Using Taxicabs and the Subway in NYC
March 31, 2010 5:57 AM   Subscribe

Using the subway and taxicabs in NYC without looking like a rube.

I'm going to NYC next week and I have an unnatural fear of looking like a hillbilly on his first trip into the "big city" (though this isn't far from the truth). Please share with me some tips on how to navigate the concrete jungle that is New York.

Specifically: how to hail a cab, how to estimate what my trip will cost, do cabs take credit cards (see, I told you. I'm a hayseed!), are there any "unwritten rules" that I should know?

And: what about the subway? Is it polite to give your seat to older people and ladies? Is it required? Are there areas of the subway I should avoid? Should I avoid riding it late at night?

Thanks in advance.
posted by ColdChef to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (72 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hailing a cab: look at the top of the cab. There is a light there, with three parts to it, a center light, a left light, and a right light. If only the center light is lit, the cab is available. How to hail the available cab: stick your hand out; the cab driver understands this and will pull over.

Make sure you tell him the corner of the address you are going to, for example, "75th & Park Ave", not "830 Park Ave." Etc. It's up to you to know which side of the street your destination is.

Subways: don't jam up the turnstile areas trying to look at your map; people will get very pissed off at you very quickly. If you're lost, find a cop and ask him or her where you are.

How much experience do you have riding other big cities' subways (and places like Washington, DC and Los Angeles are not big cities for the purpose of this question.) Think London or Tokyo. If you have any experience riding these systems use the lessons you learned there. By and large the NYC subway system is very safe, though later at night there are places where you could be walking down a tunnel by yourself, and if you're not familiar with it, that's not a great feeling.
posted by dfriedman at 6:01 AM on March 31, 2010


Actually, this site has some good info on hailing a cab. And it points out that you should avoid gypsy cabs.

Doubtless someone will come along, though, and say that the only cabs you should hail are gypsy cabs. Don't listen to that person.
posted by dfriedman at 6:06 AM on March 31, 2010


Cabs: A cab with the light off means it's full. A cab with off-duty lit up means it's off-duty. Don't bother hailing those two. A cab with numbers lit is available for hire.

Most cabs take credit cards. Some drivers will tell you that their machine is broken; don't fall for it. (The cabbies have to pay the credit card fee, so they don't like to take the cards. I think as an epidemic, this refusal to do so is mostly over, but just in case.) Taxi fares are available here.

I use the subway more than 99% of the time and only take cabs to the airport in the middle of the night. Subway and bus fare is $2.25 per ride unless you get an unlimited card. Buses will give you a return pass for free (you must use it within two hours) but you have to ask for it. Buses require a metrocard or exact change, no bills and no pennies.

An unlimited metrocard is probably your best bet. If you're here for more than four days, get the unlimited weekly for $27--after 12 rides, you've got your money back. When entering the turnstiles, have your card in your hand and know which way to hold it (with the notch in the upper right hand corner, stripe facing you). Swipe at a medium-fast speed, don't be too hesitant or the machine won't read it. Also, pay attention to what side of the subway you enter--if you want to go downtown, but you enter on the uptown side, you will need to exit and enter again on the other side of the station--most stations do not have a way to get from one side to the other. If you swipe an unlimited card at the wrong side, you have to wait 18 minutes before you can try again.

Getting on the train, allow people to exit the train before you try to get on. It's certainly polite to offer your seat to the elderly or pregnant women (make sure they're pregnant) or women with kids but you are not required to. (You do have to give up your seat for the disabled on buses.) A lot of women (myself included most of the time) might refuse your seat anyway; standing up on the subway is something we're very used to, and I don't mind after sitting at my desk for eight hours anyway. I ride the subway 24 hours a day.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:07 AM on March 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you stay at a hotel, and the man working out front (the bellhop?) hails you a cab, you should tip him.

Pay attention to the lit-up numbers on the side of the subway train when it arrives because sometimes multiple lines run on the same tracks.
posted by cranberrymonger at 6:10 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Keep in mind that in various parts of New York City, there are numbered streets and numbered avenues, and furthermore that the 'East' or 'West' part of the street name can be important. When obtaining directions, or when giving an address to a cab, it is therefore very important to be precise. Unlike some cities, such as center-city Philadelphia, street addresses do not directly correspond to cross-streets. Thus, 750 6th Avenue is not near 7th Street. When getting subway directions, be sure to try to get the cross streets.

In terms of giving up seats and so forth, there are really so many people who have so many different backgrounds that people mostly won't notice. I used the same try-to-be-polite manners in NYC that I was raised with in rural Pennsylvania. Big-city rules tend to apply - don't wave your money around, use common sense, etc. When I last lived in NY, VERY FEW cabs took credit cards (and those that had the card pics on the side of their cabs often professed that the machine was broken), but that was a couple of years ago, things may have changed.

Sometimes, when you are hailing a cab, a 'car service' will pull over and offer you a ride. A cab is a yellow, metered car charging a base fee and then mileage. A 'car service' is usually a dark towncar, unmetered, charging a flat fee. I normally tell novices to avoid the car service - they can easily overcharge you if they sense you don't know the rules. Stick to yellow cabs, unless you are in outer boroughs and they are unavailable, in which case you can call a car service. But don't accept rides from random people in unmarked cars who pull over and make offers.
posted by bunnycup at 6:11 AM on March 31, 2010


Never been to NYC, but on the subject of general subway etiquette:

Offering your seat to ladies isn't done and would be kind of weird, but it's polite to offer it to older people, anyone with small children, and obviously pregnant women. Like eight or nine months pregnant. (Once I was wearing a skirt that was a little too tight across the stomach and someone on the train offered me a seat, and I nearly cried.)

What you do need to do is be conscious of taking up space on the train. If there's nowhere to sit, stand towards the center or end of the train, away from the doors. Do what you can to move out of the way when people are getting on and off - sometimes it's awkward and nearly impossible, but do what you can. The most aggravating thing that tourists do is get on the train and stand right in front of the doorway, usually in clusters of three or four with all their backpacks and suitcases and crap.

If the train is relatively empty, it's okay to put your bags on the seat next to you, but if you see it starting to fill up, move your bag off the seat before anyone asks you. Keep all your stuff as close to you as you can, not just for security but also so people won't be tripping on your suitcases.

If you do get a seat, don't sit with your knees really far apart like you're trying to air out your nads. It takes up a lot of the space of the person next to you.

