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New York with a Toddler
New York is a great place for kids, even small ones. My son was in love with all the noises and sights. He couldn't wait to get moving every morning. He loved Times Square in particular. It's generally an ok place to get around. The museums, shops, hotels and restaurants all have elevators and are usually quite child friendly. People are kind, and even the famously stone faced New Yorkers melted whenever our son was nearby.
The one black mark however is the metro system. New Yorkers must be used to it because they are careful to carry their children or have them in lightweight, easily foldable pushchairs. Because if you have a big stroller, a must for anyone with a child under six months, you are going to be in big trouble on public transport because they will insist that you fold that thing up and carry your baby, and all your baby life support equipment (nappies, milk bottles, etc.) with you onto the bus or train.
I know the subways can get really crowded at rush hour and big prams take up a lot of space, but we were careful to travel outside of these times and still the rule was enforced. And on the subway you just cannot go through with a pushchair - you had to go through the normal turn styles. Our son got scared by all the commotion and absolutely refused to walk through it. This caused far more trouble for the other passengers than allowing us through to an almost empty train.
On the PATH trains it is a different story, with child access through the same wide doors as the disabled use. Although like the subway not many of the stations have elevators and they are often confusingly signposted. Buses are just plain child unfriendly.
I lived here for the past 13 years. Subway is the best way to get around the city in a rush hour and going for longer distance. I NEVER HAD ANY PROBLEMS. Don't be a stupid tourist. Also can you all just act normal??? What's up with backpacks turned around so the bag is actually on your stomach. you scream "mug me". People will harass you just for fun, just to scare you because you look stupid. come, enjoy, go about your business and ignore the rest. Also don't stare at strange people. They are everywhere. What you are doing is actually being confrontational. That's how your stares are read here. So again, get your pass, hop aboard and enjoy the ride.
Subway stations are dirty, badly designed bunkers
(work in progress)
Living in a city where public transport coverage leaves a lot to be desired, I am a huge fan of metro train systems. However, I have to say that of all the metro systems that I’ve been privileged to use, the New York subway is probably my least favourite. Granted, it’s affordable, safe and gives fairly good coverage in what is a vast city, but it’s hard to get any more enthusiastic about it because it has so many undesirable characteristics compared to its peers in other major cities.
Firstly the design of subway stations is claustrophobic and would be classified as being frankly hideous even by the lowest standards of brutalist architecture in the former Eastern Bloc. I accept that metro systems are utilitarian, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be downright ugly - by way of stark comparison, consider some of the lavish stations on the Moscow underground - and the fact that they aren’t all that clean does nothing to mitigate their lack of aesthetic appeal. Put bluntly, New York subway stations are little more than badly designed and increasingly decrepit concrete bunkers, so if you go with that expectation, then you won’t be disappointed.
On a related note, my experience is that subway stations are usually hellishly hot, which may be a bonus during a snowstorm in January, but is downright unpleasant at pretty well any other time of year. I’ve visited New York four times now – but thankfully only in spring and autumn – and even in those transition seasons, I’ve found the subway unpleasantly warm and would question the effectiveness of the ventilation systems. I can only speculate on how bad it gets in New York’s hot and notoriously humid summers when the mercury climbs into the 80s (30s centigrade) and humidity levels edge towards 100%, but my assumption is that it would be penitential, and it’s something that I’d care to ground truth.
pickpockets and fake tickets
Always keep an eye on your money, and camera in the subway, pickpockets are good at taking your stuff without you noticing it in time.
and never buy tickets from a stranger on the street, and so you do not buy fake tickets, and never go fake cab
can be good also to read a bit about New York before traveling here.
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Don't make sudden movements
While travelling to Brooklyn from Manhattan, I slid along the seat toward the subway map on the wall of the train to confirm the name of our station. I was was about to ask the gentleman (???) sitting beside me if I could look at the map, but before I could he jumped up and gave a very solid punch to the top of my head. Lucky for me the train was at a station and the doors were open so we made a very quick exit. I was pretty shaken up and had a beaut black eye, but that was all. Next time I shall be more careful.
Remember what way the subway is going
QWhen your traveling around manhattan & NYC. You must know what way the subway is going.
