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Thursday, September 23, 2010

1.5 New York City for New Traveler

Physician's Notebooks 1  - http://physiciansnotebook.blogspot.com - See Homepage
New York, New York (Update 04 Aug. 2018)
The following is in order of appearance. Use it to get an idea of the chapter and for search and find: or scroll down.

Sights & Activities
Flying in: Airports
City Subways and Buses
Taxi or Limo or Uber
Getting Around on Foot in Manhattan
Sleepovers I advise in NYC
Eating in NYC
Best Bookshop in NYC
Public Libraries
Children, Rides, Sunday Library
Lincoln Center
Broadway Shows
Fishing in NYC

Sights & Activities: In New York City one gets a Broadway show, the Metropolitan Opera & NY State Ballet Company; also the zoos (Bronx and in Central Park/63rd St) and botanical gardens (Bronx and Brooklyn); and ocean fishing (from City Island in Bronx and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn) and lake fishing. (See end of chapter for small print details)
   There are top museums (For starters, the American Museum of Natural History with the Planetarium on 81st & Central Park West and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St & Central Park East, and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) near Rockefeller Center).
   And natural forest in north Bronx: (From Grand Central Station take Bronx IRT train #4 to end of line, Woodlawn; or IRT #6  to end of line, Pelham Bay). Beyond tourism, NYC is a center of study that attracts students – from boy and girl wanting to learn English, to a musician or painter wishing to study, play or paint.

Flying in; Airports: Direct non-stop international flight will be routed into JFK or into Newark-Liberty. The LaGuardia Airport, too, when your flight touches down first at an other-than-NYC area international-entry.
JFK Airport located in SE corner of Queens NYC has AirTrain which connects to NYC subways at Howard Beach or Jamaica stations. You must transfer between AirTrain (fee, which may go up, $5.50 as you enter or exit AirTrain at subway station; under age-5, free) and subway fare (See below) as you enter the NYC transit system from the AirTrain exit points. AirTrain takes you directly to each terminal at JFK. If you plan to go from JFK to lower Manhattan below 42nd St or to Brooklyn, you may take AirTrain from your terminal to the Howard Beach Station and connect with a Manhattan-going A-train or you may take the AirTrain to Jamaica and get the subway E-train into Manhattan. If into mid or upper Manhattan, the Bronx. Queens or to connect to Long Island Railroad, take AirTrain to the Jamaica Station (For the Bronx, you may also use the Independent A-Train from Howard Beach with change to D train at Columbus Circle 59th St).

The LaGuardia Airport in Flushing Meadows Queens is closest to Manhattan and Bronx. It has no direct subway connection so you rely on bus if you use NYC transit. Best bus from and to Manhattan is NYC M-60 (Fare is MetroCard and you may buy a card at the airport Hudson News kiosks). The M-60 stops outside arriving passenger terminals. (Travelers using the bus to get to the airport may catch it at 125th Street in Manhattan next to subway station, and be sure to ask driver to announce your air terminal stop at LaG).  From LaGuardia Airport, the M-60 will take you into Manhattan via scenic route over the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and you get off at 125th Street for Lexington Avenue Subway (early bus stop in Manhattan) or Independent Subway (Later bus stop) which will take you up or down, respectively, the east or west side of Manhattan, or up to the Bronx. If you are going downtown to west side Manhattan it is best to stay on the M-60 from 125th St, to downtown west side. Also if you go to northeast Bronx, take a bus from airport to Flushing Station and get the bus to the Bronx there.

The Newark Liberty Airport  may be the best international airport in the NYC area because it is the least crowded and has the best entry. By express bus it is 30 minutes (Early A.M.; but it may be 60 minutes in rush hours, from 41nd St & 8th Ave Port Authority Bus Terminal) For info, call 1 908 3543330 or check website www.newarkairportexpress. The bus was, last year, $16 one-way and $24 round trip ($9 for senior citizen; credit cards accepted and swipe on bus entry; also note the prices go up with time). You may buy ticket on the bus. For the airport-going bus in Manhattan, best to board at north side of 41st Street just west off 8th Avenue and pick it up every 15 minutes (30 minutes at night; leaves on the hour & half hour). But note the bus does not run between 1:45am and 4:45am and 1st morning bus from the 41st St pick up is 5am.
   The alternative between Manhattan and the Airport is the NJ Transit train between Penn Station at 32nd St & 7th Ave and the Newark Liberty Airport Station, and then the airport Newark Airport's AirTrain takes you to and from the Terminals. The cost is about the same as the bus. The conditions of traveling are better by the bus.
A final comparison, the bus is basically more convenient than the train because the bus goes directly to each terminal from its origin in NY and leaves every 15 minutes and you don't have to buy a ticket ahead of time. The train needs a ticket bought ahead of time, a longer wait between trains that needs study of the schedule, and the necessity of getting off at the Amtrak Newark-Airport station and changing to the airport Air Train for your terminal which takes a lot of walking and wastes time that does not happen when you take the bus. 
  