Most large cities have train lines that are relatively safe and lines that are less safe; someone more familiar with NYC can sort those out for you.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:14 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


how to estimate what my trip will cost

I'd guess that cab drivers aren't as likely to pull the Westchester County rate scam after all the publicity it received a couple of weeks back, but you might want to double-check that the meter's set to code number 1.

Otherwise: as a visitor, with plenty of experience of other big cities' systems, the most confusing bits of the NYC Subway were the distinction between local and express services (and the presence of skip-stop services). If you're travelling longer distances, the express may speed your journey, but taking the local means you're assured of the train stopping at the stop you want.
posted by holgate at 6:16 AM on March 31, 2010


I think the main thing is that New Yorkers are exceedingly forgiving of people looking like rubes so long as you don't get in anyone else's way or waste their time.

If you want to look at your big subway map, that's great--just make sure people can pass you. If you're not sure of the address when you get in the cab, at least say, "I'm going uptown, let me confirm the address--start the meter."

All the rest of the info above is helpful, too.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:16 AM on March 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


Yes you can pay by credit card. There is a video screen facing you (on the back of the front seat). It will show the map (plus ads & sound - which you can turn off) - when you get to your destination , tell the driver you are charging it. A screen with the fare will appear- swipe your card, press the % tip to be added + approve it. Ask for a receipt.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:16 AM on March 31, 2010


I can only dream of being a New Yorker, but I can offer this advice, which is relevant for all big cities: Know which side of the escalator is for standing, and which side is for walking. A quick googling suggests that in New York, you stand on the right and walk on the left. (In Sydney, we stand on the left, and I've often seen tourists getting shoved around by angry commuters for inadvertently blocking their path).
posted by embrangled at 6:17 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just make sure you know a good coroner in the area in case you don't make it out alive. Just sayin'.

Another note on hailing a cab - don't ignorantly walk out 20-30 feet down-traffic from someone who's already been standing there waiting to hail a cab. If you see someone standing there already trying to get one, cross the street and hail from the other side, or walk down to the next closest cross street and hail there. Its not worth getting in a fight with someone over who hailed which cab first, so if you get in a touchy situation where someone else thinks its "their cab" - just smile and open the door for them. You can hail the next one.

Don't bother trying to get one if its raining, you'll wait forever - just try to find the nearest subway.

Almost all cabs take credit cards now. Pro-tip: they will automatically give you options for tips starting at 15%, 20%, and 25% (!!!). Don't feel like you have to tip more than 10%, unless the cabby did a particularly great job - you can manually enter your tip amount if you play around with the menu a bit.

The subway really is pretty incredibly safe these days, at least in the more central sections of mid-town. Its when you get out towards the ends of some lines, and late at night, that you'd want to generally avoid.

I'd broaden what dfriedman said about not jamming up the turnstile area to not jamming up ANY area. I can't stand walking anywhere near Times or Herald Squares or the Empire State Building just because of the scores of tourists standing in groups in the middle of the friggin sidewalk gawking at the sky with their slack jaws hanging open. Ahem. Don't be that guy - step to the edge of the sidewalk, near a light pole or garbage can, something that gets you out of the way of the flow of foot traffic. Same goes for the subway, whether entering or exiting or just waiting for a train.

Just be conscious of your surroundings but not overly-awed, and you'll be fine. New Yorkers really are a fine lot of people and you can get help from almost any old soul on a subway platform if you're having trouble figuring out which train, or if you're on the uptown or the downtown side, or what have you.

If you have a phone or Blackberry with google maps, that can be INCREDIBLY useful for searching, finding subway stations, nearest cross streets to where you want to go, etc.. Second best option to that is popping into any Barnes and Noble and finding those credit-card sized subway and street-map guides that they sell at the front counter. Then you can look like you're peering at something in your wallet instead of pulling out the whole map on the train. Oh, and most train cars have at least one or two maps posted on the wall, near the door. Its not rude to lean a little bit over the person sitting in front of the map to get a better look, they'll understand what you are doing.

And yes, giving your seat up to an elderly or pregnant person or a mom with kids is always polite, no matter where you are. You can get ticketed for taking up more than one seat with your feet, your bags, etc.. Crossing between cars at any time is also illegal, although people still do it.

Don't forget - NYC also has a fully functioning bus system, and depending on where you need to get to (crossing the park at 66th street for example), it can be a great alternative to the train.

And if you don't want to look like a hillbilly, pack a lot of black clothes. Ya hick. :)
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:18 AM on March 31, 2010


If you have an iphone, Itrans NYC is a great enhanced subway map. I use it all the time.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:23 AM on March 31, 2010


wrt your “unnatural fear of looking like a hillbilly”: Keep in mind that New York is, at any given moment, full of people from all over the world, visiting for all kinds of reasons. As an out-of-towner, you may worry that you will stand out as only non-New-Yorker on the subway. But New York is full of people from everyone. Many of them aren’t even rubes! You won’t be the only one trying to figure out the subway. You may still want to do some advanced learning if that's fun for you. But don't imagine that people are all going to be rolling their eyes at you if you're on the subway looking at a map... The DJ visiting from Tokyo and the photojournalist from Berlin will be doing the same thing.
posted by ManInSuit at 6:23 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


My info, as a frequent visitor.

Cabs:
  • A lot of streets and avenues are one-way. It's a waste of money to hail a cab on one going the wrong way when you can just walk over a block.
  • There's a mute button on the screen in back. Use it.
  • Cabbies are generally not interested in chatting except on their Bluetooth headset.
  • My rides always cost $10-15, between the get-in charge, the night surcharge, the tip, and that I wouldn't use one for a short trip.
Subway:
  • Finding the subway can be hard when you're just walking around. In Manhattan, there are long lines under Lexington, 8th Ave, and Broadway, so you can walk up/down them to find a station. Or you could ask someone, I guess.
  • Subways run all night, but that doesn't mean they run often.
  • Hardest part is getting your bearings after you get off the subway. I do not have any magic tricks for this, other than to look at the detailed map near the subway exit.
  • You don't swipe your card when leaving the subway in NYC, unlike many other metros.
  • HopStop for subway directions.

posted by smackfu at 6:25 AM on March 31, 2010


I've started visiting NYC recently for work and also wonder about a lot of these things. I took cabs quite a bit on my first few visits but it's expensive and sometimes traffic kept me just sitting forever as the fee continued to climb.

