Getting to Manhattan, New York

Julia Opl Picture
Jeremias Padilla Picture
by Julia Opl, Jeremias Padilla
updated about 2 years ago

Manhattan, the most densely populated of New York City’s 5 boroughs, is mostly made up of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East and Harlem rivers. Getting to this travel destination is possible thanks to the city's great transport network with buses from $30, trains from $6.50, long distance trains from $19, the AirTrain from $7.75, subway systems from $12.50, and private drivers from $72. Moving around is simple thanks to the public transportation subway network with tickets from $2.50.

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Manhattan Key Information

Among the world’s major commercial, financial and cultural centers, it is the heart of “the Big Apple.” Its iconic sites include skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building, neon-lit Times Square and the theaters of Broadway.

Midtown Manhattan, specially Times Square is guarded every single day every single hour. The NYCPD has a central in here, and it is surrounded by shops which remain open until 2am. So if your Broadway show just ended, it is completely safe to get dinner and walk around for a late night shopping. It is a unique experience and in a completely safe area.

Midtown Manhattan is the most expensive borough of all New York, particularly during the BallDrop event. During the New Year's celebration which always involves street shows, live concerts with renowned stars and bands, and thousands of people standing in Times Square until midnight, prices of hotels in Midtown will increase five times their value or more. Furthermore, the police will block the streets around Midtown and allow only tourists with a hotel booking or event invitation to access the area. This tends to generate extremely long queues and traffic disturbances.

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The tricky part

The Subway in Midtown Manhattan is a world in its own. It is certain the lines branch out of the City to the other boroughs horizontally, meaning an East to West direction, but within Manhattan itself, the subways run in most cases from North to South.

Even if the island is about 20 miles long, it is very thin with numbered avenues (from the 1st to the 12th) running vertically and numbered streets (up to 219th Street) running horizontally crossing the avenues. This disposition makes it a very unique and long map, with a very easy numeration. Standing on the 42nd Street will instinctively help you know 43rd and 41st are just one block away. This makes Manhattan a very easy place to navigate even if you have recently arrived.

The main avenues are also numbered in the same fashion, except for a few special ones like Lexington Avenue, Park Avenue, Madison Avenue, and Broadway.

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Getting to Manhattan

By Air

For those arriving in flights, there are three main airports in the city, JFK International Airport (JFK), La Guardia (LGA) and Newark International Airport (EWR) servicing most of the world's capitals with direct flights, the airports of New York are the main entrance to the US.

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By Train

Manhattan has two main train stations. Pennsylvania Station and Grand Central Terminal.

Located in the heart of Manhattan, between 42nd Street and Park Avenue, you will find the iconic building that houses Grand Central Terminal. A main hub for buses (lines M1 to M5, M42, M98, M101 to M104, and Q32), trains, and New York's Subway system, serving the 4, 5, 6, 7, and S subway lines.

The main rail lines in the Grand Central Station are the Metro-North Commuter Railroad (connecting Manhattan with the south-eastern suburbs and Connecticut).

Pennsylvania Station is located on the West side of Manhattan, in the intersection of the 31st Street and 7th Avenue. The Subway Lines which operate this area are A, C, E, 1, 2 and 3 and the bus stops available are M4, to M7, M34 and Q42. Also serviced are the Amtrak train lines, New Jersey Transit, Long Island Railroad (LIRR), and PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) a subway line which connects Manhattan and New Jersey.

Amtrak is the national rail line for passengers in the US with multiple stops across the country.

Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), commonly used as a commuter train, connecting Manhattan to Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, and Brooklyn. It can also be used to the Hamptons and Montauk. Round-trip tickets start at $5.50. If bought separately, tickets incur an additional $0.50 fee making a round trip $6.50. You can pay this method of transport using the MetroCard.

Metro-North Railroad is a huge company with a large rail network connecting to the Grand Central and reaching more than 123 stations. A ticket to Connecticut New Haven starts at $19.

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By Bus

Port Authority Bus Terminal is the largest bus terminal in Manhattan with lines reaching from every neaby state and Canada.

US Lines operated by renowned lines such as BoltBus, Megabus, Peter Pan and Greyhound arrive to Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The prices of buses are around $30 to $60 depending on the distance traveled to get to New York. Even if you can get into the subway network right by the Port Authority Bus Terminal, an additional $2.75 plus the $1 of the Metrocard will need to be added to the cost as the subway can only be used with the MetroCard.

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The Frugal Option

From either JFK or EWR airports you can take a combination of the AirTain plus the local subway for a fare of $7.75 transfering to the service that will finally take you to Manhattan.

From Newark International Airport: The NJ Transit train takes you to Penn Station in 40 minutes, runs between 5am to 2am, and costs $12.50. Please note, it is not necessary to get an Amtrak ticket (which is typically more expensive) to get to Penn Station.

