New York is a city that is constantly moving, and never sleeps. While this can be a great experience for tourists, it’s also a hassle when you get stuck in traffic. This last short trip I’ve gone on marked my 12th visit to the city so I’m comfortable with commuting from any airport to the different boroughs. For this trip, I was traveling from La Guardia Airport (LGA) to Midtown Manhattan, specifically Hearld Square (think: world’s largest Macy’s).
Let me begin by pointing out some options for those traveling to New York from the airport and do not have a hotel shuttle, aren’t renting a vehicle, or are not getting picked up by a family member of friend:
- Taxi – The infamous and iconic yellow taxis of New York City. Follow the ground transportation signs to the taxi line-up. You will let the dispatcher know your destination and he will give you your receipt with a set price. To get to uptown, midtown, or lower Manhattan from LGA can cost anywhere between $25.00 to $50.00 depending on traffic and location.
- Private car/van service – This has been my personal choice of transportation (I like the roominess and comfort of the vehicles). There are several companies you can book with:
- Shuttle Services – Shared service options with different policies, ranging in price based on destination and time of travel. Some are door-to-door with multiple drop-offs or a specific drop-off/pick-up location close to your hotel. There are a ton of options to book with, but here are some of the most popular options. Note: shared-ride services tend to take on average 1 to 2 hours between your pick-up and the time you arrive at your hotel.
- Lyft/Uber – Both options are available in the city, with Lyft seemingly being the more popular choice. Both ride booking apps are available for download on your mobile device.
- Bus and Subway
For this trip, I opted to take the bus and the subway. The New York Transit System website allows you to plan your trip and see scheduled service changes for specific trains. It also suggests which MetroCard option is best suited for your stay (I’m a fan of the 7-Day unlimited pass, even for short trips, at $31.00 USD, because I am constantly using the trains or bus as my primary mode of transportation). It’s important to note that MetroCards have an expiry date, a little over a year after purchase. This means that if you frequent NY, as I do, you can use the same MetroCard and simply reload it each time! MetroCards are purchased inside the airport terminal.
I learned on the last trip that taking the M60 requires you to scan your MetroCard and print off a boarding receipt. You do not have to do this with any other bus line – you just use your MetroCard as is. For this trip, I chose to take the Q70 LTD to Roosevelt Heights in Queens to take the express Brooklyn-bound F train. I got from the airport to midtown Manhattan in about 25 minutes, for what would be $2.75 fare.
Another tip I would suggest if you’re taking public transportation is to save a copy of the NYC bus and subway map on your phone and add it to Favourites for easy access. The subway maps and bus maps are available on all stops to reference, along with information about train/bus connections you can make at stops. The key thing to remember is orientation – are you heading uptown (literally going up the map) or downtown (down the map). It also helps to know the boroughs and where they are, so you know what direction you’re going in if you’re stepping onto a Bronx/Queens/Brooklyn bound train from your current location.
Best of luck, travelers, and happy travels!