I did the $27 unlimited metro card on my last trip and it was great. I rode all over the city (mostly before 9pm) and never felt uncomfortable or worried. If you're planning on doing the metro thing, it would help to check out the subway map beforehand to try and plan your day trips. It's pretty easy to read and will save you lots of confusing time in the subway station trying to figure things out. Also, people are very helpful if your questions are quick and simple..."is this the way to the Green line downtown?" They'll know you're from out of town because you'll probably goof up the verbiage, but they'll understand what you want and be able to direct you.

Make sure to catch a cab going in the direction you want to go. Some of the streets are 1-way and so you might have to walk an extra block to get going in the right direction but it will save you money on cab fare. Most of them accept credit cards and you just swipe them from your seat in the back. Also, look for major streets with lots of cabs when you're trying to hail one. Avoid them at rush hour because you'll just sit in traffic and the subway is a better bet.

A few questions I have about cabs - where exactly is the best place to stand to safely hail a cab? Let's assume that I'm at a major intersection and wanting to head north. Should I stand on the north or south corner of the street? Does it even matter?
posted by victoriab at 6:31 AM on March 31, 2010


Biggest thing is to follow this rule- lead, follow or get out of the way. Nobody really cares if you are a rube as long as you stay out of their way. If you are in a cluster of people and don't know where you are going, keep up until you can duck out without causing trouble. My own biggest fault is forgetting this- I will exit a train, escalator or stairway and stop too closely to the exit and do the "where the fuck am I" looking around thing.

Instead of trying to divine whether someone is pregnant enough or old enough to justify giving a seat to them, just offer your seat to anyone who seems to be struggling more than you are. Remaining seated and saying "do you want my seat" is not an offer. Get up and make the offering gesture to them.

My biggest confusions in Manhattan were knowing which goddamned trains went where I was going. There are stations where multiple lines run and might seem to be the right train, but skip your stop for some unknown reason. Or, hilariously, change platforms depending on the time of day. And the other fun thing is that one underground station actually might lead to multiple above-ground stops. You can end up being blocks from where you thought you were going to be just by taking the wrong staircase. Not then end of the world, just go with the flow.

Learn the street addressing scheme of the area you are in so you can re-vector toward your destination.
posted by gjc at 6:31 AM on March 31, 2010


Be sure when entering a full-length turnstile to enter through the correct space. I've seen so many people push the space they're supposed to walk through in front of them, using up their payment without going through the gate. The key is to walk straight- do not pull the bar wall on your left in front of you, that'll lock you out.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:34 AM on March 31, 2010


Using the subway and taxicabs in NYC without looking like a rube.

Don't whistle. There's no way a cab driver can hear any sound you make until you actually get in the cab. Use hand signals instead.

Talk to the cab driver (once you are in the cab): ask about the economy, how things are going this week, etc. Cab drivers are often unexpectedly interesting people and frequently great conversationalists. Talking to the cab driver might mark you out as a rube, but the results are usually great enough that they are worth it.


On the subway, get used to standing. Don't lock your knees, keep them slightly bent as though you are surfing. Hold on to one of the vertical bars if you can. Find the route map in the car and look at that rather than the paper subway map. Get a subway map if you can find one, and consult it in your hotel room.


In any city, you need to be constantly aware of the people around you without staring directly at them. Don't invade their space, but also don't stare up at the sky or at a big billboard unless you are clearly out of everyone's way.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:35 AM on March 31, 2010


Seconding iTrans NYC. The advantage is it stores the maps and can calculate directions without internet access, which is exceedingly useful when you are underground. It only does station-to-station without net access, but it's saved my butt more than a few times.

Pro-tip for taxis: don't ask them if they'll take you somewhere. If they ask you, don't answer, see if the door's unlocked. Once you're in the cab, they have to take you, but if you say you're going to Brooklyn, they're likely to speed off. Sometimes cabbies are dicks.

If you have an iPhone 3GS with the compass, you'll be damn glad you do, as smackfu says above, finding your bearings can be a bit tough. A pocket compass could be useful, but maybe make you stand out a bit too much.

As for looking like a rube, don't be a dummy and you'll be fine.
posted by CharlesV42 at 6:36 AM on March 31, 2010


Buses will NOT give you a "return pass" for free. If you pay by coins a bus driver can give you a paper metrocard looking transfer card that is only good for 2 hours and only works on buses with a different final destination and on a different route.

Also, ALL yellow cabs are required to take credit cards. If a black limo stops when you're hailing a cab I recommend that you don't get in as they don't take credit cards and overcharge like crazy.

If you're going to buy a new metrocard for 2.25 from a Metrocard machine you shouldn't as the machine will give you a paper metrocard that has no transfers on it and that is good for only 2 hours. Instead find an empty metrocard laying on the floor or somewhere (you'll find a ton of them in subway stations) and refill it with 2.25. That way you get the free transfer (bus to subway or subway to bus or bus to bus or, in some very limited locations, subway to subway.

Oh, also, the Staten Island ferry is free just so you know. I haven't seen anybody trying to scam tourists by selling tickets to it but, hey, you never know.

Oh, and on weekends the MTA makes seemingly random service changes to the subways so be prepared for mass transit confusion come weekend time.
posted by I-baLL at 6:38 AM on March 31, 2010


Sometimes a transfer from one train to another, even within the same station but especially when they're separate stations connected (on the map) with a back line, can mean a 10 minute underground walk.

The same turnstiles are used for entering and exiting the subway, so avoid head on collisions.

Lately I've been thinking that walking in New York City is like driving in other places, you have to be aware of and move with the speed of the traffic, and be assertive but predictable.
posted by Salamandrous at 6:44 AM on March 31, 2010


Fastest way to get mugged is to walk around looking up in awe at the sky scrapers with the slack-jawed look allkindsoftime mentioned. If you want to look at them, step to the side out of everyone's way, hold your personal belongings close to you, and then look up. But having said that - mugging really doesn't happen that often. It just doesn't hurt to be careful.

When crossing the street, don't assume that just because it's a one way street, you don't have to look both ways. That's a good way to get your head torn off by a bike messenger.

Make sure you have a pretty good idea of how far your destination is when you get in a cab. If the place you want is only 3 blocks away, your cabbie won't tell you. He'll just take you there and collect his money.

When hailing a cab, don't be timid. Don't just stick your hand out - stick it way out, up in the air, if you see an available cab. If you have a youngish, pretty female in your group, she'll generally have the best luck getting cabs.

