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Driving Chicken's guide to NYC?


My wife and I want to drive to NYC for a 5 night stay around the second week of October.

One constraint I am imposing is that I *absolutely* will not take my car into Manhattan.  Hence the "chicken" in the title.

So, I have researched the newsgroups, and what sounds most appealing is to stay at a hotel on the NJ side and take public transportation into NY each day.

I used to live in NJ years ago, but I am not totally familiar with North Jersey. (I just know that all the refineries are along the turnpike.)

The best alternative I can find for transportation into the city is a ferry from Weehawken that supposedly takes 10 minutes for the trip each way. And there is a Sheraton Suites located at the harbor (rated three star.) Rates are OK at around $169/night and it would minimize time we spend commuting and driving.

Second best alternatives would appear to be to stay somewhere else in NJ and drive to this terminal, or, take the tube or buses into the city. 

I could use Priceline but I'd be taking pot luck on the specific location. I'm prepared to pay a slight premium for assurance that the location won't be a hassle and will minimize our time getting in and out of things.

One comment I keep running into on the NGs is that NJ (Newark area in particular) is the car theft capital of the US. So one concern is security - I have a newish Nissan Maxima that I really want to drive back home... I'd assume any decent hotel will have good garage security. (I used to park at EWR years ago  and nothing ever happened but I drove a trashy car...)

Advice? Alternate game plan? (One thing, please don't try to talk me into taking my car into the city... thx.)

Bored Bystander
Saturday, September 20, 2003

1. Jersey ferries don't run so well at night, so look into it. Brooklyn or Queens can be reached by taxi if you don't want to take the subway at night, Weehawken can't easily.

The Weehawken ferries leave you on the extreme west side of town... there's a free bus that runs, but this really adds quite a bit of time to any place you want to go. So even if the ferry is 10 minutes (15-20 minutes actually 10 minutes there, 10 minutes back), at night it runs less frequently (if at all) and then you have to make your way into the city center, or go to the extreme west side of town at night - it's not really something you can walk easily, it's a half hour from anywhere, and a boring walk too.

Though if other people recommend this, then maybe it's not as bad as I'm making it out to be. I had a friend who worked in Weehawken and I'd visit her for lunch... Waiting for that Ferry bus wasn't fun... nor was walking it. So if you take a cab, that's $5, plus the $5 ferry ticket...

Other places in Jersey might be OK to commute to, I hear varying stories... Penn Station and the Port Authority are both in midtown, so that's nice. Get off the bus in Times Square...

2. Don't assume the hotel has a garage confirm this. I've never stayed at a hotel in my home town, and most probably do have garages, but you never know... And then tack on the garage fees to the total cost.

3. Maybe you can find a parking garage somewhere outside of Manhattan (airport?), park the car, and take a cab to a hotel in NYC. This will make your daily commute easier, though your entry/exit trip more of a hassle.

I suspect the difference between staying in Manhattan and a half hour from Manhattan will make the difference between a good vacation and a great one.

Mark T A W .com
Saturday, September 20, 2003

Mark, I really appreciate the reality check. That was exactly the kind of input I was looking for. Yeah, ferries concern me (they exist because there's no other way in & out) but it sounded neat initially.

Sounds like I might be best off looking for hotels that are on bus lines.


Bored Bystander
Saturday, September 20, 2003

well... there are other ways, but you have to go out of your way... way up to the george washing to bridge or down to the holland tunnel...

the port authority  / new jersey transit probably have posted schedules... hunt down those websites and check them out.

Mark T A W .com
Sunday, September 21, 2003

>george washing to bridge

yes i'm very tired

Mark T A W .com
Sunday, September 21, 2003

Where are you coming from? I know you don't want people talking you into driving into the city, but I used to drive down to the city from Boston all the time. It was much easier to drive into the city and park (esp. garaging the car in east midtown) than it was for me to drive directly to my friend's place in jersey city. This might be another story if you are coming from the south or west.

Monday, September 22, 2003

The problem with staying in NJ is that you have to commute into the city. Now, when I visit somewhere I like to do the  things the locals do but a grinding commute is just not one of those them.

There is a parking lot right on this (Manhattan) side of the Lincoln Tunnel which charges $19 per day. It's a covered self parking garage on 42nd between 9th and 10th. Really nice, proper joint. My parents and gf have all parked their cars there without problems for days.

The advantage of it, for nyc driving chickens, is that you only have to drive three blocks in Manhattan proper when you come through the Lincoln. And it's cheap. And you can stay in a hotel in Manhattan, instead of somewhere in that superfund site we call NJ...

Monday, September 22, 2003

Just go to Hoboken or Jersey City and take the Path subway train for $1.50

The Path will bring you to the downtown area as far up as 33rd street.  All pennyless college students such as myself know that taking the path is the easiest and cheapest route to NYC.

Hoboken is a pretty nice place to stay and they have been building up the Jersey City area lately.  But there are parking garages in Jersey City if you need it.

Bryan Young
Wednesday, September 24, 2003

My two cents from a former hobokenite...

1) You could stay in Jersey City. Like the previous post said the PATH  is very easy and imo better than the ferry since it runs later and doesn't leave you on the edge of the west side.

There's a Courtyard Marriott right there at the Pavonia newport station. There's  also a parking garage there if the hotel doesn't have one.

the path will put you right in the middle of the village or you can take it as far north as 33rd street (Herald square ish)

2) Even better. Drive your car to the garage in jersey city near the marriot. Leave it there. Take the path into manhattan and  stay in a hotel in NYC. When you want your car just commute back to it on the path.

Side note on cabs to NJ if you get stuck....

In a pinch you can take a cab from manhattan back to the parking/hotel in NJ. You have to negotiate the price before you enter the cab when going to NJ. The cabs are not required to take you there like other parts of the city.

Step in the cab and say "What do you want to do to go to New Jersey (insert your hotel name etc)?"

They'll usually say double the meter plus the toll. You can negotiate double the meter form the tunnel etc. Or you can do a flat rate. If you offer $25-30 flat few including tolls that's usually fair.

Visiting NYC and staying in Manhattan is a great way to see the city, so I'd ditch the car. HTH

John Parello
Thursday, September 25, 2003

PLEASE take John's advice. Don't come to New York and stay in New Jersey. I don't say this because there's anything wrong with NJ, just that you're going to hugely dilute your experience of NYC if you have to think that much about getting back to the hotel every night. Park you car in NJ and commute into the city once. Stay in a hotel in the city, you'll be happy you did.

Friday, September 26, 2003

i third the advice about not staying in NJ. I love NJ (go figure), but I certainly don't love the PATH!

Friday, September 26, 2003

So including my similar advice in the 2nd post in this thread... That makes 4 votes for park in Jersey, stay in Manhattan.

Mark T A W .com
Friday, September 26, 2003

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