Getting Around New York

I’ve been neck deep working out my transportation options for Paris next week.  In Feb 2005, I did a single trip once (returning from the Louvre to Champs Elysees, primarily because I had no more energy to walk back!) and then Alan and I got a one-day pass each for the one day we went around.

The coming trip is more complicated because I’m planning two trips outside of Paris.  I hope to write about that over at Pinay Francophile but this post is about New York.

Some people find out transportation a little daunting but with basic information and some common sense, you’ll find your way around New York rather easily.

Our main transportation system is all woven into one integrated network.  Fares are “extended” between subway-bus or bus-bus on any 2-hour period.  But let’s confine ourselves to talking about Manhattan for now and not get confused with the four other boroughs of New York City, namely Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and The Bronx.  (Picture it this way, NYC is Metro Manila, and those 5 are actually its principalities.)

A ride costs $2 and entitles you to one transfer within 2 hours.  So you can take the subway from any of the other 4 boroughs into Manhattan, and upon getting to Manhattan transfer to a bus to get to your final destination.  Everyone commutes in New York which is rather difficult for those on the West Coast to grasp.  You’ll find everyone from your movie stars, the executives, the homeless, the students, etc., all in the subways and buses of New York.

We use either MetroCards or coins (only accepted in the buses) to pay the fare, and MetroCards are available from vending machines at the subway stations.  You can pay either in cash or debit/credit cards.  A single ride costs $2.00, a one-day pass $7, a week’s pass $24, and a monthly pass I have to check out.  (For more information, The New York Metropolitan Transit Authority Website )  So if you’re planning a visit to New York City, you can get one of those passes and make it around easily.  Schedules and route maps are available at the website.

One good site to keep in mind if you’re going around New York as a visitor or as one of us New Yorkers is this Subway Finder which can give you suggested routes based on your destination.  It doesn’t tell you what train to get from where you are but identifies the stops closest to your destination and which trains run through that particular station.  Please take note of the disclaimer on the website lest you find yourself seething mad if there have been route changes and you find yourself “lost”.

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My Mother, My President on TIME this week

Time’s cover story REACHING FOR THE CENTER give us a an analysis of what the overwhelming loss suffered by the Republic party in the midterm elections shows about the American sentiment, but does not quibble about the fact that many of the Democrats who won were handpicked for their conservative views to swing mostly conservative enclaves in the political landscape.  Instead of going with traditional Democrats, they fielded candidates whose views did not vary markedly from the incumbent Republicans in order to get the nod of the voting public.  For most Republicans, the loss was simply because they were Republicans.  Even those who chose to stand outside of their party lines on decisive issues lost — with their constituencies seeming to forget that they voted against Bush’s main platform.  (The link provides a summary but you will have to get a hold of this week’s edition to read the full story.)

SEARCHING FOR AN EXIT STRATEGY” is a very interesting discussion on the current government’s much-awaited move towards finding a way to leave Iraq, from the formation of the Baker commission as created by Bush, to the big question of whether or not the incumbent  President will actually accept the recommendations of Baker and company once everything is threshed out and a strategy is formulated.  (The link gives us the full text of the article.)

There’s also a feature on Film Director Pedro Almodovar and his muse, Penelope Cruz (HOW PEDRO RESCUED PENELOPE) , and the current James Bond (UM, IS THAT YOU BOND?), but the most interesting pieces I read were two articles I read on the way to work this morning:  MY MOTHER, MY PRESIDENT, an essay by ALEXANDRA PELOSSI, daughter of incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who writes about how different and how similar her mother and President Bush are.  I found this essay very refreshing and heartwarming, giving these two larger than life characters a heart that we rarely, if ever, get a glimpse into.  The second is TODAY’S NUN HAS A VEIL — AND A BLOG which discusses the resurgence of an awakening to “the call” to religious life by more and more young women and nesting mothers here in the US.  (All links give the full article — but I cannot guarantee how long these links will be working so go and take a read if you find that any of my recommendations pique your interest.)