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For those visiting New York City for the first time, the list of things to know before arriving can seem overwhelming. One of the biggest concerns is transportation. Luckily, The Knickerbocker Hotel’s location isn’t called the “crossroads of the world” and “the center of the universe” for nothing. When it comes to transportation, you have plenty of options, and we’re here to help.
Livery cabs, commonly called ‘black cars’ (although not all are black), are available for pre-arranged transportation all over New York City. Our front desk would be happy to help you arrange a car, or you are welcome to arrange one yourself, and our doormen will assist you at the entrance to the Knick when your car arrives.
New York City has two types of taxi cabs that are authorized to pick up ‘hails’ (people on the street): yellow cabs and green cabs. Yellow cabs are the standard taxis in NYC, and can pick up and drop off passengers anywhere in the five boroughs (and beyond). Green cabs are a newer development, designed to serve the outer boroughs (areas of the city that are not the island of Manhattan), as well as the area of Manhattan north of 110th street. Note that green cabs are allowed to drop off passengers in Manhattan below 110th street, but are not allowed to pick up passengers in this area.
To hail either one of these cabs on the street, raise your hand to signal. Available cabs will have their ‘cab light’ illuminated, which is located on the hood of their cab, and includes their cab number. A dark cab light denotes that the driver is off-duty, or already has a passenger. Although you may have seen it in a movie, resist the urge to whistle to hail a cab. No one actually does this in NYC. All yellow and green cabs must accept credit cards as well as cash for any trips.
Note that you may have other cars stop and offer you a ride that are not yellow or green cabs. These drivers are not authorized to pick up passengers on the street, and many are unlicensed and uninsured. Additionally, many will charge you many times the going rate for a ride. Do not patronize these cars under any circumstances!
The cause of many fears for first-time visitors is the subway. The truth is, the modern subway is clean, efficient and easy-to-use. The worst that can be said is that it does tend to get overcrowded during peak times. That being said, the subway is often the quickest, and most direct mode of transportation in the city.
The Knickerbocker is steps away from the Times Square – 42nd Street subway station, with access to the N-Q-R-S-1-2-3-7 subway lines. Lines are organized by color first, and then by number or letter. All line colors service the same general areas (in Manhattan at least), with individual line numbers/letters running on slightly differing stops and schedules. It may be confusing at first, but ask at the subway booth for a subway map (or download an app on your phone), and pay attention to announcements. Most subways have automated announcements and digital stops displayed on the inside of the subway car, so you can peek and make sure you are headed to the right place on the right car.
If you are still feeling anxious about using the subway, we recommend mapping out your trips in advance. You can use the handy guide located on the MTA website. Metrocards (which are needed to ride the subway) can be purchased at most subway stations before boarding).
Buses can be complicated in New York City, and are recommended for those who aren’t afraid of a little adventure. At the end of the day, most of Manhattan is set up in a grid, with avenues running north to south (lower avenues start on the east side and move west), and streets running east to west (lower streets start in the south and move 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.