In 2013, New York City’s population soared to 19,651,127, and it’s still growing with an in-demand real-estate market. Naturally, the NYC transit system outranks any other transportation system in North America, and it stands among the largest in the world. Around 5.5 million people ride the subway daily, but New York City also has an extensive bus system to transport New Yorkers all across town.
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NYC Transit 101 for Visitors
How Much Does It Cost?
The base fare to travel via NYC bus or subway is currently $2.75. The Express Bus ticket costs $6.75 each way. However, most locals who use the subway daily depend on an unlimited monthly MetroCard for $127 or the $33 unlimited weekly card. You can purchase MetroCards at any station with cash or credit. However, as a caution to the debit- or credit-card dependent, you should know buses only take MetroCards or exact fare in coins.
Time It Out
The subway trains run about every two to five minutes during rush hour, and every five to fifteen minutes during regular day hours. When heading home after a long night out (between 12:00 am to 5:00 am), expect twenty-minute intervals. As such, it’s important to not only have the subway map handy but to know departure times early. Luckily, there are numerous subway apps to keep you updated and on the platform without a long wait.
What is a Subway Number And Color?
The New York subway ranks first for the highest usage in the United States. Unlike lines in Washington DC and London; there’s no simple guide to “take the blue train,” or some other colored line. Each colored line on the subway features multiple trains. So, as a New Yorker, use numbers, and colors to refer to each train. For example, the 4th, 5th, and 6th trains run on the green line. Those numbers are what to remember.
Best Bus Routes
Many locals recommend buying a credit card-sized map, found at any bookstore when you’re starting. The best time to ditch the subway for the bus is when you’re traveling between Manhattan’s east and wise sides. You’ll usually wait about ten minutes between the departure and arrival of buses.
An Alternative: The Ferry
Fancy a trip to Sinatra’s Hoboken, New Jersey? How about Staten Island? The Staten Island Ferry operates daily as an excellent, inexpensive alternative transportation for trips outside of Manhattan and the five boroughs. Heading to Staten Island lets you enjoy some time with the Statue of Liberty without feeling like a tourist. The ferry usually leaves every fifteen minutes during the week, and every thirty on weekends and late at night.
As much as New York is known for taxis; keep them at to minimal use and opt for public transportation instead. It’s affordable, quick, and converses most of the city.
NYC Living a Subway Convenience
One of the best parts of living in New York City is its subway system. A necessity for locals’ daily commutes, the underground series of tunnels and stations can be daunting for visitors and new arrivals. Follow this guide, and you’ll soon be hopping around the city like a subway pro.
If you’re trying to figure out the distance in NYC from one place to another; the subway map can present you with a very distorted and misleading image. Brooklyn and Queens seem far-far away from Manhattan, when in fact, many neighborhoods in those boroughs are closer via subway than Inwood at the Northern tip of Manhattan or Battery Park City at the Southern tip.
But what about Google Maps, you might ask? As helpful as that app is calculating times and finding directions while you are on the fly; using Google Maps for a full picture of NYC on a phone or laptop screen does not hinder the issue of scale. I’ve never been able to use Google Maps to get a holistic spatial sense from place-to-place within the context of the five boroughs.
Subway Real-Time Distance, Travel Time
This post will help you to seek out and find information about real-time distance, travel time, and other ideas for deciphering distances/calculating travel time in NYC. And, this knowledge might make the difference in where you decide to look for your next coop, condo or apartment and may serve to assist you in broadening your real estate search to neighborhoods (or even boroughs) you might not have previously considered.
Since the island of Manhattan is only 13.4 miles long and 2.3 miles wide, you’d think getting from one place to another would be easy. But sometimes, public transit can be a, well, train wreck.
The MTA Subway Map can be deceiving
The MTA’s Subway Map is deceiving because it makes many locations look farther away than they are while other spots may seem closer than they are. Let’s pick, for example, Times Square as a destination. The Q train from Ditmas Park in Brooklyn (the Church Avenue stop) is an approximately 32-minute direct ride to Times Square whereas, from Battery Park in Manhattan, the subway ride is 25 minutes.
