hello! i’ve been having so much fun compiling some of our family’s favorite things to do in different neighborhoods around the city, but i wanted to do a quick post on transportation before continuing on with the city guides. navigating nyc transportation seems to be a big question i get a lot these days, especially for those of you visiting the city with little ones.
new york city, although technically a pretty small island, can be difficult to get around if you aren’t very familiar with the subway system, traffic, or…you have a stroller. :) it’s funny because i feel like it’s one of the most family friendly places to raise little ones and yet it’s not in many ways, when you really think about it. haha!
THE SUBWAY: the easiest and most efficient way to get around new york city is by the subway. you can pretty much get incredibly close to your final destination by taking a train, even if you have to transfer to a different line once or twice. but 9 out of 10 times, you’ll always beat city traffic by taking the train. most subway lines run every few minutes, too. although there are often longer stretches between trains as well as delays on the weekends. (you can check the MTA train schedule HERE)
TRAVELING WITH KIDS: for those of you traveling in new york city with little ones in tow, navigating the subway system with a stroller is a whole other story. i know strollers on the subway can be annoying for a few other travelers who don’t have kids, and i often feel awkward or out of place as i try to not be in the way with my big double stroller as we commute on the train. but it’s really the only way i’m able to get around the city with my kids. i don’t know, but i’m just really thankful for the subway train and that all are able to use it…and for the subway elevators, although they are few and far between and often really smelly. they make life a bit easier on this mama and her toddlers.
because most of the subways here aren’t very stroller friendly (think lots and lots of stairs!), the kiddos and i have gotten pretty good at knowing which subway stations DO have elevators, and also which of those elevators are working. we plan our outings accordingly. there might be longer avenues and blocks we have to walk to get to our final destination since there aren’t elevators at each station, but there isn’t a better city for walking, so we don’t seem to mind.
for any mamas out there traveling in or to new york city, we’ve put together a fun little printable subway map (at the top of this post) highlighting all of the working elevators in manhattan for you! (with a few notes as to which are under maintenance or not working at the time of this post.) thanks to elizabeth natoli for helping me create this! just print it and take it with you! i hope it helps!
also, i want to note that the people of new york are incredibly friendly and *usually* very willing to help. so, if you do by chance end up at a subway station where there is no working elevator and a million stairs and feel a bit stranded because it’s just you and your heavy stroller, don’t fret. because someone will always be willing to help you carry it up or down the steps. it’s one of the things i love most about this city, all of the people. well, the kind ones, at least. ;)
BIKES: in addition to the subway, i think the next best way to see the city is on a bike! we love biking around the city with our kids and there are several bike paths and bike lanes now, making it even more manageable and safe. we use our own bikes, but citibike has been around for a while now, and is a great bike sharing system available in the city. they have thousands of bikes parked all over the island and available 24/7. there are also a ton of bike rental shops all over the city (a big list HERE), which might be a better bet if you want a particular kind of bike, want it for a longer period of time, or need a child/infant seat, etc.
TAXI CABS AND UBER: since most people don’t have cars in new york city, yellow taxi cabs are always abundant in the city (unless of course you are running late! i swear!) maybe it’s just me, but i don’t think you can really visit new york properly without hailing down a cab at least once. (right?!) it’s a fun experience. samson is still obsessed with it and makes it his job to put his arm out and yell “TAXI! TAXI!” trying to flag down a cab whenever we might be needing one. uber is also a helpful resource for getting around the city and perhaps a bit more reliable since you can plan ahead of time as well as get a fare quote in advance.
i know many use and prefer buses, but i haven’t taken one for years so i’m not as familiar with the system. we’ve also heard really great things about the double decker tour buses often offered that showcase the city from a higher view, but i have never done one, so i can’t recommend. hopefully this can come in handy to a few of you on your next trip to the city! once you have a grasp on the subway system, new york city feels far more accessible and fun. at least i think so!