And as allkindsoftime also said, wear black.

To not look like a hillbilly - walk quickly, and look like you know where you're going even if you don't. Be aggressive but not rude. Don't let anything surprise you. New Yorkers have seen it all, and if you express shock or surprise at anything, no matter how bizarre, you will be instantly outed as a non-New Yorker.

You have not really seen NYC if you don't try the street vendor pretzels, hot dogs, and Italian ices.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:50 AM on March 31, 2010


People in NYC are nowhere as rude or mean as they're being made out to be in this thread.

Understand that NYC is a huge, crowded city, with lots of people trying to move from Point A to Point B. Getting in their way will very understandably piss them off. Unless you're from the south, this is really no different than any other big city.

As a general rule of thumb, New Yorkers love to talk, and are usually pretty approachable. Depending upon how good of an empath you are, you can usually pick out a friendly-looking person to ask for directions if necessary.

Subway etiquette is a bit different, and kind of weird. Although anything goes on the platforms and in the station, once you're on the train, don't make eye contact with anybody that you don't know, and try not to have any loud conversations. Most lines run 24/7 (see the bottom of the map for a full schedule), and the system (and city in general) are extremely safe these days.

Also, study the subway map carefully. NYC has one of the most confusing subway systems on the planet. There were some attempts to draw a better map, although NYC's transit agency is extremely reluctant to part with the current design.
posted by schmod at 6:51 AM on March 31, 2010


People in NYC are nowhere as rude or mean as they're being made out to be in this thread.

Definitely not. New Yorkers love to give directions to tourists, because we love to be helpful AND we love to prove how smart we are. It never fails- a tourist will ask someone for directions on the subway, and 2 or 3 other people will jump right in, so they, too, can be a part of the conversation.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:54 AM on March 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'll nth the sentiment that as long as you rube it up (?) while not standing in main thoroughfares, everyone will be very understanding and kind. We really are nice! Just in a hurry. Reminders to not:
-be walking on a main thoroughfare in the station and suddenly stop or turn around
-get to the top or bottom of the stairs and just stop
-go through the turnstile and just stop

And as Salamandrous said: It might help to think of walking here like driving anywhere else. You would never just suddenly come to a stop on the freeway to check your map. You'd pull over. Same is true on the subway platform and sidewalks here.

And for real, ask anyone for directions if you're lost. New Yorkers tend to assume that you know what you're doing and will therefore leave you alone (this is also known as "are rude"), but should you ask for help, most everyone will be ready and willing to help.

Have fun!
posted by davidjmcgee at 6:55 AM on March 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, try your best to avoid the subways at rush hour, in either direction. If you must take the subway during rush hour, please move quickly. Remember that we live here, and have to get to work. :)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:56 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


victoriab: "is this the way to the Green line downtown?"

Just so's yous knows, only rubes call da trains by deah coluhs. We's yoose da numbahs an' lettas, stringin'em tagethuh, if we's haff tuh.

whew

ThePinkSuperhero: "we love to prove how smart we are"

Absolutely. Impressing the hayseeds with our encyclopedic knowledge of the subway is super fun.
posted by SirNovember at 7:11 AM on March 31, 2010


Another thing...be CAREFUL when crossing the street and do it only WITH the crossing signal or if you see a large group of native city folk crossing. Walk briskly and pay attention and this will keep you from getting mowed over by a bike, taxi, moving van, other people etc. The people that walk these streets all the time have an innate sense of when it's safe to cross but you won't, so play it safe.
posted by victoriab at 7:12 AM on March 31, 2010


victoriab: "is this the way to the Green line downtown?"

Just so's yous knows, only rubes call da trains by deah coluhs. We's yoose da numbahs an' lettas, stringin'em tagethuh, if we's haff tuh.


Hey, that was pretty fun to read out loud.

I think my accent would give it away before my mangled subway descriptions but do I say "Downtown 6" instead? Also, I always say metro stop...but I think that's something that also totally pegs me as a visitor right?
posted by victoriab at 7:19 AM on March 31, 2010


Here's more information than you ever really wanted to know about how to read a taxi meter to make sure you're getting the right fare (this will keep you from getting scammed as in holgate's comment). By the time I post this massive thing, much of this may already have been repeated by others.

Take a look at this picture of a NYC taxi meter, as well as this one. Though each one is laid out a little bit differently, they each have three main sections:
  1. RATE
  2. FARE $
  3. EXTRAS $
There is also a little light that says "HIRED" when a cab is in use. When you get into a cab for a ride within the limits of New York City, once the cabbie has started the meter, this is what you want to see:
  • RATE: 1. This is the Standard City Rate, the rate for all cab rides within the city, with the single exception of rides between Manhattan and JFK airport, which use Rate 2. If you are going anywhere in the city except JFK, and the RATE section reads anything other than 1, you are being charged the wrong fare.
  • FARE $: At the start of your ride, this should read 2.50, and under the Standard City Rate should increase in increments of $0.40.
  • EXTRAS $: This will vary depending on the time of day you get into the cab. Every ride (no matter what) will have Extras of at least $0.50 (it's a state tax). On weekdays, from 4pm-8pm, the EXTRAS should start at $1.50 (state tax + rush hour surcharge). Every day between 8pm and 6am, it should start at $1.00 (state tax + night surcharge). There is no surcharge for luggage.
  • The "HIRED" light should be lit.
You should familiarize yourself with the Taxicab Rider Bill of Rights:
As a taxi rider, you have the right to:
  • Pay for your ride with credit/debit card;
  • Go to any destination in NYC, Westchester, Nassau, or Newark Airport;
  • Direct the route taken: The most direct route or one of your choice;
  • A safe and courteous driver who obeys all traffic laws;
  • A knowledgeable driver who speaks English and knows City geography;
  • Air conditioning or heat on request;
  • A noise free trip: no horn honking or radio;
  • Clean air. smoke and scent free air;
  • Working seatbelts for all passengers;
  • A clean taxicab: interior, exterior and partition;
  • Be accompanied by a service animal;
  • A driver who does not use a cell phone while driving (hand-held or hands free);
  • Decline to tip for poor service.
Keep in mind that you likely won't find a cab that is in complete compliance when you get in; the point is that they should comply if you ask them to. (I've never had a cabbie say no to such a request.)

