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For those visiting New York City for the first time, the list of things to know before arriving can seem vast. And one of the biggest concerns is usually transportation. Luckily, The Knickerbocker Hotel’s location isn’t known as the “crossroads of the world” for nothing. When it comes to transportation, there are plenty of options. Let us assist with our NYC transportation guide.
This is the most common and convenient way that visitors navigate New York City streets. For many years there were simply the standard yellow cabs. Today there are two types: yellow and green. Yellow cabs are the most prevalent cars in the city, and can pick up and drop off passengers anywhere in the five boroughs (and beyond). Green cabs are designed to serve the outer boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island), as well as in Manhattan north of 110th street. Green cabs only pick up passengers in these neighborhoods, and are allowed to drop off passengers in Manhattan below 110th street. In other words, don’t hail a green cab in Manhattan south of 110th street. And while exploring Brooklyn, Queens or elsewhere, look for a green cab as your best bet.
To hail either yellow or green cabs on the street, look for the light on top of the car, if it’s on — raise your hand to signal in a forward arm movement with your hand toward the street. The cab will see you and pull over. An illuminated cab light indicates the car is available and typically shows the cab number. A dark cab light denotes that the cab is full or the driver is off-duty. Although you may have seen it in a movie, resist the urge to whistle-hail a cab — unless you’re with a woman in labor. A simple hand-raise will do the trick. All yellow and green cabs accept credit cards and cash.
In most cases, especially in Manhattan, hailing a cab on the street will be extremely easy. When you’d prefer to wait for your ride inside, however, car-hailing apps like Uber, Lyft, Gett and Via are a fantastic option. Most operate at similar prices to cabs, and offer myriad options to travelers, including SUVs and larger vehicles for groups and black-car service for comfort.
PREARRANGED BLACK CABS
Livery cabs, commonly called ‘black cars’ (although not all are black), are available for pre-arranged car rides all over New York City. Our front desk would be happy to help schedule one for you, or you are welcome to arrange one yourself, and our doormen will assist you at the entrance to the Knick when your car arrives.
Sometimes livery cabs (unmarked black cars) will stop and offer you a ride while you are hailing a NYC cab. Many of these drivers are not authorized to pick up hail passengers, and can be unlicensed and uninsured. It can be dangerous to use a livery cab that hasn’t been called in advance. So be safe, and avoid that situation.
The cause of many fears for first-time visitors is the subway. The truth is, the modern subway is easy to use with a little preparation, and is often the quickest, most direct route to make your way across the city.
The Knickerbocker is on the same corner as the Times Square – 42nd Street subway station, which conveniently connects you to eight train lines: N-Q-R, S, 1-2-3, and 7 subway lines. On the subway map, it’s helpful to look at lines by color first, and then by corresponding numbers or letters. All line colors service the same general areas (in Manhattan at least), for instance the red-labeled 1-2-3 line services the West Side and the green-labeled 4-5-6 line services the East Side. Individual line numbers or letters designate slightly differing stops and whether or not the train is express (skips some stops) or local (makes every stop). A good rule of thumb is to ask the subway booth for a subway map or download an app to your phone. When entering subway stations always make sure you are headed in the right direction (Uptown or Downtown) and pay attention to announcements. Most subways have automated announcements and digital stops displayed on the inside of the subway car, so you can be sure you are headed to your stop.
If you still feel anxious about using the subway, we recommend mapping out your trips in advance. You can use the handy guide located on the MTA website or Google maps is pretty useful too. Metrocards (which are needed to ride the subway) can be purchased at most subway stations before boarding).
The subways make it a breeze to head uptown and downtown, but if you’re trying to go from the East Side to the West Side on public transportation, you may want to opt for a bus. Buses can be complicated in New York City, and are recommended for those who aren’t afraid of a little adventure. Most of Manhattan is set up in a grid, with numbered avenues running north and south (numbers start on the east side and increase moving westward), and streets running east and west (numbered streets begin north of Houston and increase moving north). Most buses run along either a single avenue, or a single street in Manhattan, but this isn’t always the case. Be sure to consult a bus schedule (find them here) before boarding, and ask the bus driver if you have any questions or concerns.
Also, remember that buses take either Metrocards (same as the subway) or exact fare in coins. You cannot pay for a bus ride with bills or a credit card.
THE KNICKERBOCKER HOUSE FLEET
The Knickerbocker has access to a full range of vehicle types for guests including luxury sedans, Escalades, stretch limos and Mercedes Sprinters for pickups and drop offs at any location. Airport meet and greets are also available. All services are available to reserve through the concierge desk.