Carriage rides

There are many ways to get around NYC, including by horse and buggy. (Tribune Co. photo)

Getting around

• Leave your car at home. Street parking is almost impossible to find, and parking lot rates are extravagant in Manhattan.

• Subways are normally the fastest and easiest way to get around the city. Individual tickets and multi-ride passes can be purchased with cash or credit cards from machines at every station. Single rides are $2 per person, and an express bus ride is $5. You can also get an Unlimited MetroRide card for various amounts. Pay $7.50 for a 1-day Fun Pass, $81 for a 30-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard (see MTA for additional pricing info).

• City buses are also $2 per ride and accept the same MetroCards they use on the subways. Average waits are anywhere from five to fifteen minutes depending on the time of day. The major drawbacks with buses are their snail-like pace if traffic on the surface is gridlocked; also, you have to pay with exact change (in coins) if you don't have a MetroCard.

• Taxis are literally everywhere in Manhattan. They offer a convenient alternative when traveling to and from places (like the Lower West Side and much of Central Park) that are not close to subway or bus lines. The meter starts ticking at $2.50 and goes up about $4 every 20 blocks. There are surcharges for riding cabs during the afternoon rush hour and after dark; bridge and tunnel tolls are also extra. Passengers can pay with cash or credit card.

• This may seem counterintuitive, but bikes are also a pretty good way to get around New York, especially on holidays when parts of the city are largely devoid of cars. The city publishes a map with all bike routes, a list of bike shops, plus tips on safety, parking and how to take bikes on the subway, ferries and buses (also see NYC Bike Maps).

Bike rentals are available at a number of places around Manhattan, including Bike Rental Central Park, which charges $15 for one hour or $35 for a day. Some of the best places to ride bikes around the city are Central Park, the car-free bike path that follows the Manhattan shoreline along the Hudson and East rivers, Coney Island Boardwalk (5-10 AM only) and the Flushing Meadows area of Queens, where you can also find a velodrome (oval cycle track), and the Cunningham Park mountain bike trails.

• The best transport deal in the entire city is the free Staten Island Ferry. The National Park Service runs ferries to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Governor's Island. Sea Streak operates Hudson River commuter ferries from three different points in New Jersey to Wall Street (Pier 11) to the East 34th Street in Manhattan.

Yellow water taxis ply a number of routes along the Hudson and East rivers and across New York Harbor to Brooklyn; costs can range from $4 for a short one-way journey to $20 adults/$15 children for a one-day pass that allows you to hop on and off the little ferries as many times as you want.

Circle Line is the best known of several companies that run aquatic sightseeing tours; among their 27 cruise options are a three-hour circumnavigation of Manhattan ($38.95 retail rate for adults, $33.95 internet rate for adults and $21.95 for kids ages 3-12) and an adrenalin-pumping zip around the harbor in a speedboat called The Beast ($24.95 internet rate for adults and $18.95 for kids ages 3-12).