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The proverbial “New York state of mind” comes from the quirky characteristics of the city and its multitude of people from all over the world. Comprising of the 5 boroughs of Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, New York City (NYC) is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities blending big city splendour with small-town charm. Major commercial and financial centres, an iconic skyline, sprawling parks and trend-setting art, fashion, and culinary quests are just some of the myriad reasons that bring people to New York City.
Any time of the year is a good time to visit NYC. June – August is a popular time to visit for families traveling with kids. These months are hot and humid with temperatures ranging from 25 – 30 degrees Celsius. September – November are cooler months with a crisp fall breeze and bright sun but hotel prices are steep. Try to stay clear of the tourist season around Thanksgiving when NYC is packed with visitors for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Accommodation is cheaper during the peak winter months of January – February, so if the snow and freezing temperatures do not deter you, then you should plan a trip at the start of the year. Spring time from March – May with temperatures hovering around 5 – 15 degrees Celsius is also a beautiful time to visit. Showers are common at this time of the year, so be sure to pack in an umbrella and some rain boots.
There are no direct flights from Australian cities to New York. Operators with a minimum of one stop international flights include Qantas Airways, Emirates, British Airways, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Qatar Airways, American Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, United Airlines, Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, and many more.
Taxis charge a flat fare of $52.00 USD from the airport to Manhattan and impose a $4.50 USD surcharge during peak hours of 4 pm – 8 pm on weekdays.
AirTrain and MTA
Take the Airtrain from the arrival terminal at the airport to Jamaica station or Howard Beach station, followed by the MTA subway to Penn station at Midtown Manhattan. The ride will cost you $7.75 USD with a journey time of 50 minutes. This fare includes the $5.00 USD charge for the Airtrain while the balance is the fare for the subway.
Shared-ride Vans or Shuttle Buses
Reservations for shared-ride van and private car services can be made at the Port Authority Welcome Centre located on the Arrivals level of each terminal. If the centre is closed, there is a convenient self-service kiosk nearby.
Several international flights land at the Newark Airport in New Jersey and there are many easy ways to reach Manhattan from here.
Newark Airport Express Bus
The Airport Express is a direct motor coach service that runs every 15 – 30 minutes between the airport and Midtown Manhattan with stops at Grand Central Station, Bryant Park and Port Authority Bus Terminal. A one-way ticket costs $16 USD plus a $1 USD administrative fee and the journey time is between 45 – 60 minutes.
AirTrain and NJ Trains
AirTrain Network operates a free monorail service connecting the airport terminals, parking lots, hotel shuttles, rental car facilities and to NJ Transit stops. When you buy an NJ Transit ticket from the Newark Liberty International Airport station, it includes the AirTrain Newark fare which is $5.50 USD and you can reach Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan in around 40 minutes with a fare of $13.00 USD.
Taxis can be hailed at the airport with a flat fee of $50 USD to $70 USD depending on your destination in Manhattan.
Reservations for shared-ride van and private car services can be made at the Port Authority Welcome Center located on the Arrivals level of each terminal. If the Center is closed, there is a convenient self-service kiosk nearby where you can contact authorised shared-ride or private car services.
You can also explore New York driving on your own. Look for some great deals on car rentals with momondo.
New York is an excellent walking city and getting around by foot is one of the easiest ways to beat the fairly heavy round-the-clock traffic, especially in Manhattan.
Open 24/7, the subway is a convenient and inexpensive way to get around any of the 5 boroughs. The base fare is $2.75 USD plus a $1 USD charge to purchase the MetroCard. If you are planning to stay longer, a 7-Day pass with unlimited rides from the first day of use will cost $32USD.
At a flat rate of $2.75USD, buses are another inexpensive way to travel above-ground but are prone to traffic jams. Using a MetroCard is advisable since bus drivers require exact fare and do not accept dollar bills. The MetroCard also allows for free transfers between bus lines and or subways within 2 hours of your journey start time.
Manhattan’s streets have an abundance of the yellow taxis which can be hailed right off the curb. The meter starts at $2.50 USD and drivers usually expect a tip of 15 – 20 percent of the total fare.
Australian and New Zealand nationals may travel to the United States as tourists for stays of 90 days or less under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP). However, travellers are required to have a valid authorisation through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) prior to travel. For foreign nationals, please check the U.S. Department of State website.
Based on your itinerary, you should consider the New York CityPASS, New York Explorer Pass and Build Your Own Pass for substantial savings on admissions to several key attractions.
There are many museums, cultural festivals, walking tours, etc. which are free for visitors. When planning your trip, see what you can include to make your visit much more interesting without costing more.