More or less all of the Manhattan Routes
D train to Coney Island & Downtown Brooklyn
7 train to Shea Stadium
Various approaches to Yankee Stadium
Bergen County NJ Transit Line (Waldwick – NY Penn Station)
PATH: Pavonia to 14th St
Staten Island Ferry
If you’re reading this blog you probably know that the subway more or less blankets the city. But what you might not know is the extent of the commuter rail system, which covers all of Long Island, half of New Jersey and deep into Connecticut and upstate New York. Look for yourself; it’s truly massive.
24-hour service on the subway, unparalleled anywhere in the world. As for commuter rail, I rode into the city on a Sunday and found myself with 36 trains a day in each direction to choose from.
Not an A+ because there’s very little in the way of routing that bypasses Manhattan. The city could use some ring lines like they have in Tokyo, London, and Paris.
As with all third-rail systems, no pedestrian or auto is ever going to get anywhere near the track.
New York has extreme density where there’s rail transit, not so much where there isn’t. On the other hand, the not-so-dense places would give the average resident of, say, Greenwood some sort of aneurysm.
Undoubtedly, the city in America where it’s most foolish to own a car, unless you go into the outer suburbs a lot. If not here an A+, then where?
If you have even a little bit of transit tourist in you, get thee to New York City before airfares go up again. Driving is a nightmare, parking can cost over $20 for a half hour (plus tax), and the subway system approaches perfection (unless you require wheelchair accessibility, as I discovered when trying to cart around a baby stroller on this trip).
If you’re a total cheapskate, get a hotel out in the suburbs and take the commuter rail in.
What’s a little frightening is that with all the transit options available, there used to be more. There are tons of transit tunnels and stations abandoned at the peak of the automobile age. The city tore down dozens of miles of elevated track in the last century as well. And yet the system still carries more daily riders that all the nation’s other systems combined.
Smart NYC travelers fly into Newark and take one of the various New Jersey transit options into the city, rather than suffering through a 2-hour AirTrain and Subway slog into Manhattan from JFK.
Multimodalism is at its best here. At Penn Station, for instance, you have Amtrak, PATH trains, commuter rail, 6 subway lines, and God knows how many buses all coming together in one gigantic terminal. The Newark airport has an AirTrain system that connects all the terminals with not only the car rental complex, but also a train station that supports both commuter rail and Amtrak.
This kind of integration makes it plausible to nearly eliminate “puddle-jumper” aircraft, since outlying residents can simply take the train to take advantage of the many destinations available out of the New York airports. I think this kind of thing is very useful as gas prices skyrocket and scarce landing slots have to be devoted to bigger aircraft.
I’m told there are a few traditional tourist attractions in the city as well.