We stood in the 42nd. St. subway station for the better part of half an hour before we figured out that there were no child fares for kids on the Manhattan Transit Authority. Riders 45″ and under may ride for free, but those that are taller pay full fare regardless of age. Luckily, transportation is one of the few things in New York that is actually quite affordable.
To and From the Airports…
Cheap flights to New York are plentiful, but taxis are a (pretty pricey) flat rate from New York City’s three main airports, LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark International, to midtown. However, with excellent rail links and other great transportation options to and from Manhattan, most opt to spend that extra cab fare on little jaunts around the city.
NYC’s Subway with Kids…
At $2.50 per ride, you can’t beat the price, but the thought of the New York City subway may seem a little daunting. However, it is really quite easy to shoot uptown and downtown on the train. We usually took the red Broadway/7th Avenue line, but our New York City hotel was more on the east side so the Lexington Avenue Line (also known as the East Side Line) came in handy and is also super fast.
Kids usually enjoy the subway (mine do) although it can get quite crowded. Vigilant supervision and handholding is a must, and you may want to forego the stroller since those with babes in carriers seemed to have an easier time navigating the throngs trying to get on and off.
Pay attention to where your stop is and if it is serviced by an express train. Most visitors (me included) have stories of zooming past their intended subway stop after not realizing they had boarded an express train.
Get on the bus, Gus…
The Manhattan Transit Authority bus routes are also very easy, accessible and inexpensive at $2.50 per ride. Most routes tend to intersect Manhattan lengthwise, and Manhattan’s streets are mostly one-way, it’s pretty easy to figure out where you’re going.
I’m not even sure you can count the number of “Hop On Hop Off” tourist bus companies operating in Manhattan, but don’t dismiss them for being too “touristy,” they’re a great way to see New York with kids Most companies offer an unlimited daily pass, meaning you can hop on and off all day at your leisure, without sticking to their pre-arranged itinerary. Might I add, riding double decker buses is extra fun for both kiddos and grandma alike.
Taxis are one of the most affordable options for getting around Manhattan. With kids in tow however, they might not seem practical — most don’t offer car seats. But, you can install your own, and for the record, infants and children in the back seats of most licensed taxis in most major cities (New York included) do not require a child seat or restraint.
If your kids are taller than 45″ (regardless of age) they must pay the full adult fare on the bus or subway. If you’re a family of four planning to only go a few blocks, you could better spend that $10 on a taxi to your destination. After three nights in Manhattan, my kids are now experts at hailing cabs. I’m saving them for the next rainy day.