City Subways & Buses: The MetroCard is for fares on NYC transit train or bus or ferries. You may buy a single-ride for $3 from a machine or the ticket seller. Important! If you want to re-use your MetroCard by purchasing more rides, you can charge your card and pay $2.75  for each ride). Senior Citizen may buy a half-fare single ride MetroCard with free return trip at ticket booths; but the Senior Citizen MetroCard is not sold from machine (At ticket-seller booth a medicare or other senior ID is required). For city buses without card a senior-citizen half fare requires exact cash-coins. Senior citizen renewable, half fare MetroCards that include all buses can be obtained at 3 Stone Street, Manhattan (Near the Bowling Green IRT# 4,5 and 6 subway station) if you have NYC area address ID (As simple as a letter addressed to you) and proof of age. For details call 1 718 3301234 from 6 AM to 10 PM. If in the city for at least a week, the 7-day-unlimited-rides bus or subway MetroCard is a bargain and on sale at subway ticket booths or the airport's or bus terminal's Hudson News shops. The ticket-selling machines have the explanations in the main foreign languages.

Taxi or Limo or Uber Ride from any Airport: Be careful not to use unmarked, taxi or limo. Get driver's name and ID number. Ask price ahead of trip. Authorized taxi is yellow. An at least 15% tip is expected. To mid Manhattan from JFK should not be more than $60 to $70.
Note: Uber  is a Smartphone app that allows users to order ride-shares in place of taxi's. It is run by the Uber company in most large US cities as of 2018, Its weakness is lack of regulation that may affect rider safety and cost.
Getting Around on Foot in Manhattan is very easy because the island is, in its main part, laid out by consecutive numbered east-west Streets (eg, from the most south numbered Street (1st Street) to the most north numbered, 220s, Street and note that 1st Street is not at the south tip of Manhattan but has many named streets south of it while the number 220s are at the north tip) The Avenues run north-south from the furthest east on the East River (the named most easterly streets and 1st Avenue) to furthest west,10th Avenue. One interesting exception to the strict north-south numbered streets is the famous Broadway, which starts high (most north) in northwest Manhattan besides 9th Avenue and runs obliquely southeast intersecting the north-south avenues so that by 14th Street it is just east of 5th Avenue.
Sleepovers I advise in NYC include the W 63rd Street YMCA off Central Park West, walking distance north from 59th Street Columbus Circle subway station. If you are coming direct from JFK, take AirTrain from your terminal to Howard Beach Station, transfer to the A-express train into Manhattan, get off at 59th Street/Columbus Circle and walk north up 8th Ave/Central Park West to the cross-street W. 63rd St and on its north side turn in left and a few steps and you are there. From LaGuardia Airport take the M-60 bus and get off near W. 63rd St and Central Park W. (Ask the driver to announce it just before the stop) From Newark-Liberty Airport; if you take bus into Manhattan and get off at Port Authority, either walk up 8th Ave or take the A-train to 59th Street; if you take New Jersey Transit, get on the uptown A-train at Penn Station and get off at 59th & Columbus Circle then walk described as above. 
 You may make reservation at the YMCA via Internet (rsc@ymcanyc.org) or by calling 1-212 8754273. If you want a room without reservation, inquire directly. Check-out time, 11:30 AM. For two persons, a bunk-bed (double-decker) room best. Rooms as of 2017 started at $109 promo price. In August 2015, I paid $119 including membership fee and tax for a 2 bunk-bed room with corridor combi-lock women's bathrooms and no lock men's bathrooms, and I was allowed to check in a companion at no extra cost and we were both satisfied with our stay
  Another good place to stay is the Hampton Inn which you can check on Internet. Also the old NewYorker hotel is reasonably priced, and very conveniently located.
 These hotels are safe, clean, good; and at the Y is a healthy food and drink at Gourmet Go self-service at street level, dining room-lounge and internet corner for $2 a 20-minute session. The West 63rd street location is in mid Manhattan near Lincoln Center where you have nightly events ranging from the Met Opera to the New York City Ballet to various musical recitals.

