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New York City with children.: ,taxis,water taxis ,buses and subways.

New York City with children.: ,taxis,water taxis ,buses and subways.

Old May 4th, 2010, 03:19 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 4,074
New York City with children.: ,taxis,water taxis ,buses and subways.

Hello, Thank you all for great previous responses regarding this trip.
I am facing now the reality of using public transportation for a large family .
We are not planing to go together to all places, so I am focusing only in the scenario of two parents and four children, aged 4-8-10 and 14 years old going around.

No. 1 Taxis --Two taxis seem the only solution. One parent in each taxi. Any other idea>?

No.2 buses and subways---

I do need help from local Newyorkers, what is the best card, pass, ....they can buy?
(total stay 6 days)
THey prefer to take buses versus subways when possible.

No.3.Water taxi. ---Ideally we would like to take a water taxi , Saturday morning from Affinia 50
to the head of Brooklyn Bridge and then walk to Manhattan. Is this possible>? I am a little lost regarding water taxis since I have been unable to get any help in the internet.

Thank you all.
Graziella5b is offline  
Old May 4th, 2010, 05:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 620
Here is the web site for the water taxi:


However, they are updating the maps right now, so you can't get agood idea of all the stops. I remember they have a hop on hop off price if you think you will be using it very much, and then prices per ride. I think the kids would like it, and with the warm weather, at least it's on the water. I remember going from South Street Seaport to Fulton Ferry for the walk back to Manhattan. They have lots of different scheduled stops to lots of areas, but the map is down right now. There is a phone number listed and you could find out more from them, and possibly get them to send you a map with their routes. Under "commuters" there is a map with yellow dots showing their stops where you could get maps. There is a stop at E35th street, but that looks like the closest right now to the Affinia 50.
JADSJBD is offline  
Old May 4th, 2010, 06:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,197
If you plan to take more than 2 trips a day, then it's probably better to buy an unlimited one-week Metrocard for each person ($27). If the 4 year-old is under 44 inches tall, he/she does not have to pay for either the bus or subway.

During the day, it's actually better to take the subway most places because you avoid traffic. If you insist on taking the bus everywhere, then it's generally going to take you twice as long. So that's really your call. I live on the east side and take the bus a lot, but I'd always do the subway when possible.

At night, especially after 10, you might want to take cabs, but that's going to really cost you.

So-called "water taxis" are not water taxis. They are ferries and go along set routes. None is convenient to your hotel (you'd have to take the bus to 35th Street/2nd Ave and walk to the river then a 15- to 20-minute ride from there ... a total of about 40 minutes minimum, not including waiting time). It's also really expensive (over $5 per ride, plus the cost of the bus). Not worth it in my opinion, but again, that's your call; it might very well be about the same price to take two taxis. Of course if you have a one-week Metrocard, then you have already paid for the bus ride, so that's not a factor for this trip.
doug_stallings is offline  
Old May 4th, 2010, 06:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,715
Children under 44" tall ride NYC transit (subways and buses) free. I'm sure that means the 4 yr old is free. It really depends on how much you think you're going to use taxis as to which metrocard is best. A 7 day card is $27 each for unlimited rides for both subway and bus. http://www.mta.info/metrocard/mcgtreng.htm#unlimited
That means you need to make more than 12 trips in order for it to pay out. I'd guess this would be easy, but not if you plan to use a lot of taxis. The benefits to the pay as you go metrocard is that it can be used by more than one person and you can always add money to it. So instead of buying say 4 or 5 x $27 you could buy one or two for $20 each.

Look at estimated prices for taxis on hopstop.com or nyccabfare.com for some of the trips you anticipate. I don't think 2 cabs makes a lot of sense unless you've got very cranky kids or are very far east or west. Btw, I also like buses but they are slow.

As far as the water taxi, ASSUMING THEY CONTINUE THE SAME SERVICE as they've had in past years, if you use it to go only 1 stop, like you did last time from the Seaport to Brookyn, it's a reduced price of ~ $10/person. To go more than 1 stop, you'll pay the hop on/off price which might be fun for that day. But JADSJBD is correct, the nearest stop to your hotel is 35th st. & the East River. I am concerned that they've removed the hop on/off map from their website (supposedly for updating) and they're not offering an option to buy hop on/off tickets online. It's possible the service is being discontinued. By this date it should be up and running.
mclaurie is offline  
Old May 4th, 2010, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,005
A couple of weeks ago, we had been to NYC and found public transportation really crappy: intransparent fare system, rude and incompetent agents, closed subway stations and other problems.

There are some connections, where the subway works best, including the trip to the Brooklyn side of Brooklyn Bridge.

Otherwise, we found ourselves increasingly hailing taxis for comfort and, yes, speed (you stick in traffic jams but at least you are sitting comfortably in a car instead of standing at a bus station and waiting for the bus).