This is very important: if you see a cab that is available (only the center light on top is lit), get in as soon as it pulls over. Do not wait for the cab to approve your destination. An available cab is required to take you wherever you want to go within the New York City, Westchester and Suffolk Counties, or to Newark airport. (A cab that is off duty, with its "off duty" lights lit, may pull over for you, but is not required to take you.)

Always take your receipt. It will show you the fare and rate you were charged, and will give you the cab's medallion number should you need to make a complaint.

And speaking of complaints, you should call 311 to report a cab if:
  • it is available, but the cabbie refuses to take you to your destination
  • the cabbie will not comply with your requests to turn down music, get off the phone, etc.
  • the cabbie charged you the wrong rate
  • the cabbie does anything dangerous for you or other passengers (e.g., falling asleep at the wheel)

posted by ocherdraco at 7:19 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


You should also call 311 if the cabbie claims not to be able to take credit cards. Whenever calling 311, if you're able to, have the cabbie's name in addition to the cab's medallion number. Both are displayed on the upper left hand corner of the barrier inside the cab.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:22 AM on March 31, 2010


First of all, do not do that thing you do in the French Quarter where you say "Looking good!" to the ladies. You'll get your head bitten off.

Next, wear black and walk fast. Buy the unlimited Metrocard. Have phone numbers of lots of Mefites on your phone and call them when you get lost, preferably from a seated position on a barstool.

Lastly, I didn't look too much like a hick (or did I?) and I'm from Kentucky. If I can do it, you can do it.
posted by tizzie at 7:22 AM on March 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Re: cabs --

Only take yellow cabs. If any other colored car pulls over when you have your hand out, refuse them.

All yellow cabs are required to take credit cards. I suggest you use cards, and get a receipt every time. This will be helpful if you get overcharged, or forget something in the cab.

Once you are inside the cab, the driver is required to take you anywhere within the five boroughs. This includes going uptown when they feel like going downtown, or going uptown even though you hailed them on the downtown side of the street, or making multiple stops to drop more than one person off, or going to Staten Island or the depths of the Bronx. Say "You are required to take me anywhere in the 5 boroughs. If you refuse, I'll get out and get another cab and report you to the TLC (Taxi & Limousine Commission)." They'll take you.

(Does anyone know what happened to the Taxi Rider's Bill of Rights or whatever it was called? I don't see those anymore, stupid TV screens.)

Re: the subway --

I know everyone is talking about taking the subway at all hours, but I, a grown-up, am "not allowed" to take the subway after 10pm, per my native-NYer parents. Besides being less safe, especially for someone who is visibly unsure about where they're going or visibly a tourist, after 10 the trains all change routes and make weird stops, and you'll wind up in Brooklyn with someone trying to surreptitiously pull at your purse when you thought you were going to the UES.

When you're standing at the platform for the subway and the train pulls up, confirm with someone that the train stops at wherever you're going. Various trains making various combinations of stops and with various destinations can pull up at any platform at any time.

If you find that you've gotten on a train going the wrong direction, ask someone for help -- tell them that you need to turn around and ask which station you should go to. You can't always make a free U-turn at every station.

When you're up in the street, ask people where the closest subway is and tell them where you're trying to go.

Always ask for directions. People will be glad to help, but you'll need to ask. Pull out your map and have them show you if necessary. Asking for directions is not asking to get mugged or followed. The natives ask each other for directions, too.
posted by thebazilist at 7:22 AM on March 31, 2010


Gypsy cabs are fine, but make sure you and the driver agree on a price before you get into the car.
posted by mds35 at 7:26 AM on March 31, 2010


These are all good instructions, my only addition would be to make sure you walk quickly when you're on the sidewalks and stairs, and if you are bringing your family, walk single file or two by two when you are in a crowded area. The only tourists that annoy me are the 5-across packs that gawk at everything and block the whole sidewalk. If you walk slowly single file, I can weave around you much more easily.
Also, don't just stop on the sidewalk, you'll probably get rear-ended by the person behind you who is walking close to you trying to pass you. Instead, veer off to the side or into the bay of a store entrance and do your stopping and turning around and picture taking there!

You will be fine on the cab thing, if they ask you which bridge to take (if you're heading to Brooklyn) you will know you've blended well enough to be considered a NYer. The answer should be "whichever one has less traffic." Then you don't get tripped up or say something weird like a bridge that doesn't exist, and honestly the biggest difference the bridge will make is $2.50 anyway so it's ok if you or the cabbie chooses wrong.

Oh and don't smile or wave at people you don't know on the street unless they've done something for you like let you pass them or something. It is considered weird and creepy by most people here instead of polite and normal.

People do love to give directions but hate being asked for other things, so when you ask people, if you have a subway map out or some other obvious sign that you are lost, you will get nicer treatment. When looking for someone to ask directions of, choose the person without headphones who doesn't seem to be in a rush. You also don't have to make it a big story or long question, it's fine (and preferable to me) if you would, for instance, point to the subway track and say "it goes to Times square?"
For me, the "Excuse me, Miss..." opener usually leads to a gross come-on or a solicitation for money, so cutting straight to the directions chase is a relief.
posted by rmless at 7:27 AM on March 31, 2010


As a frequent visitor to NYC, I've never had any problems navigating the subway system (but I am a London Underground commuter, so I'm used to that type of transit). When going through the turnstile, be sure to swipe your Metrocard and then move forward quickly through the turnstile. You can't swipe it again once you've had the green 'Go' sign, unless you wait for 20 minutes or so. This is to stop people using the same ticket multiple times.

The buses I find a little more confusing, my main issue being that, not being used to traffic travelling on the left, I've lost my bearings and got on a bus going the wrong way before now. That should be a problem for you.

A cab from the airport (JFK, LaGuardia or Newark) will be a fixed price and there are signs at the airport telling you the price (IIRC $35 from JFK or LaGuardia into Manhattan). There will also be 'town cars' touting for business at the airport. I wouldn't recommend you take one of those, as a rip-off is more likely.

I've found New Yorkers to be friendly and helpful for the most part. But take care of your belongings. I once put a bag down at my feet and it was swiped. Luckily it didn't contain anything of value, but it was gone in a second. I'd recommend a 'manbag' that you can wear cross-body.
posted by essexjan at 7:28 AM on March 31, 2010


I always stand on the subway unless I'm on a very long ride (like, 10 or more stops) and most of the seats are empty. Then you don't have to worry about whether you're giving your seat up to the right people. Just make sure to hold onto a pole so you don't get jostled when the train starts.

