From the creation of this baby-blog, less than a year ago, a lot of you guys contacted me to get info about your upcoming trip in New York, and I loved helping you planning the perfect stay! I also noticed that a lot of questions / worries were shared by almost all of you!
After a few months of
intense research and long hours to write it, I am so thrilled to reveal you the new category on the “Travel” section on the blog : “New York”. I planned it in several parts and I really hope it will help you while planning you next visit. Of course, you still can contact me whenever you need! A new chapter will be released on Saturdays, and I am also working on a few surprises! Ready? Follow me, c’est par ici:
Find your way in Manhattan: In my opinion, the best way to discover New York is walking through it. Don’t forget a (really) good pair of shoes and read below to understand the Avenues / Streets system in The City. Follow me, c’est par ici:
Avenues are vertical, streets are horizontal (though it gets a little bit more complicated in the south of the island.) When you look for an address, look at the crossing street / avenue, which will allow you to find your way easily (you just need to know the arrangement of the avenues.)
(For instance: 37th street and 5th avenue = 37th street horizontally at the crossing with 5th avenue – vertically.)
You will also see addresses like “49 West 39th Street”. Fifth avenue is Avenue zero: all the avenues on its left are WEST, all the avenues on its right are EAST and the number are from the center (fifth avenue) to the ends.
(For instance, 49 WEST means that it is going to be 49 buildings left from 5th avenue and 39th street = it will be on 39th, horizontally. In this example, the right building is situated between 5th and 6th avenue.)
Of course, you can purchase a map, but I advise you to spend a few bucks to buy a SIM card with 3g (for instance, this one, with T-Mobile) so, at any time, you’ll have a GPS. A huge time-saver for a small amount of money (compared to the price of your trip!)
From the left (Hudson river) to the right (East River) : Avenues
(WEST) – 11th – 10th – 9th – 8th – 7th – 6th – 5th (=avenue 0) – Madison – Park – Lexington – 3rd – 2nd – 1st (EAST)
Beside your feet, here are the options to discover New York:
The subway: easily accessible, well-connected, working 24/7, you just need to know a couple of things:
- How to recognize the express among the local trains. A local stops at every station, while an express will only serve the one marked with a white circle. (Don’t panic, you’ll take the wrong train at least once, and you’ll see your station pass with a specific mix of astonishment and bitterness in the eyes!)
- The metro works on a “downtown” and “uptown” system. Want to go “up” in the City (heading north)? Take uptown. Want to go “down” in the City (heading south)? Take downtown. And if there is no train heading in the right direction where you are, just cross the street!
- A ride will cost you $2.75, local or express, for 1 stop or 25. You can change subway as often as you want without paying, as long as you stay underground.
- You can buy a few different kind of metro cards, unlimited passes for 3 or 7 days, or rechargeable. Info are here.
You can also download a subway map on your phone, preferably one you’ll be able to consult offline. For instance this one, for Android.
A ride costs $2.75 per person, no matter the distance, as long as you don’t leave the station. You can buy a card that you will refill as soon as needed or an Unlimited for a certain amount of days. All the infos are here.
The cabs: the light on the cab indicates if it’s busy or not.
Lights on: free. Lights off: occupied. And to stop one, you do it just as you’ve seen in the movies: on the road, arm in the air. Try to be on busy avenue or street and, if possible, with the traffic heading to the direction you want to go. Prices depends on the destination.
Uber is cheaper for long ride. From $35, it’s better to take an Uber than a cab.
The bus will also be local or express, but taking an express bus will be way more expensive ($6.50 for an express ride and $2.75 for a local). And to be honest, I still don’t really get how buses are working!)
Riding a bycicle is a nice way to discover New York. However, try to use a bicycle only in reserverd zones, as Central Park, on the paths around the island, along the rivers or in the others boroughs. Riding a bike in Manhattan (and especially in Midtown) is dangerous, between the delivery guys in a hurry, the crazy cabs, the “I don’t care I’m walking” people and the mad drivers!
Check with your hotel if they can lend you bikes or visit this link to learn about Citibike.
Reaching Manhattan from the airport
From Newark: Start with taking a deep breath, and hit the bathroom before leaving the airport, it could save your life! You’ll need to do Newark airport > Newark (bus, taxi, train) then Newark > Manhattan (PATH) and then subway, cab or your little feet. You can also take the Amtrack directly to Penn Station, but prepare to sell a kidney for it ($12.50 one way, per person!)
From Laguardia: Take the bus from the airport to the subway station (number 7) then take the one towards Manhattan. As for the tickets, I am not sure where you’ll find a machine to buy it. ($5.50 per person.)
From JFK: take the AirTrain to the subway station, then the subway to Manhattan. Try to take an Express and, if needed, change to a local in Manhattan. ($7.75)
You can also take a cab. There is a flat rate and it will cost you something like $70.
Also, if you get lost, don’t hesitate to ask someone on the street. New Yorkers are always in a rush, but also really helpful to help a lost person. And please, please, don’t open your huge map in the middle of the sidewalk!
A question? A remark? A suggestion? A missing info? Comment or send me a message with the contact form!