Public transportation in New York is top-notch and affordable, with the subway, overland commuter rail and buses taking visitors anywhere they want to go efficiently and in relative comfort (except during rush hour). Ferries run to outlying districts and slightly bizarre shuttle buses and vans follow major routes, but the subway is always the fastest way to get around. If it's scenic you want, the iconic double decker buses are always a memorable experience.
New York Taxis and Car Rental
The ubiquitous New York cabs and their colorful drivers are found in profusion on most streets, although during rush hours and late at night you may need to fight to get one. Yellow cabs provide most of the services in Manhattan and are all metered. Extra charges apply after 8:00 p.m. with rush hour surcharges between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. too and tipping is always expected. All taxis accept major credit and debit cards including AMEX.
Visitors are actively discouraged from driving in New York, and most locals don’t have cars. Parking downtown is almost impossible, regulations are confusing and drivers are aggressive. If you’re determined (or headstrong), car rental is available, albeit expensive, and often requires a $500 deposit and a good map. Taxis through Dial 7 (+1-212-777-777) or Andrea Cabs (+1-718-392-9191) are safer and more budget-friendly.
New York Water Taxis
New York Waterways’ connect Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey’s Hudson River, and New York Water Taxis offers river rides to various Manhattan locations in cute boats painted to resemble taxis. The Staten Island ferry is popular for its amazing views, even if Staten Island isn’t your end destination.
New York Trains and Buses
New York’s Subway system is second to none and blankets the city and its main sights in a fast, comfortable and inexpensive manner. Commuter overland trains such as the Long Island railroad or the LLR can be useful for getting to the beaches, as well as to Port Jefferson and Montauk. For east-west Manhattan journeys, the bus is a good, cheap option with line routes identified by initials, for example, M for Manhattan, B for Brooklyn, and so on. Your subway Metrocard includes buses, and express buses that run to outer districts.