I think the subway's pretty easy to use, but the hardest thing about it is that there isn't one clear name per subway stop. A stop will be named after a street, e.g. "Canal St.," so you have to look at your map and see, "Oh yeah, this stop is at Canal St." It helps to study the map before getting on the subway; be familiar not just with your two stops but at least some of the stops in between.

The subway trains show up much more infrequently late at night. It seems like you can wait around at least half an hour for yours to show up. This is the main reason I avoid the subway late at night (not safety -- I'm more worried about my safety if I'm walking around late at night in my town of 100,000 people). However, you should use the subway rather than cabs whenever possible, unless you enjoy spending lots of money.

Use the traffic lights as you would in any other city, and don't worry too much about whether you're acting like other people. On minor streets, people are apt to blithely saunter in front of oncoming traffic as if to show that they're real New Yorkers who always jaywalk.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:34 AM on March 31, 2010


victoriab, glad you liked it! Yes, "Downtown 6" is what you want. Or "Downtown 4-5-6" if the 4 and 5 (which are express in Manhattan, but end up in different places in Brooklyn and the Bronx) are both okay, too. (Uptown | Downtown) + (trains that work for you). The colors on the map are not lines, as they are other places. The lines are the numbers/letters.

Also, subway, not Metro. This ain't DC, Paris, or whatever. jk!
posted by SirNovember at 7:37 AM on March 31, 2010


Also, remember -- this is the biggest and most diverse city in America, and a huge tourist attraction. Is anyone going to be bothered by the fact that you're from the South and on your first trip to the city? I really doubt it. The tourists who are annoying aren't the ones who are a little confused in the subway and have to ask a stranger for directions; they're the ones wandering around with a camcorder in front of their eyes not looking where they're going. As long as you use common sense and don't get in people's way, you should be fine.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:41 AM on March 31, 2010


It's commendable that you don't want to look like a rube, but don't worry about looking like a tourist: you will, invariably, because that's what you are. No shame in being a tourist! (But yeah, wearing black helps you stick out a little less.)

A word on the subways: they've fantastic, most of the time. But if you are going to close out the bar (last call is 4 here, individual bars vary), you will likely want a cab back to your hotel, because they run much less frequently at night and on weekends. If you are staying in Brooklyn/Queens/Uptown, getting a cab home will likely be pretty pricey. It's worth it.

Memorize the names of the streets around where you are staying. If you are staying in BK or Queens (or Bronx or Staten, I suppose), memorize the names of the major streets around you. Most cabbies in New York don't know shit about the other boroughs.

Look both ways, even on one-way streets. Bicyclists go against traffic.

Do not be afraid to ask directions -- most New Yorkers, as everyone has mentioned, love to help. Keep the questions short and precise. Even better, don't ask how you get to a subway, ask how you get to the place you want to take the subway to.

Do not meander while you are walking in a subway station during rush hour. Especially if you are walking down a staircase.

Lastly! When you are almost at your stop on the subway (during busy hours), get up and go over to the door (or behind other people who are getting ready to get off). When it opens, it is your responsibility to get out quickly and deftly. This isn't just for the people trying to get on the subway: if you linger or are sitting or whatever, you will likely not be getting out through that exit, because 1000000 people will start to jam in the moment they have the opportunity to do so.

And double-lastly: when you get on a subway during rush hour, move toward the middle of the car. Please.

ENJOY YOUR STAY IN OUR CITY <3
posted by Damn That Television at 7:41 AM on March 31, 2010


I agree that the most confusing thing about the subway is the difference between the express and the local. Local trains stop at all stations, express trains only stop at express stations. (Express stations are the white dots on the subway map.) In the express stations, there will be a track for express trains and track for local trains, and they will be marked as such with overhead signs (but these signs can be confusing since some trains vary their express/local status depending on time of day).

The standard subway map doesn't make it that easy to tell which trains are express and which are local. On the MTA map, you have to look at the "Subway Service Guide" box at the bottom which tells you which trains are express & local at which times. The KickMap is designed to make it easier to tell which trains stop at which stations when, but I think the full map is only available as an iphone app.

Also, on weekends and late at night there are often service changes, which are listed on the MTAs website and via signs in the station. These signs can be difficult to parse but are pretty important, because they often mean that the train you meant to take is not coming or will be arriving on a different track or going to a different station than you expect.
posted by yarrow at 8:02 AM on March 31, 2010


Can't believe no one has explained uptown/downtown to you yet, as that's what confuses most people. Uptown means North. North means the street (not avenue) numbers go Up. When getting on an Uptown train, it means you are going North. This will also sometimes say, on subway entrances and platform signs, that you are heading either 'to the Bronx' or 'to Queens'. The subway will never ever tell you you are going North. It will only ever say Uptown or Bronx or Queens.

Downtown is South (street numbers go down). Also, 'Brooklyn bound' is also Downtown. The subway will never say tell you it's going South. Only Downtown or 'Brooklyn bound'.

Also, oftentimes when on the platform, the signs will just tell you toward which end of the train line the train is heading. Meaning the signs will tell you only the last stop on the track, such as "World Trade Center" or "South Ferry". It is up to you to know whether this destination is Uptown (or North) of where you are or Downtown (South) of where you are. Look at your map!

These lines don't all run truly North or truly South, which is why they are not designated as such. BUT the L line is the only line that runs truly West to East (at least in Manhattan), but it is still designated 'Brooklyn bound/toward Canarsie/Rockaway (East)' or 'Manhattan bound/8th Ave bound (West)'

Also, as mentioned before, no one calls the lines by their colors. Only their numbers/letters, or sometimes the even more cryptic "uptown express" or "downtown local". Do study a subway map: The black dots are where only local trains stop (these are the slow trains) and the white dots are where both the local AND the express trains stop (the fast trains). Now, on any given day, you will pay your fare and go into the subway only to see a wall of yellow MTA signs telling you that the 'A is running local on the E track, but only until 42nd and between 10:30 pm to 5 am from Friday to Monday' and similar unintelligible things. Just ask a booth attendant how to get where you are going if you can't figure out how to translate the signs.
posted by greta simone at 9:02 AM on March 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Look, the subway in NYC is so complicated that New Yorkers often do not understand it. In particular, when there is track work going on sometimes trains are rerouted. The train operators (what's the local term for that? Is it the conductor or the motorman?) will make long announcements that few people can dissect. It is confusing even if you ride the thing every day. I have asked New Yorkers what is going on with the subway and they will have no idea and just say "well, I am going in the right direction I think."