Taking two taxis won't be any problem for you and if you are not riding more than 3 or 4 miles, the fare is reasonable. Sometimes, a town car or another type of limo would offer a ride. Then you have to negotiatice the price before boarding the vehicle.
Echnaton is offline  
Old May 4th, 2010, 10:13 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Buses are NOT the way to go in Manhattan - the trffic is often so heavey that they are o faster than walking. So - if less than a mile walk. If more take the subway. Cabs are OK for late at night, but realize you may wait a few minutes for a second one.

The "water taxi" is a huge ferry with limited stops and not cheap. there is none near your hotel. Unless they come up with a route perfect for you I would use the subway to get to Brooklyn (faster) and take the free Staten Island Ferry to get great vews of the harbor, Statue of Liberty and skyline of downtown.

As for the transit system being"crappy" it carries ore than a million people a day - and to use it you did need to use the maps and understand the fares (as in any large city). buses are NOT optimal trnsit except for short distances and outsie of midtown - due to traffic as noted above.
nytraveler is offline  
Old May 4th, 2010, 10:32 AM
Join Date: May 2007
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In 2008 over 1.6 billion rides were taken on the NYC subway. Obviously someone figured out how to use the systen.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Old May 4th, 2010, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,281
I took a Water Taxi a few weeks ago from Pier 11 (wall street, near the Seaport) to 35th street. It was $5.50 and it is not a huge ferry. It was a nice ride and fun for a novelty. It went from Pier 11 to Fulton Landing, then Williamsburg and on to 35th street. For me it was cheaper than a cab because I was alone. I'm not sure I would go out of my way to take it but it was nice for a change and it was going exactly where I needed it. I'm not sure if it would have been cheaper if I got off at one of the earlier stops.

I would definitely take subways over buses. Look at the map online beforehand to prepare a little bit. I'll make no excuses for the appalling attitudes of some MTA workers but there are more good than bad and you'll find other passengers to be of great help when navigating the system
Dohlice is offline  
Old May 4th, 2010, 01:02 PM
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>>>to use it you did need to use the maps and understand the fares
Echnaton is offline  
Old May 4th, 2010, 02:41 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 26,710
The NYC subway is very different than in other cities. It was originally private lines that were purchased and consolidated. That is why there is a concentration of stops in certain areas.

On the weekends service is regualrly interrupted for track work, but unless there is some extarordinary situation, there is never track work in Manhattan week days between 5 AM and midnight.

I ahve not posted these in a while but here are the rules for the Subway. Someone else can fill you in on the variations on the Metrocars.

Rules of the Subway

The NYC subway system is an amalgam of lines that were once privately owned and were purchased by the government to unite them. This explains why there is duplication in many areas and no trains in other areas. The line that King Kong destroyed is now underground.

With a few exceptions the subways in Manhattan run north/south. Almost all, except those that go to the Bronx, will eventually make a turn into Brooklyn or Queens. The two Manhattan trains that only run east/west are the shuttle from Times Square to Grand Central and the L train that runs along 14th street.

There are green and red globes at the entrance to many stations. Green supposedly means open all the time and red means sometimes. Sometimes vary form station to station. Some have mechanical card readers without token booths others are just closed. But red is usually open during week day business hours. Got that.

Transfers occur at many stations. Some transfers are across the platform, others on another level, while others are an interminable walk through corridors which vary from extremely crowded to ill light and very lonely. The main transfers are usually madhouses at all times.

The subway runs all day, all night every day including Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan. If you are lucky there will be more trains during rush hour.

Do not expect to understand any announcement through the PA system. Do not expect an explanation regarding delays. And if they do make an announcement, do not necessarily believe them.

Many newer trains have peppy computer voices announcing the stations. Very un-NY. There are usually correct. On the newer trains there is also an electronic linear map showing the line and stops. That is usually right. There are, however, large lit arrows that show the general direction and they are often pointing in the wrong direction.

If you miss your stop, you will not die, even if you wind in Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx. Well maybe the Bronx. Just get off at the next stop but there is the rub. Not every stop has a corridor which connects trains in both directions so you may have to exit, go upstairs, cross the street, descend again and pay another fare. Although there are major exceptions, this is often true on the local lines where are there are few transfers.

There are basically two types of trains, expresses and locals. Expresses stop at designated stops while locals stop at every station. There are times when the local is actually faster. When there is a problem, locals can run on the express tracks and vice versa. Sometimes during extenuating circumstances stations will be skipped. If you are lucky an announcement will be made. (See above rule regarding PA announcements.) And during those times you might be standing on a platform watching a train pass you by. If a train blows its whistle as it enters the station, it often means it ain’t stopping.

Many students take the subway to school. Many travel as hordes when school lets out. 99.9% of the kids are just being kids. Do not be afraid. As I get older, I realize how frightening we were as kids to adults.