However, you must change from the subway to the Grand Central Shuttle train or walk about 4 minutes to get to Times Square. It’s six of one, a half dozen of another as the saying goes. So, Ditmas Park in Brooklyn is as close to Times Square as Battery Park City in travel terms.
It sounds old-fashioned, but there’s nothing like securing a to-scale map and spreading it out on your kitchen table to take a look at what distances – walking, commuting and otherwise – look like.
Do You Yant to Live Close to a Specific Subway Line?
Maybe you have a car and don’t care for the subway, but need to ensure that there is easy parking at your new place, or that your morning and evening commute aren’t so long and hectic that you are frazzled by the time you arrive at work and home.
With a scaled map, you can see how far from or near to one place is to another. To-scale maps have a legend on them, which indicates, for example, a ¼ inch on the map is an actual mile, or similar. You can use a ruler (again old-fashioned, but oh-so-useful) and lay it down on the map to measure distances in real miles. You can find these types of maps at Barnes & Noble, other bookstores or order them online.
Misperceptions of Distance
Another excellent example of misconceptions of distance on the NYC subway map is the L train. It looks as though if you lived in, say; the Jefferson stop on the L train, you’d be a long way from Union Square – nine stops! Seems like a lot of stops, right? And, really far into Brooklyn.
Wrong! The L train stops are so close together that you can walk from the Jefferson Street stop over to the previous stop, Morgan Avenue, in 10 minutes or less. From Morgan Avenue, you can walk to Montrose Avenue in a less than10 minute and so on. You get the idea. It’s a 20-minute ride from Jefferson Street to Union Square, but you’d never know it based on looking at the MTA’s subway map.
If you want to live further out in Brooklyn where prices are lower; and there is often more space perhaps consider choosing a place near an express train. Then, it’s no big deal getting into Manhattan for work – or play. Check out this geographically accurate NYC subway map for comparison.
Convenience vs. Commuting When Living in NYC
New York City offers some of the most lucrative careers in the world. As a result, rent and mortgages will be expensive if you choose to live there. Today we will discuss the big decision every career-minded person faces; is it better to spend more on your living space to be closer to work or to save money and commute? One option saves you time but leaves you with less financial margin, while the other saves you money but cuts away at your free time. To decide where to live, you must weigh a few important factors like your finances, home life, and personal happiness.
Your Rent or Mortgage
Financial experts advise that your rent or mortgage should not take up more than 30% of your monthly income. Though this is not always feasible, it is wise not to let this monthly expense go beyond a reasonable rate. When you choose a place to live, balancing your finances should be your top priority. No matter how attractive that apartment across from your office may be, if it is eating up a more substantial significant chunk of your salary than you can handle, you should consider more affordable options or consider getting a roommate when renting.
If you choose to live further away from work to save on your rent or mortgage, be sure to figure in the cost of commuting. Expenditures such as gas, rail/bus tickets, your MetroCard, and meals on the go should be penned into your monthly budget. Lower mortgages and rents from the suburbs should always have travel costs added to them to give you the real value of commuting.
Once you have a better picture of the costs of commuting vs. living closer to work, you should also decide on the time you want to spend outside of your home. Commuting requires more time for travel, whereas living closer to work gives you more free time. Make a realistic schedule of how you will spend your time in each location and decide if it fits into your desired lifestyle.
Your Family Life
Having a family is an essential factor to consider when deciding how far to commute. Saving money by commuting can keep a family’s budget from becoming strained, but the lack of time at home can affect your relationship with your family. Balancing child-rearing responsibilities with your partner is also essential. With your living plan, are you making enough time for your loved ones?
Will a commute too far affect your ability to be available for daycare pick-ups and emergencies? Do you have a partner who can stay at home or work closer to your children’s school? Your answers to these questions will help you decide on how you and your family can compromise to make a healthy balance between work, commuting, and relationships.
You should enjoy your career and home life; so if a living situation is not working out for you, do not be afraid to make adjustments. Life is full of constant changes to which we must periodically review and adapt, so it is wise to assess your situation and work toward a happy life.