So do not worry about not understanding the subway. It's not as though being a New Yorker is a ticket to understanding the subway either.
posted by massysett at 9:03 AM on March 31, 2010


Also, don't be shy to hop on a bus that seems to be headed in the right direction of your destination, and to ask the bus driver, "Does this bus go to (insert destination here)?) I've lived here for eight years, and still don't know where the buses go sometimes.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:10 AM on March 31, 2010


The quickest (and yes, most irritating) marker of a rube to me is if you're having a conversation with your friend or family member across the subway aisle. Sit or stand next to the person you're traveling with. Even though the subway seems overwhelmingly chaotic and loud to you, people who ride it every day are able to find a sort of commuter's peace on it, and don't want to hear you or your children shouting about how fun that museum was.

Yarrow's point about unpredictable service changes on the subway is a good one. If you're waiting for a specific train, but everyone else on the platform seems to be getting on a different train, ask around -- the train you want may not be running today, or running in the wrong place, and even the regulars may be confused.

Welcome!
posted by Eater at 9:13 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someone needs to explain this "wear black" thing. Why? Do only rubes wear clothing that is from another section of the wardrobe than "stereotypical criminal" and "funeral"?
posted by punishinglemur at 9:27 AM on March 31, 2010


Before you get out of a cab, check your pocket for your wallet and cell phone (as well as anything else valuable you may have on you). While this sounds like regular common-sense, you'd be surprised at how many friends of mine have accidentally left their phone in a cab after it slipped out of their pocket.

In the subway, please let other people get off the cars before trying to get on. Please do not stand in front of the doors, as that impedes people entering/exiting the subway car.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:15 AM on March 31, 2010


The train operators (what's the local term for that? Is it the conductor or the motorman?) (massysett)

The motorman drives the train. The conductor makes announcements to passengers, opens and closes the doors, and makes certain the train's way is clear before pulling out of the station. On a very few lines (perhaps only the shuttle between Times Square and Grand Central), there is no conductor, so the motorman fulfills both roles.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:19 AM on March 31, 2010


Someone needs to explain this "wear black" thing.

its an old stereotype that NYers wear black more than other Americans.
posted by JPD at 10:21 AM on March 31, 2010


One that (in my experience at least) is true.

I don't have "darks" and "lights" for my laundry bins. I have "black" and "everything else."
posted by ocherdraco at 10:30 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Definitely not. New Yorkers love to give directions to tourists, because we love to be helpful AND we love to prove how smart we are.

THIS. I mean, geez, just look at this thread.

It would also behoove you to be proactive in asking for directions, especially for the subway, as the trains change their behavior depending on time of day, construction, day of the week, etc. The MTA posts flyers up regularly, but the information can be inconsistent.
posted by greenland at 10:36 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


For the record, not everyone in NYC wears black! Especially nowadays with all the ridiculous '80s styles back in fashion, there are a LOT of colors! Do not be afraid of the rainbow.

But... don't wear a fanny pack. You'll look ridiculous.

I suggest checking the MTA's site before going out, if you'll be somewhere with the Internet. Generally the subways only get wonky "late night" (after 10pm) and on weekends. mta.info is your friend.

I actually don't recommend the unlimited MetroCard because if you do mess up and go into the uptown entrance when you should have gone downtown, you're stuck, as mentioned above. That, to me, can be a lot worse than paying the extra $2.25 to remedy the error, especially if one has reservations at a restaurant or tickets to a show.
posted by inmediasres at 10:49 AM on March 31, 2010


You'll be in NYC - you won't be the only tourist.

You'll be able to get anywhere you need to via the subway, just make sure you print up a subway map and the first time you ride it will make sense...you'll be a pro before you leave.
posted by doorsfan at 11:15 AM on March 31, 2010


Oh, and don't get out of the cab on the street (traffic) side. You will die. Curb side exit only.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:40 AM on March 31, 2010


New Yorkers love to give directions to tourists

I travel to NYC frequently and use the subway exclusively (well sometimes buses, never cabs) and it's fine. Google Maps can give you transit directions and so can almost everyone else. The biggest problems for me personally are

1. Where the hell am I when I come out of the subway? I walk the wrong way for blocks sometimes. This is probably me-specific, but now that I have an iphone I will be using it to determine quickly which way i am facing. You can be two blocks form the Empire State Building an be unable to see it, you wouldn't think this was possibly.
2. People have their preferred routes which makes sense in their own internal logic but may make no sense to you. Generally there are multiple ways to do almost any trip and sometimes if you ask people they'll either give you four ways to do it, or argue with the other person you're asking over which way is "best." I'll sometimes ask people "hey what's the best way to get to the East Village from Flushing?" (or something) and get some assortment of subways that makes sense to the person I asked. Maybe they like fewer stops, or less walking, or one train over another, or they know one line is under construction. If you have a preference, you need to include this "what's the quickest way to get from A to B?" or "what is the simplest way to get from A to B?" And be ready to change plans if something goes kablooey partway through. I liked having a small printed subway map that I could refer to. Maybe I looked like a hayseed, I didn't care. Generally no one cares as long as you don't JUST STOP in front of them. I enjoy NYC and if the weather's nice I love to walk all over it.

Also this may vary depending on where you are, but I got a lot of good directional information by asking cops. Would not be my first choice in most cities but worked okay in Manhattan.
posted by jessamyn at 12:09 PM on March 31, 2010


Where the hell am I when I come out of the subway? I walk the wrong way for blocks sometimes.

There is an easy way to avoid this (at least while you're still on the Manhattan "grid". ALL subway exits have a sign tell you what corner it is. For example, "14th St. and 7th Avenue NW corner". That means if you take that exist, without crossing the street, you can either walk north (next street is 15th) or west (next avenue is 8th).
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:17 PM on March 31, 2010


Where the hell am I when I come out of the subway? (jessamyn)

Here's how I dealt with this when I moved here and came out of every subway station blinking like a startled mole:

0. Is the address you're looking for an intersection in the numbered grid part of Manhattan? If YES go to 1, if NO go to 9.

1. Is it daylight? If YES go to 2, if NO go to 4.

2. Is the sun directly above your head? If YES go to 4, if NO go to 3.

3. If it is morning, the side of you the sun is on is East. If it is afternoon, the side of you the sun is on is west. Proceed to 5.

4. Look at the subway entrance you just came out of. If it says Downtown, you are probably on the West side of the street, and if it says Uptown, you are probably on the East side of the street. If the sign specifies Uptown or Downtown, go to 5. If it does not, go to 6.

5. Avenues' numbers increase from East to West. Now that you've oriented yourself along the East/West axis, determine whether you need to go North or South. Proceed to 6.

6. Look at the numbered street signs on either end of the block you're standing on. The lower number is the South side of the block, the higher number is the North side. You should now know the direction you need to go in order to reach your destination. END.

7. Go back into the subway. Is there a map of the neighborhood located somewhere before you go through the turnstile? If YES go to 8, if NO go to 9.

8. Scrutinize the map, and look at the exit. The exit will tell you which corner of the intersection (NE, NW, SE, SW) it leads to. Find that corner on the map. Find your destination on the map. Determine your route, exit the subway, and take it. END.

9. Exit the station and blindly guess.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:29 PM on March 31, 2010 [8 favorites]


Can you tell that I navigate my life through a series of defined processes?
posted by ocherdraco at 12:32 PM on March 31, 2010


can you see what I mean about all New Yorkers having different ways to arrive at the same place?
posted by jessamyn at 12:39 PM on March 31, 2010


Yes! :)
posted by ocherdraco at 12:41 PM on March 31, 2010


I always orient myself by which way the train was going when I leave the station. If I want to head downtown and was on a downtown train, I keep a finger (discreetly) pointing in the direction the train was heading as I exit, turning my hand for stairway turns and whatnot. It works for when I want to go other directions than where the train was going too.

This has never failed me, and I can now pretty much keep track of it without actually using my hands.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 1:24 PM on March 31, 2010


Add to your estimated travel time if you're going cross-town in Midtown (avenue to avenue, rather than street to street). Especially if you're in a cab. The avenue blocks are much longer than the street blocks.
posted by mullacc at 2:24 PM on March 31, 2010


I am overwhelmed by the number of great responses in this thread (I may have to rethink my concept of Yankees) and my anxiety level has certainly dropped. Thank you all for your help and I'll try not to be a jackass in your city.
posted by ColdChef at 2:59 PM on March 31, 2010


Someone needs to explain this "wear black" thing. Why? Do only rubes wear clothing that is from another section of the wardrobe than "stereotypical criminal" and "funeral"?

Long answer: Yes.
Short answer: Y
posted by Damn That Television at 3:31 PM on March 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


If the train is relatively empty, it's okay to put your bags on the seat next to you, but if you see it starting to fill up, move your bag off the seat before anyone asks you.

Don't do this. The cops have been stepping up their enforcement and issuing tickets for this very offense.

And as someone said, check the MTA website for weekend detours. I travel from Brooklyn to Queens frequently and the changes can be a headache. But, better to know them in advance. Also, I like the MTA's Trip Planner and Hopstop, because both give directions that will get you where you're going, but each has advantages over the other. Sometimes the directions they give you won't be the fastest, but you'll get there.

As to subway safety, just be smart. There are people riding at all hours. More than you think there will be. I've been on the subway at every hour of the day and night at this point in my life and it's generally safe if you're alert.

Enjoy your trip.
posted by cmgonzalez at 4:51 PM on March 31, 2010


I have traveled in NYC many times and based on where you are flying into, where you are going and when, I have done the following: car service from LaGuardia to Manhattan (usually the costs are the same as a taxi and the service is better), to and from appointments I will use taxis or take the Metro (depending on the time of day and where I was going) and car service back to the airport. I have used, with great success, the following service: (212) 777-7777.

If you know the phrase/song "Cross Town Traffic" you will see it live in Manhattan. East-West traffic, based on the time of day, can be terrible and you may well be better off walking.

Have fun in NYC. It is super fun and is so hyper kinetic.
posted by zerobyproxy at 6:43 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't see this tip listed yet: if you are going to be here (NYC) over a weekend, you may want to check hopstop.com for subway directions. There's a lot of construction going on and subway service changes quite a bit. Hopstop has up to date information and will give you subway/bus directions.

Enjoy your trip!
posted by wiskunde at 7:01 PM on March 31, 2010


When crossing a street look not just both ways, but over your shoulder in the direction of oncoming traffic as well.
posted by brujita at 9:37 PM on March 31, 2010


The biggest way to not look like a rube is to not be oblivious to those around you. Don't stop suddenly in the middle of the sidewalk, don't try to get on the subway train before everyone else has gotten off, don't stand on the left side of the escalator and please please please if you're buying something have your payment in hand as you order.
posted by ged at 10:10 PM on March 31, 2010


Oh! And as for buying Metrocards (the currency for the subways): the machines that sell them are often fickle when people swipe credit/debit cards, especially if your card is a few years old. If at first it doesn't work, keep trying, it'll read it eventually. Alternatively, you can pay in cash, but the machines will give you dollar coins as change, so don't use a 20 for a 2 dollar pass unless you like carrying pounds of metal in your pockets. Also, like everything else in NYC, these machines get pretty damn busy during rush hours in major stations, so I'd suggest you buy a card mid-day or in the evening, or at a less crowded station.
posted by Damn That Television at 8:28 AM on April 2, 2010


Need a Cab? New Analysis Shows Where to Find One... It is a question that taxi-seekers in New York often ponder: Is there some kind of secret formula for where to find a cab in this town?

Turns out, there is.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:21 PM on April 2, 2010


I have returned from the concrete jungle and I'm happy to report that I had no problems with transit while in NYC. I was easily able to take the M60 bus outside of LaGuardia to the apartment where I was staying. The apartment was very near the N subway line, so that was my major method into the city. I navigated the subway system very well, with no problems (even getting out to the outer boroughs and back safely.)

At no time did I ever feel that I was in danger (even when I rode in the wee small hours of the morning) and only once was there a major delay. We got stuck under the East River for about half an hour Sunday morning because some asswad pulled the emergency brake, but even that was a cool New York experience. Everyone started talking and visiting with their neighbors and then immediately stopped when the subway started moving again.

I only took a cab once and one of my companions hailed it for us. The ride was terrifying for me, but par for the course for everyone else in my group. And I WAY overtipped because he did that "I don't have change" bit and I fell for it. Oh well.
posted by ColdChef at 11:19 AM on April 17, 2010


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