New York prides itself on its amazing transportation system and it is only getting better, although more expensive, every year. When traveling with children, especially with a stroller, things can be a bit tricky but New Yorkers, contrary to popular belief, always help out when it comes to kids. I have seen strangers sprint to hold a door open and someone will always magically appear to help you carry a stroller up or down stairs. We still have a long way to go in terms of making transportation more accessible but it’s slowly getting there.
Subway — The subway is by far the fastest and most efficient method for getting around town. Unfortunately, it’s not great if you are travelling with small children because 1) there are a lot of stairs to navigate 2) it’s loud, 3) unless you travel during off-peak hours it will be packed. Your best bet with kids is to travel after 10am and before 4:30pm and take a local train to your destination — you will have the best chance of getting a seat and enjoying the ride. Useful Tip: Make every attempt to perfect your Metrocard “swipe” technique. If you don’t want to look like a tourist you need to get the movement down pat. It is a quick swipe, not a slow drag. Once you hear a “beep” you must move through the turnstile swiftly, like your life depends on it.
Bus – The Bus is great but it is SLOW. My mom LOVES the bus. She is 71 years old. It is certainly a cleaner and more sedated way to get around the city and is far more kid friendly, but depending on the time of day it can take a while. The system tends to be a bit more confusing then the subway but you can find a bus stop every few blocks among main avenues and larger crosstown streets. Again — best at off-peak hours. You will need to fold a stroller but people always give up seats when they see children in tow.
Taxi — Taxis are everywhere and they are my preferred method for getting from point A to B with young kids. Although they can be expensive during high traffic times, I find the door to door service worth the extra cash. Cabbies tend to be friendly and will help you put a stroller in the trunk and as an aside, most cabs now accept credit cards. While you do not need to have a car seat in a taxi it’s really best that children are old enough to at least wear a seatbelt. If you are traveling with an infant I would recommend a portable car seat for sure. Tourist Tip: Only, ONLY, stick your hand up to flag one down if the middle light on the top of the cab is on. Do not yell “TAXI!!!”…please. And if it says “off duty” it is.
Livery Cars for hire: There are dozens of private car services in the city but the best known and most recognized is probably dial7.com or more easily to remember 212-777-7777. They are best known for their reliable trips to and from the major airports.
On foot — The very best way to see the city is on foot and on a sunny day it’s the easiest if you are pushing a stroller. New Yorkers walk everywhere and learning your way around is easy — it’s a grid system. You can pick up great maps in any bookstore. I especially like the ones from Streetwise.
Livery Cars: These are the dark limousine-style cars that you will see driving around which are essentially “cars for hire.” They will stop when they see people waiting for taxis to offer a lift for a higher rate. DO NOT GET IN THESE!!!!! If you want to hire a car you need to call the service ahead of time.
Escalators: Stand to the right, walk on the left. Mandatory. Don’t deviate.