A serious note: Unfortunately, the subway system is not designed for the disabled. All stations have stairs and the few that have escalators or elevators are unreliable.

Never ask how to use the machines that dispense MetroCards beforehand. Always stand in front of the machine as long as possible so a line can grow behind you. Hint to tourists: If the person has not moved their hands in fifteen minutes, get on another line.

Always crowd the person in front of you at the turnstile. Not every turnstile works and pirouettes can occur.

The MetroCard turnstile swipe is an art form. Sometimes the first swipe will not work. (Although them seem to be working better later.) And do not be surprised that after multiple swipes, if you are charged for two trips.

You can get a MetroCard at almost all subway entrances, especially at the larger stations. Some entrances just have turnstiles. You cannot get one on a bus, even though you need one or exact fare. Currently the fare is $2.25, no matter the distance and you can transfer to one bus up to two hours from entering the subway.

Of course, all Metrocards have restrictions since they issued by a bureaucracy.

Getting Directions
New Yorkers who barely know their name know the subway lines in Manhattan but few know the subway in the boroughs, other than the one where they live. Always ask for directions, NY’ers are always proud to display their subway knowledge. Conversely, NY’ers only know the bus lines they use and have no clue where the other buses go.

The MTA is installing directional plaques in the ground just outside of some stations.

Above each platform are signs that identify the trains which will stop at the station and the general direction. Do not be alarmed that the signs say, Brooklyn Queens, or the Bronx, it is the general direction. Downtown means south and uptown means, well you get the drift.

There are no subway maps above ground. So you will have to descend to into a station to read one.

Riding the Rails

Entering the train can be a bit of free for all. The victory goes to the swift. If you dawdle people will push in front and not many will say things like “Excuse me Sir/Madam, but may I get ahead of you.” At rush hours, people will push from behind and you can be carried with the tide. If you have children, hold their hands and make plans if you get split up. I do this with adults, who so not know the train if someone should miss their stop. (Not hold their hand but make alternate plans.)

Do not stare at people. This is not a joke. It can be interpreted as impolite or worse.

Do not emulate NY’ers who:
1. Lean on the pole so no one else can hold on. It has been known to hold the pole in a certain way so that the knuckles of one’s hand in the back of the slob.
2. Transport their refrigerator during rush hours. People carry all sorts of objects all the time.
3. Read the New York Times spread open, with their splayed open taking up two seats. (This is a male specialty.)
4. Stand with your bike and take up the room of six people. I will never understand, if you have a bike, why you are taking the train. I would, however, like to borrow their helmet sometimes.
5. Don’t shower and wear muscle shirts.
6. The subway is not your living room, move your butt to the wall if you want to speak on the phone.

You can do just about anything in NYC but do not block a subway car door. When the train stops, the doors open, and you are blocking them there are many choices: make yourself small, get off the train so there is room and then get back on, move to the center, or be prepared to be bounced and cursed. It is prime spot to stand, own it with pride.

Do not say to your fellow passenger, this is like being in a sardine can. We have probably heard that before.

There will be people selling candy, others God. It is your choice to engage them in conversation.

Getting off

It as important to know the stop before as it is to know the stop you need. The stop before warn all your friends and relatives. Know which side the doors will open. Most doors on an express open on the right. On the local trains, the doors usually open on the right on local stops and on the left on express stops. This is a rule of thumb.

Another rule of thumb regards, people not moving out of the way. Say, “excuse me,” loudly. If they do not move after the second “Excuse me” you have my permission to push your way through the crowd.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Old May 4th, 2010, 02:45 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
The difference is that in NYC the subways run 24/7/365 - so that repairs have to done while the service is in use. That's why on weekends - when use is much lighter - they do repairs. It changes every weekend - but you can find info online and at any major stop. (If you don;t bother to find that out, yes, you will be disappointed. Just like if you try to take the subway in London at 2 am - it doesn't exist.)

Most other subway systems do NOT run 24/7 - so they have the option to do repairs when not in use. But that wouldn't work in NYC.

I agree that NYC transit is not perfect - but I have taken pubic transit in all of the cities mentioned (which is often newer - and more expensive except for Moscow) - it is paid for by the government. The MTA is paid for by New Yorkers - and is the best balance of cost and service given our public budgt. Tourists wanting better service, newer trains etc - should suggest that some of the money the federal government puts towards giant highways in places with no people - instead put the money into a public transit system serving a metro area with 25 million.
nytraveler is offline  
Old May 4th, 2010, 03:19 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,391
Echnaton - you were so busy trying to nickel and dime for senior fares that you never bothered with unlimited ones. That taxi money could have paid for restaurants.

And face it the seniors in your group really wanted to ride in taxis. Weekends are a challenge for those of us who live here. There is track work.

aduchamp and nytraveler are saying it all. The federal government should be spending more money on mass transit in Metropolitan areas and less on highways in places with no people.
SueNYC is offline  
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