Subways can either go Uptown, Downdown East or West
So on the 6 line make sure you know what platform the train is going on. If you swipe your token & have to goto the otherside you will have to exit, walk upstairs cross the road, enter the other subway & buy another token
this also goes with travel cards. You can easily waste a trip by swiping the card & going on the wrong platform
- Budget Travel
Avoid the automatic machines
We put our money into the machine to buy the ticket. We went for the multi ticket as we knew we'd be using the subway quite a bit over the week. Of course, the machine took the money and gave us no ticket. There is always a person there behind a counter selling tickets so we went over with the receipt that said on it "Failure" to get a refund or a ticket. The lady said no, she gave us a form and told us we had to fill it out and mail it in to get a mailed refund, so we were a bit put off with that. We are from Canada so we have our doubts we'll see the money but you never know, maybe they will be good for it. From then on we bought our tickets from the ticket seller. If you have a bent card or one that is freaking out (won't work all the time etc) they can reprogram a new one for you too.
ps- we were a bit nervous the first time travelling the subway, you know how the nyc subways always gets portrayed, but after doing it a few times, we saw only good normal people doing their thing, no trouble so far and we've been here four days now and travelled a lot of trains all over manhattan/queens etc. If you get on a wrong train, no problem, just get off and get something to get you closer. The subway is very cheap, only a couple bucks to get to your destination..so as long as you don't go through an exit you can keep travelling them one after the other until you get where you need to go. They are very fast and they go all over the place. Overall a good experience so far.
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Take care and be prepared
We had a worrying incident on the subway coming in from the airport. Our carriage only contained me and my wife and another couple at the far end of the carriage from us. Three young men came along and stopped directly in front of us and started swinging to and fro while holding the grab rails. The midriff of one of the men was swinging only a couple of inches from my face and it was not only very intimidating but also very frightening. I remember thinking I would just hand over my wallet if they asked for it. What I wish I'd done in advance though was to seperate my cash from my credit cards so they wouldn't be able to take everything and that would my advice for this tip - try to secrete your credit cards where they will be fairly safe in this kind of situation. The train was on a Thursday afternoon by the way. We didn't end up being mugged as the men wandered away and talking to a couple of cops later they said they rarely get muggings on the subway in broad daylight and they were probably just wanting to scare people - it worked!!!
Beware of pickpockets!
Sometimes you need to ask for help to use the subway. Though generally New Yorkers are ready to help, be careful who you ask.
At a busy subway station, I drew out my subway map to double check my next destination. A guy came up to me and asked if I was lost. Whilst I was pointing to him where I wanted to go on the map, he started moving closer to my handbag. I quickly shifted the position of my body so that my bag was furthest away from him and quickly thanked him and walked away.
Now, I don't know if he had any ulterior motives but it's better to be careful. From then on, I only pulled out my subway map when I'm on the train with my bag safely tucked in front of me or inside a shop/restaurant. I won't even risk pulling out the map on the streets.
Make sure you know your way
There is a chance that the subway will break down, or get delayed. This happened to us in going from Manhatten to Brooklyn. Get what? Not one employee told the 200+ passengers what was going on, and a lot of us departed the cars, waiting for an answer. Then, the conductor just left the platform. We waited for 15 minutes to find out who would help us stranded on the platform, but no one showed. We eventually left the platform, bought a bus ticket back to Manhatten at an extra cost.
Never trust a unionized non caring group of employees. They are in it til they get home.
- Arts and Culture
Don't get pushed, take your time!
Subway is a great transportation but be smart!! The platforms can be a bit tight, and during rush hour they can be just right down dangerous! I have seen a dead body on the platform about 5 years ago, and since then I refuse to stick my head out to see if the train is coming, if I do, it’s with a huge caution. Be careful of your surroundings, make sure no one is running with a possibility of pushing you in to the tracks –happens, so don’t let it be you.
NYC public transportation
My wife and I were concerned with our safety on the subway. We knew we would be out quite late and had planned on using the subway. Our fears were unwarranted, we rode the subway at about midnight and had no problems. I don't know about riding it later say when the bars close but, we never felt in danger, seems their were plenty of people on the trains. It is a great place to people watch.....just don't make eye contact! We did have one person try to sell Double C batteries to everyone on the train......my wife wouldn't let me buy any. I really wanted to be the first to own a Double C battery!
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Some strange people come on the subway
Ignore all beggars on the subway or anywhere else.
Madame Tussauds tho fun is very expensive.
People try singing for money on the subway.
42nd St subway the music played there is cool.
Its at least worth listening to I found.
Don't let yourself be talked into going into someplace if you don't wish to
like Planet Hollywood or Madame Tussauds, know the cost.
- Women's Travel
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Subway Precautions 3
If you should drop something on the tracks while you are waiting for the subway, you are standing too close to the edge. But, for heaven's sake, do not jump down on the tracks and try to retrieve it. More than likely, you will probably not be able to get back up on the platform before the next train arrives. Is it really worth risking your life.
My subway precautions 1,2, & 3 seem obvious, but yet all too often I read in the paper about one of these incidents occuring. It seems that people would have the common sense not to do these things, but I think it has more to do with lack of attentiveness, impulsiveness, and being too trusting than anything else.
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Subway Precautions 1
Never stand near the edge of the the subway platform. It has happened several times since I moved here that someone has been pushed in front of an oncoming train.
My sons think I worry too much about this sort of thing, but after you have read about it in the paper a couple of times you realize that not everyone riding the subway is a decent person.
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