Congratulations on deciding to visit the Big Apple (from here on out referred to as "the city," since all New Yorkers are egocentric and believe that their city is THE city). Whether you choose to spend time in the Metropolitan Museum of Art or an S&M club in the West Village, or both (we wouldn't be surprised if the Met had an S&M club in its basement), you're in for quite an experience. NYC isn't nearly as crazy or dangerous as movies make it out to be, so relax and enjoy its intrinsic weirdness.

By the way, we're assuming that you want to visit Manhattan. The other boroughs (Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island) all have their own charms, but save those for your second trip; as months of watching Sex and the City have taught you, anything worth seeing is in Manhattan.


New York City, being a major metropolis, can be accessed in many ways: plane, train, bus, or car:

  • Flying: There are three major airports that people usually fly into when traveling to New York. LaGuardia is the closest to Manhattan, located in the borough of Queens. JFK International Airport is also in Queens, but a little farther from Manhattan. Newark is in New Jersey and is by far the farthest from the city.

    Most airlines fly out of all three airports, although international and American Airlines flights go through JFK, most USAir flights go through Laguardia, and most Continental flights go through Newark. For tips on getting cheap tickets, check out our article "SYW find cheap airline tickets?"

    All three airports have plenty of taxis to get you into the city. A typical fare from LaGuardia to Manhattan starts at $15, there's a $30 flat-rate for Kennedy, and much much more for Newark. You can also take advantage of shuttles provided by Gray Line Express Bus (212-757-7712), Olympia Trails (212-964-6233) and the New York Airport Service (718-875-8200). These will cost you less than $15, but the ride will take longer and will be less pleasant.

  • Train: Amtrak trains arrive constantly in Penn Station, which is located at 7th Avenue and 34th Street (if these numbers don't mean anything to you, don't worry; by the end of this SYW you will be a city guru). Penn Station is conveniently located in the heart of Manhattan and can be accessed via subway and taxis. For schedule and fare information, go to the Amtrak web page. Metro North, a light rail system which runs from Connecticut to New York, is another convenient way to get into the city if you happen to be nearby. Those trains come into Grand Central Station, which is located at 42nd Street and Park Avenue.

    Taking Amtrak can be quite pricey; in fact, unless you're only a couple hours away from the city, it's often cheaper to just fly in. So unless you have a fear of flying, you should definitely compare air and rail prices.

  • Bus: For those of you on a tight budget (or who are just plain cheap but have a lot of time on your hands), the bus is always an option. Buses, run by several companies including Greyhound, Trailways, Peter Pan, and New Jersey Transit, are usually much cheaper then trains and planes and they are just as convenient, arriving at Port Authority, located at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue. Of course, buses take longer and have smellier bathrooms. Hey, life is a trade-off.

  • Driving: If you choose to drive to New York City, your best bet would be to find a garage as soon as you arrive, preferably one that doesn't charge an arm and a leg, and park your car for the duration of the trip. Driving and parking in the city are both impossible (mentally, if not physically) and will certainly make your trip miserable. Since New York has excellent public transportation and thousands of taxis, you really don't need your car if you are staying in Manhattan.