From JFK Airport: Once you get to Howard Beach Station, board the A train for a fee of $2.75 to Sutphin Blvd. Station where you'll board either the E, J, or Z subway lines that will take you to either Port Authority, Grand Central, or Penn Station.

La Guardia does not have an AirTrain yet, so if you arrive to LGA, there is a different option. You can take the NYC Q70 bus at the Q70 LTD Bus Stop up to the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Ave Subway Station. From this station where are different subways and trains available into Manhattan, lines E, M, F, R and 7. The bus is $2.75 and the subway/train will be $2.75 as well, all need to be paid with the Metrocard which has a cost of $1. This whole ride takes about 2 hours or more depending on traffic.

Even if this is a convenient and budget way to reach Manhattan from the airports, it will require passengers to carry their own luggage through the stairs.

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Private Transfer Options

Pre-Arranging a professional chauffeur to come pick you up from the arrivals hall of the airport upon your arrival may be the best choice particularly if you are arriving from a long flight. An all inclusive car service from the airport booked through Mozio offers the convenience of the driver monitoring your flight for delays and the support team available 24/7 guarantees a comfortable ride to your hotel.

  • From JFK Airport a private sedan for up to four passengers from $72 or a private bus for up to 14 passengers from $246.
  • From LaGuardia Airport a private sedan for up to four passengers from $72 or a private bus for up to 14 passengers from $222.
  • From Newark Liberty Airport a private sedan for up to four passengers from $96 or a private bus for up to 14 passengers from $276.

If you prefer to use an on-demand app such as Uber or Lyft, fares to Manhattan start at $60 with Uber and Lyft and vehicle are available almost instantly. Bear in mind, the airport's WiFi network is weak outside the terminal and you will need data for it (you may incur in roaming costs).

You can also hail a taxi at the Airport's curb, however, the price for these will raise to approximately $75 once you add gratuity to the taxi fare.

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The Mozio Recommendation

Most travellers will be arriving to one of NYC's large airports. We are familiar with how exhausting can a 10+ hour can be. Upon arrival, the best is to have everything sorted out for you as soon as you land.

Having a driver waiting for you at the airport is worth the price, especially if you are traveling in a group of three or four passengers.

It is certain it will be more expensive than the AirTrain and the subway, but sometimes people will carry more than one bag, meaning they will have to add that additional effort.

This is why we recommend private transportation. Be a taxi, an Uber or a professional driver, we believe the initial step into the city needs to prioritize comfort if the budget allows it.

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Moving AROUND Manhattan

All local taxis have their license displayed onboard and are regulated by the city's Taxi authority. The taxis illuminated ontop mean they are on duty. If you decide to pick a taxi yourself from the street, there will be no additional cost, but if a hotel doorman does it for you, it is polite to tip them $1 for this. The minimum fare for the taxi is $3 and will be increasing 50 cents every minute. There is an additional $1 surcharge during the week between 4pm and 8pm and a 50 cent added after 8pm to 6am.

You may pay taxis with any sort of credit and debit card, as well as cash. The tip will be 15% to 20% of the trip depending on the time of the day. And if you cross a bridge note all of them are tolled and will be automcally added to the fare.

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The Frugal Option

New York Subway

The MetroCard is the way to pay for any public transport across New York City, valid in all boroughs and the Metropolitan Area.

There are two types of Metrocards, the regular one which costs $1 and can be recharged and the weekly pass. The weekly pass is $30 and valid for 7 days straight. It may be used as many times per day as needed and it includes the buses and subways. If you are using at least 4 subways per day, the MetroCard pass is extremely convenient as each subway ticket is $2.50.

It is a great price if you are planning to move around the city by using the subway. And given the distances, it is very likely this will be the case.

The main subway lines in Manhattan are N, Q, R, B, J, D, F, M, A, B, D, E, S (Times Square - Grand Central only Shuttle), W, Z Overground Trains 1, 2, 3, L, 4, 5, 6.

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RideShare Services

If you prefer not to use the public transportation. Uber and Lyft are a great option. A lot of people prefer the Uber car pooling option, which is a type of service allowing different passengers sharing a similar location to share the cost of the ride even if they do not know each other.

New York Buses

Bus schedules and routes are constantly updated to maximize their performance. It is highly recommended to check MTA's official website for the most up-to-date schedules for the bus you want to take.

Buses can be paid using the MetroCard. If you prefer to use cash, the exact amount must be provided. Drivers will not accept a higher amount paid nor can they provide change.

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Are Rideshare & TaxiApps Readily Available In Manhattan?

Available On-Demand Providers

  1. uber

  2. lyft

  3. cabify

  4. bolt

  5. grab

Not Available Options

  1. freenow

  2. gojek

  3. didi

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