Eating in NYC: Don’t dine in a place that is fancy; prices will be enhancy (out of sight!). For midtown, note the West Side YMCA Gourmet Go above. Inexpensive takeout pizza and pasta (99-cent pizza slice) is found in mid-Manhattan and best at Z Deli between 48th and 49th Streets, west side of 8th Ave. The $1 hot dog (Do not buy for more than $1) is being sold by street vender here and there but especially at 52nd St just off the SW corner with 8th Ave. At the 42nd St Port Authority Bus Terminal, north side in Lowest Level, the café Snacks N Wheels is good for food, for hanging out and for charging your electronics. A real bargain and healthy food can be got in the many 24-hour Duane Reade stores that dot Manhattan and a store can be found in east side underground Penn Station or just outside Penn Station on east side 8th Ave between 32nd and 33rd Streets or  or by the aforementioned Port Authority Bus Terminal at NW corner 42nd & 8th Ave. The Duane Reades sell cooled plastic-container vegetarian or meat-eater chef salads with free mustard & chopsticks, enough for 2 meals, for $5.99, (Prices may change) and bottled water for $1.09, and you can take it with you and eat anywhere.
Warning. Concerning dining at the NewYorker hotel, I should like to warn against the attached Tick Tock Diner. The service is terrible and the food not much better. Avoid at all cost.

Best Bookshop in NYC is The Strand on the NE corner of 12th St & Broadway, Tel 1 212 473 1452, open from 9 to 6, Mon-to Sat and 11 to 6, Sunday. Its best offering is the 12th St. sidewalk bookstalls selling used books from $3 to 48-cents a book. (A world-beater gem for used book aficionados!) And inside you can find old copy of your favorite author.
   Public Libraries  If you are visiting from out of town or a foreign country, you may get a library card that entitles you to take out books and free internet at the library by just exhibiting your passport and giving a reasonable explanation that you are planning a stay in New York City. If you are in NYC on a Sunday, the mid-Manhattan Public Library on the east side of 5th Ave, 39th to 40th Streets, is open from 12 Noon to 5 PM (but no walk-in carts).

For children in Manhattan, a playground in Central Park is on the east part at 63rd St. The horse-carriage or bicycle ricksha rides are not worth the money; you do better on foot. Rather than paying for tour bus, you do better, walking. Also note the Central Park Zoo in its southeast part around 63rd St.

Lincoln Center (63rd to 65th St on west side of Broadway) is superb to go to at or weekend afternoon matinees. One can find opera, ballet, music performance, play and, in season a circus. The weekday night events start 7. For ballet or opera, standing room available and I prefer it to sitting: You get a good view, you can leave early without disturbing, and the price was c.$20 in 2011. For the Met Opera, the seat or standing place has large-print read-out that translates foreign language opera lyric to English as it is sung.
   A survey of Broadway shows can be got via Google. Don’t buy ticket ahead of time: you’ll be scalped (Charged too much for a ticket). Get it on day you go.

Fishing in NYC is a day’s activity. My ocean experience is the boat, Island Current that leaves mornings 8 AM and returns 4 PM or nights 6:30 from City Island to your right as you come over the bridge on the city bus (From Pelham Parkway, end-of-line Train #6, at IRT Station get the Bx 19 bus to City Island 2nd stop off the bridge) or walking. (Call 1 917 4177557 for info or check the website www.islandcurrent.com) You do not need fishing tackle, it is all supplied under the price, as of May. 2016, $65. ($60 for senior citizen; $40 for child) You buy bait at the nearby store, 2 boxes of worms per person. And you should buy a sandwich and a drink to have on the boat. Even if you never fished before, the mate and his boys will bait your hook and help you with advice, and when you get a fish on the line they will net it for you. In spring, flounders; in autumn, porgy, sea bass and bluefish; and in summer a wide variety including porgy, bass and mackerel. Boat fishermen are friendly and you won’t be bored even if you do not catch fish.
   Lake fishing is good in the city lakes from June to September. My experience is Van Cortland Lake, a 20 minute walk west from the Mosholu Parkway IRT #4 Lex train from Grand Central to the Bronx on Jerome Ave. With night crawler worm bait locally dug or bait homemade (dough treacle: a spoonful of powder dough and one uncooked egg from shell into which you trickle drops of water mixing until you get a treacly lump from which small roll ball), the bait will be irresistible to the local sunfish. A small hand line with float or even without float and a smallest size hook should be used. (For fishing the lake, click 8.37 Bringing Up Baby/Child Raising and scroll to bottom; for entertaining fiction on it, click 12.(30-32) Monster Sun Fish - Ali Makes a Pet .
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