For many who are living in the Suburbs for the first time, commuting in and out of NYC is a new adventure, or burden, depending on how you look at it. As with anything new, it needs to be investigated, understood and ultimately, once you get a handle on it, pretty effortless so that it becomes another part of your day.
I only live 22 miles from Midtown Manhattan. When the stars are in alignment and the Turnpike is clear, my commute is a brisk 30 minutes. On days when I travel at rush hour(s) or my luck doesn’t hold out those 30 carefree minutes turn into a two hour, expletive filled grind. (I have hacks for commuting, I never said I’m wasn't human.)
Since moving out here from Brooklyn, I’ve made it a point to explore my options. I love a challenge and I love discovering creative solutions to the most common life problems. So why not pass on what I have discovered on my journey out here to you? Of all the suburb worries I hear from my city kin, commuting fears are among the most common barriers to moving out here to NJ. After traveling the back roads and less traveled streets between my home and NYC, I have discovered the following:
Before we begin
I think it goes without saying, but WAZE and the Google Maps are your friends. Check the traffic reports, either before you leave the house or just as you jump in the car. A lot can happen in those 22 miles and these “hacks” won’t be of any use if you’re stuck in a 10 mile back-up on your way to the Lincoln Tunnel. (Unless you are right at the Secaucus Junction exit (see number 6 on the list) and then in that case, my list is already helping you…)
Let’s start with the usual, most direct routes into Manhattan:
- The Turnpike to the George Washington Bridge to Upper Manhattan
- The Turnpike to the Lincoln Tunnel to Midtown
- Take I-78 East to the Holland Tunnel to Lower Manhattan
- New Jersey Transit to Penn Station
On the days the transit gods are feeling playful, I would try the following:
- Pick Your Spots —If possible, travel during one of those pockets of time when the traffic is unusually light , roughly before 7:30AM, 10AM to 3PM, then after 7PM.
- Secaucus Junction — Drive to the Secaucus Station. There’s plenty of parking and every train from and to NYC and NJ stop here, so there’s no waiting — you can always jump on the next train.
- The PATH Train – The closest thing NJ has to a subway, has several stops in Manhattan, the last one being at Herald Square, 34th Street and Broadway. You have several options:
- Harrison — Drive to the Harrison stop and take the PATH Train
- Jersey City— Drive to Jersey City and take the PATH to any of the stops in Manhattan.
- Hoboken — You can also drive to Hoboken and take either the PATH or The Ferry, but parking in Hoboken is not great so I only mention it because it’s available as an option.
- The Ferry — NY Waterway offers service from 6 locations in NJ to Midtown and the World Financial Center, including Port Liberte in Jersey City, which will take you straight to the Financial District.
Who knew there were so many ways to get in and out of the city? Wishing all of you a smooth ride home tonight and when you are ready to try the ride out to NJ, let me know. (Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org) I am sure I can help. Got a great commuter hack, I would love to hear it. Share it with me in the comments below: