With all its bright lights and wonder, New York City can still be a daunting place for unfamiliar travelers and New York neophytes. Amidst the glorious madness of it all, figuring out how to get around can be quite the challenge. At times, even native New Yorkers will find themselves in an unrecognizable locale and will have to ask which way is east or west.
It's only be trial and error that daily commuters have figured out everything from the most efficient routes down to small tricks, like knowing exactly where to stand on the subway platform to be right in front of the door when it opens. So it comes as no surprise that a newbie might find transportation in New York City a bit overwhelming.
Have no fear. As complex as it may seem, it's all quite manageable. If you're only going to be in the city for a short time, or if you're just getting your feet wet, it's better to start simple. Here are three of the best ways to get around town.
This is by far the best form of transportation in New York City, and especially Manhattan. It gives you a real sense of New York life in a cost-effective way. With the purchase of an unlimited pass you can move through the city freely, with a high probability of catching a free show in the process. Even more, it never stops running. The subway system is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Early mornings or late nights, you'll never have to worry about finding an affordable way to get around.
Many people take one look at the subway map and run for the nearest taxi. But don't be intimidated. The maps are easy to read once you know what you're looking for, and several trains list their routes so you'll know exactly where you're headed. However, if you are still confused the best thing to do is ask somebody for directions. Ignore that nasty rumor that New Yorkers are rude. It's just not true. New Yorkers love showing off how well they know the city. If you ask for help, you'll be surprised at how willing people are to help you get where you need to go.
For those who like to take it all in, walking will be your best bet in New York. You'll get to explore the exciting and beautiful Central Park, the intimate neighborhoods reaching from the Upper West Side to the East Village, and much more. This goes without saying, but travelling the city on foot is going to be the easiest on your pockets with one small caveat -- you might get sucked in by everything else. As you stroll through the city, don't be surprised if you're tempted by the lure of sweet and savory aromas of the many food trucks. Then there's the cluster of shops on every block, famous landmarks, museums, and hundreds of other attractions that will be vying for your attention. Still, you'll be hard-pressed to find another method of travel that will let you fully experience the city on your own terms.
There's nothing more convenient than door to door service. While it's not the cheapest option, it will certainly ease the burden of having to wait for a train or a bus, which, at certain times, can be a bit unpleasant. Also, you won't have to worry about getting lost, because 99% of the time, taxi drivers know where they're going. If they don't, they're not shy about using GPS.
However, New York is notorious for its traffic. A taxi, while convenient, might not always be very efficient. If you're going to take a taxi make sure you're not pressed for time, and especially try to avoid them during rush hour.