My Mommy Flies presents NYC Family Travel Series:
5 Reasons To Drive in New York City
Riding the New York City subway systems creates an authentic New York experience for travelers. Most New Yorkers use the subway to get where they are going. There’s so much to explore in the tunnels of New York, art, entertainment, and history.
When you start planning your next family vacation to New York City, you must decide if you will primarily use public transportation or drive.
New York City has one of the most advanced and accessible public transportation systems in the country. There are local buses, express buses, subways, and railway service to get you where you need to go. No matter where you are in the 5 boroughs, there’s almost always a way to get there on public transportation.
So that leaves the question, why should you drive in NYC?
Here are 5 Reasons You Should Drive in New York City:
- If you are pregnant, have a baby, or a physical disability. Most subways require stairs and tunnels to maneuver and are not accessible for everyone. Any time you need easy access and a seat, then you should drive in New York City. It’s also super crowded during rush hour and you are depending on kind hearted New Yorkers to offer you a seat.
- If you are traveling with multiple children. New York City subways and buses are crowded and cramped. It’s a challenge to keep up with more than 2 children on a subway car or bus filled with everyday commuters, especially during rush hour. If you are planning to stay for more than a few days and you’re a family of car riders, having a car would be a convenience.
- If your child is sensitive to loud noise. Some children have noise sensitivity and New York City streets and subways are loud. Also if your child doesn’t like large crowds, driving in New York will be best.
- If you are staying outside of Manhattan. Brooklyn has quickly become the top travel destination in New York City. Not all areas in Brooklyn, as well as the other boroughs outside of Manhattan, are accessible by train. Getting to and from those parts of town require you to transfer from a bus to a train and vice versa, increasing travel time and frustration.
- If you don’t want the “full” New York City experience. New York City is full of energy, life, art, culture, language, people, and everything else you’d expect to find in an over crowded metropolis. Unfortunately you can’t always control or filter which part of the New York City experience you get. You get the good, the bad, and the ugly when you’re riding the subways.
Side Note: There are a lot of mentally unstable people that ride public transportation, in New York and other major cities. On a recent trip to New York, we decided to take the subway during one of our adventures. There was a mentally instable passenger on board our train yelling and making violent threats and obscenities to no one specific. This frightened my children terribly but it was also an opportunity for them to see and understand what untreated mental illness looks like. We quickly changed train cars at the next stop. Although I would’ve preferred for my children not to see or hear these things so young, 6 and 8, I realize that it’s part of the travel experience. I don’t want them to live in bubbles
Many families visiting New York opt to drive and use the subway. They get the best of both worlds, the full New York experience and the luxury and comfort of driving personal vehicle in New York City. When we visited this summer we reserved a weekly rental car but parked it and took the subway two of the days we were there.
If you think you need to rent a car for your family trip to NYC, please also consider the many inconveniences of driving a car in New York City. Here are a few: Traffic, traffic, traffic, parking, tolls, parking, and traffic!
Stay tuned for the next post in the Family Travel NYC series.