How To Get To New York City
( Originally Published 1940 )
Although New York lags far behind Chicago as a railroad center, if-all methods of arrival and departure are considered, it is undoubtedly the greatest transportation center in the world. If you arrive by steamer, by air, or by automobile, your entrance to the city is spectacular. By rail it is far less so, for the trains to the two major terminals dive underground as though they were doing something to be ashamed of and eventually land in a cellar!
By far the most beautiful way to reach New York is by steamer. In all the world there is nothing more breathtaking than the view of the crowded buildings of Manhattan reaching for the skies in a jumble of towers. Fortunately I will be able to indicate later how you can get almost the same view from a ferryboat, so if your route does not permit of a steamer arrival, don't despair.
The New Yorker takes his great ocean liners so much for granted that it rarely occurs to him that his is the only city in the world where the passenger on a ship like the "Queen Mary" or the "Normandie" can step into a taxi at the pier and be in a hotel like the Waldorf after driving only nine blocks across town! for most of the great transatlantic liners dock along the west side of Manhattan, the Holland America Line being the only major transatlantic and cruise company still faithful to Hoboken, across the river on the Jersey Shore.
There are coastwise services along the Atlantic Coast which make steamer arrival easy for the dweller along the southern seaboard, or for the dweller in the Southwest by way of New Orleans. Also there are excellent services nightly from Boston, and less frequently from Portland, Maine, and from the eastern provinces of Canada. But the steamer route is geographically out of question for the great bulk of the American public, who will of necessity arrive by air, rail, or automobile.
LA GUARDIA FIELD, the new municipal airport of New York, is on Long Island within the city limits. Automobiles from and to the center of New York connect with all planes. With its arrivals and departures every few minutes, this airport is one of the great sights of the city, and should be visited as such whether or not you intend to travel by air.
Although flying is steadily on the increase, passengers arrive in New York by rail in thousands to the air line's tens. The finest trains from the West arrive at either the Pennsylvania Station or the Grand Central Terminal, from the North and New England at the Grand Central Terminal (except a few trains a day from New England which use New York as a way station on their journey elsewhere and therefore pass through and under the city by way of the Pennsylvania Station) and from the South at the Pennsylvania Station. The Grand Central Terminal (New York Central and New York, New Haven & Hartford railways) and the Pennsylvania Station (Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley, and Long Island railroads) are the only railway stations on Manhattan Island, with the exception of the "halt" at 125th Street, where most, but not all, of the New York Central and New Haven trains pause on their way into or out of the Grand Central Terminal.
The other railways serving New York, such as the Baltimore and Ohio, the Lackawanna, the Jersey Central, the Erie, and the West Shore, all have their terminals on the New Jersey side of the Hudson, and passengers can reach New York only by ferry or by the service of the Hudson and Manhattan Tunnels, which connect all of these stations, except the West Shore and that used jointly by the Jersey Central and the Baltimore and Ohio, with downtown or with midtown New York. Although useful to the native, or to the commuter who knows his way around, the Tunnels will probably prove a little con-fusing to the first-time visitor, and I think he would do better to stick to the old, reliable ferry route.
The Baltimore and Ohio has established what is in effect a whole series of New York terminals by a remarkable motor-coach service direct from the train side to various points in New York and Brooklyn. It works like a watch, and is a great convenience.
But most rail travelers will arrive at either the Pennsylvania Station or the Grand Central, and will be at one of the most fascinating sights in New York when he gets there. Even if he does not have time to see either station on his way through, he should make a' visit to both before his departure. They will be treated as sights in their proper place in this book.
Naturally, with bus travel on the increase, more people are arriving in New York every year by that convenient and economical method of transportation. There are many bus stations around the city and four important terminals for the traveler.
The Greyhound buses end their routes at either or both of these terminals: The Capitol Bus Terminal, at 50th Street between Eighth Avenue and Broadway; and the Pennsylvania Motor Coach Terminal, on 34th Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Other important terminals are the Dixie Bus Center, 242 West 42nd Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues; and the Midtown Bus Terminal, 143 West 43rd Street, between Times Square and Sixth Avenue. The latter - terminals are used by most of the principal bus systems other than the Greyhound.
The motorist has a less simple problem to solve. From the North or from New England, he will probably enter Manhattan through the parkways leading from one of the major routes which have brought him in the direction of New York. U. S. 1 carries an enormous amount of traffic from New England into the city. I advise anyone arriving by that route to desert it as quickly as he finds a sign saying "Merritt Parkway," and then to follow that road to the Hutchinson River Parkway, thence into the Cross County Parkway, and finally into New York over the Henry Hudson Parkway and bridge. Of course, it means the driver will have to go through the nuisance of digging down for dime tolls three separate times (once on the Merritt Parkway; once at the Fleetwood Viaduct, and once at the Henry Hudson Bridge), but it is worth it to avoid the traffic through the Bronx.
The motorist arriving from the North by U. S. 9 will do well to desert that highway at Peekskill, some forty miles from New York, in favor of the Bronx River Parkway Extension, which will bring him through park all the way to signs directing him to the "Henry Hudson Parkway" with a minimum of traffic lights and no billboards.
Another beautiful route from the North is by U. S. 9W, which is in sight of the river all the way into the city, and finally leads to the George Washington Bridge (toll 50 cents) by a magnificent drive along the very top of the Palisades.
In any case, these routes will take you to the West Side Highway through Riverside Park. There are a great many exits from the Highway, and it will depend on your objective which one you will use to start driving across town to your hotel. Probably it will be 96th, 79th, 72nd, or 57th Streets. Take the nearest exit to your hotel—that is, if you are going to a hotel on 60th Street, leave the highway at 57th Street.
Motorists from the West will almost inevitably find them-selves at either the George Washington Bridge, or at the Holland or Lincoln Tunnels. The route into the heart of the city from the George Washington Bridge has already been de-scribed.
The LINCOLN TUNNEL (toll 50 cents) runs under the Hudson from Weehawken, New Jersey, to West 39th Street, in Manhattan, with an exit on 42nd Street as well. It is a convenient point of entry for hotels in the midtown section of Manhattan.
The HOLLAND TUNNEL (toll 50 cents) is one of the world's great vehicular arteries. Its twin tubes accommodate four lanes of traffic, and during the first five years of its operation motor-cars and trucks passed through at an average of about nine million annually. It leads from Jersey City to Canal and Varick Streets, Manhattan. Probably the most convenient route from the Holland Tunnel to any hotels in Manhattan would be to drive north on Varick Street. This will lead you into Seventh Avenue, and you can continue north on the latter street until you reach the cross street you need.
Motorists arriving in New York from the South will almost inevitably find their routes converging toward the great PULASKI SKYWAY, that extraordinary highway carried high on viaducts and cantilever bridges over the streams and meadows and tangled railroad tracks between Newark, New Jersey, and Jersey City. This road is one of the engineering marvels of the country, and if you have never seen it, it will be worth your while to detour, if necessary, to reach U. S. 1, which crosses it.
The Pulaski Skyway will lead the motorist direct to the main connections for the Holland Tunnel to New York.