9 May 2012

New York City Review Series Part 4: Getting around part 2.

Sorry for the delay! Whats my excuse this time? Erm....I was busy writing the A to Z reflections post!?


Anyway, enough of that lets get on with it...but first I should warn you that  I do have a bit of a whinge.
  1. Hop on/Hop off Bus 
  2. Water Taxi 
  3. By foot 
  4. Other options that I didn't take.

1. Hop on/Hop off Bus



A fellow blogger and a work colleague had both recommended using the hop on hop off bus, and I have used this before in both Vienna and Budapest. It is a really good way to get your bearings on a place, to pass by popular tourist areas that you might not have thought to visit and also to glimpse those that you know you wont have time to visit.


In NYC there are ticket touts for these bus companies on every corner of Times Square and scattered nearby, so they are not difficult to find. They take cash or credit so no need to worry about that. I went with the red buses mainly because red is my favourite colour. I opted to buy a 48hr bus pass for $54 which allowed you multiple use for 48hrs for 5 routes loops; uptown loop, midtown loop, downtown loop, Brooklyn loop and a night time tour loop.  Unfortunately for me, I was too overwhelmed to make the best of it and I would recommend that you plan it into your trip. Each loop takes approximately 2 hours and I guess it goes without saying that you can get on and off as much as you like.


I started with the downtown loop from Times Square to the Seaport, then took the Midtown loop from the Seaport to Columbus Circle. These were just the stops that I got on and off at but there are many more and I am sure they have a website. Let me know if you want any details as I have a leaflet I can refer too. I took the Bus from Macy's to the Seaport the next day again and also went from outside my Hostel through the upper west side and past the beach, around to Harlem and back through the upper east side. 


It was great and repeating loops is ok, because the guide is different with each bus :D and they are very friendly and helpful.


2. Water Taxi



I took the hop on hop off water taxi on the last day that I was in NYC, if I had of gone for longer then I think I would have used it more. As I had left everything to see until the last day - very bad planning - I decided to pay for the water taxi so that I could go to take photo's of the Statue of Liberty. I also preferred it to the ferry only because it was less queuing and less hassle as they had no security checks. It cost me about $24 which is much more than free but seeing as I hadn't spent my sight seeing budget it was ok. I had intended to do a full loop but in the end I thought I would alight at the Hudson City Park in the West Village.










3. By foot



Considering all the transport options available, I still managed to do a lot of walking. I imagine I walked twice as much as I needed to because of 

the most annoying thing in NYC!



It was the lack of signs! Seriously, for a city that has such a huge number of tourists there are no signs for the visitor. There are traffic signs as you would expect and there are street signs but if you are standing at a junction with street A and street B, how are you supposed to know how to get to street C - the only way is to walk a block and then see which direction you have travelled in. I don't think its too much to ask, everywhere else has them, signs that point you in the general direction of Times Square or Rockefeller Centre, or maybe to a famous sight. We don't even have many tourists here and we still have those signs for the locals! A prime example of this  is when I went to the Tate Modern in London last weekend. When you come out of the station there is a map and on it it says to get to the Tate Modern follow the orange lamposts. Its that simple! 


Obviously in areas where there are more than one sight it would be silly but an arrow saying that way wouldn't have gone amiss. Subsequently, I kept getting lost! It wasn't even just on the streets but I grew to have a hatred of the inside of the Rockefeller Centre. Not the entry way to the lift to the top - that was gorgeous but the Arcade of shops that lead you to the subway station. I once tried to find the toilets but couldn't, I once tried to get out but couldn't and it filled me with dread when I thought of having to get out at that Metro stop. Suffice to say I was pretty close to tears on my last night when I couldn't get out of Greenwich, had walked what seemed like miles, had asked for directions to a station and the people I asked had been as much help as if I had banged my head against a brick wall. I was tired so I am going to use that as an excuse too! Eventually, I asked someone else, who didn't know the station I was asking about either but asked me where I wanted to go and sent me to a station that I could use, and eventually after three changes, I got there! He was very helpful! And I owe him for saving me my sanity - so thank you strange running man (he was actually quite young, but I don't know how he would feel to be referred to as boy ;) ) anyway I made it back to my Hostel and had the best surprise waiting there for me! Check out Part 9 if you want to know what it was :).




I also walked around about half of Central Park too, it was the hottest day and the park was packed. I have never seen so many people at a park. I did notice though that it wasn't very disability friendly. It had lots of benches but a lot of places were accessed by steps or very steep slopes. Just be aware if you have problems with either.

4. Other options that I didn't take




At the corner of Central Park and Columbus Circle was where the horse and carriage rides started. The stench alone of horse manure was enough to put me off, but if that doesn't then maybe the price hike will do. Apparently it had previously cost $36 for 30 minutes, it now costs $54 for 20 minutes so its probably something you should budget for if you plan to do it.


There were bike hire stands at the Seaport South which is adjacent to Chinatown and Little Italy and also the Brooklyn bridge. I had to ask for help at one of these stands (see Part 7) and you could hire a bike to cycle over the Brooklyn bridge. I didn't do this and I didn't ask about the price, sorry :( But for those sporty types just know that it is possible.


There were also Helicopter rides, I saw a helipad at the Seaport again (the Transport Mecca of NYC) but again I didn't ask about it. There were ticket touts working for the company on the street around Macy's and Times Square so it is pretty easy once there to find out.


I also didn't take a Taxi but as you can see below there were plenty :)


That concludes Part 4, the next part is all about Food and Drink!




10 comments:

  1. Excellent post, brought back memories when I visited New York City,
    Thanks for sharing.

    Yvonne.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks - glad to help you on your trip down memory lane :)

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  2. Bristol doesn't have many signs either, although it's a bit smaller, so if you walk for long enough you'll find somewhere you recognise!

    Glad you found a strange running man to help you out :-)

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    Replies
    1. I have stayed in Bristol before, admittedly I mainly went from B&B to the school I was training at and back again - limited my opportunity to get lost :)

      Did I mention he was a 'cute' strange running man/boy! pmsl

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    2. Have you ever pretended you were lost, just to ask a cute guy for directions? That sometimes works well too! lol

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  3. sounds very confusing--i have never been to new york--my nephew lives there!

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    1. It was! I recommend planning a couple of days for orientation first :) Not that it helped much. Its a metropolis! haha

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  4. mmmm, seems like it is very easy to get lost. Whatever place I have visited and got lost in has always resulted in me asking a "local person" for directions. However the answer has constantly been "oh, I am not from around here... sorry". So NYC would probably be a challenge. Excellent post, roll on food and drink!

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    Replies
    1. I am always asked for directions when I am on holiday, and this time it was no different - as usual the people always ask about somewhere I actually know.

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  5. I totally understand about the signs! Disney World is the same way!

    I've thought about taking a taxi in NYC, but then I think about all the butts that have sat on that car seat, and it freaks me out! I'm pretty much that way anywhere though...and god forbid I should sit in a seat someone else has just got up from...warm seat! OOOHHH, YUCK!!!

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