicab -- a peddle-powered, rickshaw-looking contraption.Pedicabs offer a more leisurely approach to New York Citytransportation, though when traffic gridlock sets in, they cansometimes get you where you want to go faster than a traditionaltaxi. Pedicabs operate in midtown Manhattan, including TimesSquare, and parts of downtown Manhattan, including GreenwichVillage, SoHo and Tribeca. The charge is about a dollar a minutefor two people. Ask the driver for a more exact quote before takingoff.
The water taxi What better way to get around town than gliding along one of thecity's many waterways (completely avoiding any traffic jams) andenjoying views of the skyline. New York Water Taxi offers serviceto stops around the bottom part of Manhattan Island as well asstops in Queens and Brooklyn.
Where it stops. The following are stops in Manhattan on New York Water Taxi'sroute:South Street Seaport;
North Cove at the World Financial Center;
Chelsea Piers; Pier 84 at the Circle Line hub at 42nd Street andthe Hudson River;
East 34th Street Pier on the East River;
In Queens, the water taxi stopsat Hunters Point Pier in Long Island City and in Brooklyn, at theFulton Ferry Landing in DUMBO.
What it costs.
For visitors (or New Yorkers out for a day on the water), thecompany offers different fares.There is a one-day ticket (allowing more than one stop on the route) for$20 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. For moreinformation and schedules go to www.nywatertaxi.com.
On footAnother good way to get around is to walk. This mode of transportgets you up close to the city, offering good opportunity to windowshop or find that little out-of-the-way bistro you'll alwaysremember. If the streets are traffic clogged, walking willsometimes get you to your destination faster than a taxi. NewYorkers usually say it takes about one minute to walk anuptown/downtown block. If you're wondering what the distances are:20 uptown/downtown blocks and 10 crosstown blocks equalapproximately one mile.
Parking in the city
Parking in the city is a tough proposition these days. But if youmust drive, at least you don't have to worry about carrying arounda pocketful of change anymore when you want to park on the street.The city now markets a NYC Parking Card, available in $20, $50 and $100denominations, which can be used in all New York City municipalparking fields, all muni-meters, and selected single-space meterlocations. As a general rule, you can only park at the muni-metersafter 6 or 7 in the evening and weekends depending on the location.To find out how to buy one, go to www.nyc.gov Major transportation hubs
The Port Authority Bus Terminal
635 Eighth Avenue (40th-42nd Streets) Once a very seedy place, this bus terminal, said to be the world'sbusiest, has cleaned up its act. Operators say it serves 58 millionriders a year. It has an Airport Bus Center providing service to LaGuardia Airport, JFK International Airport and Newark InternationalAirport. There's also service to the Atlantic City, New Jerseycasinos, and the Meadowlands Sports Complex.
Grand Central Terminal
42nd Street and Park Avenue
Grand Central, the city's most beautiful train station, is servedby the 4, 5, 6, 7, and S (shuttle between Times Square and GrandCentral) subway lines. It also is the terminus for commuter trainsof Metro-North Railroad, serving the northern suburbs. GrandCentral Terminal is one of Manhattan's most important landmarks. Ithas a magnificent main lobby, many retail shops and goodrestaurants.
Pennsylvania Station (Penn Station)
31-33rd Streets between Seventh and Eighth Avenues Penn Station is a busy train station located under Madison SquareGarden. Many subway lines come into the station as well as thecommuter New Jersey Transit service and all Amtrak trains cominginto the city.