Have you ever wondered what it’s like to drive into New York City? I’m not talking about riding the bus, because someone else drives the bus. I’m talking about the rite of passage of driving The Helix (Rt 495 from the NJ Turnpike to the Lincoln Tunnel) and emerging in mid-town Manhattan on Dyer Avenue.
The very first time I drove in NYC I was in college. That means that I’d only been a driver for perhaps 3 years or so. My mother, who was an actress, got food poisoning after a rehearsal in the city. She couldn’t take the bus home. I needed to go get her. At night. I called her best friend, Cathy, and Cathy rode with me into mid-town Manhattan. Cathy served as moral support and navigator.
As intimidating as that trip was, it was decades ago. The roads got worse, the traffic got heavier, and people seem to have a lot more road rage. Not to mention the aggressive window-washers who accosted you as you were stuck on Dyer Avenue. Driving in NYC got a lot worse after my initial foray. A few mayors ago laws were passed to prohibit the incessant horn-blowing and “blocking the box” (sitting in the intersection because you didn’t clear it while you had the light). I think that since the very bad traffic perhaps 10, 20 years ago, the driving has gotten much better and the window washers are gone.
If we’re going to the theater or some other event/excursion we often take the train. Now that we are Senior Citizens that senior discount is FANTASTIC. No WAY can you drive & park for less than 2 or 3 train tickets. 🙂
Sometimes, however, it is necessary to drive in. My brother-in-law needed to get to the upper east side of Manhattan for an appointment with several surgeons. He cannot drive. My sister, who could drive, wanted to be focused on her husband, not traffic. Driving in NYC is not something she enjoys at the best of times. I offered to be the limo driver.
Unlike Honour and my husband, my sister cooperates when she is a passenger. *grin* I told her to take pictures of NYC from the Helix. She went above and beyond, taking photos of what it actually looks like to get down the Helix and merge 7 lanes into 4 tunnel lanes, including the bus lane. There are 3 tubes, 2 lanes each. But 2 lanes are needed for traffic heading out of NY. In the afternoon the tubes switchover to provide more lanes for outbound traffic.
As you might expect, while most people understand the rules of merging and patience, and understand ultimately we will all get through the tunnel and into NYC, there are always a few who are more important and in more of a hurry than anyone else.
I actually LIKE driving in to NYC. Some people like playing video games. I like the real-life challenge of driving in rush hour, jam-packed traffic, with crazy people who are akin to video dangers and booby traps 🙂
Yes, it is exhausting. But to drive into the city means you need the adrenaline flowing, your senses heightened AND your patience running at 110%. Fully charged but calm. Hey, it’s a crazy way to commute but someone’s gotta do it. 🙂
4 thoughts on “Driving Into NYC”
You just did this to give me nightmares. blech!
awwww. you know you’re safe with me. 🙂
Somehow I never knew that famous tunnel goes under a freakin’ river!!! Nope, nope, nope! There’s gotta be a bridge somewhere I can take instead, right???
So along the helix and everything getting TO the tunnel, like what speed are you driving? Are you having to merge from 7 lanes into 4 tunnels while going 75mph or are you crawling along at 5mph? If we’re crawling along and doing the whole stop n go, I could probably do the drive. I think that’s the whole reason I have no problem driving in L.A. Stop and go, stop and go. Annoying, but super easy. lol
The step by step pictures are much appreciated, just in case I ever make it to NYC. lol
*laughing* omg. there is NO WAY you could get to 75 mph on the helix. I think the best I have ever done was maybe 30mph? 40 mph in the middle of the night?? It’s pretty much stop & go the whole way from the NJ Tpk to NYC. and then more stop & go in NYC. too many cars, too many turns. that’s one of the reasons NYC is looking at imposing no-drive areas in Manhattan. and NJ is NOT happy about that.
To get to the tip of Manhattan you can take the ferry from Staten Island across the bay – are you better with boats than tunnels? 2 tunnels go under the Hudson – the Lincoln & the Holland – which brings you in way down around Canal St (think SoHo). The bridges are further north – The GWB – sorry, the George Washington Bridge – which brings you to upper Manhattan. Also the Tappanzee – now renamed to the Gov Mario Cuomo – which brings you into Westchester county. That was built at the widest part of the Hudson, which you’d think was “dumb”. But it was the southernmost point that was still NORTH of NYC which meant they didn’t have to deal with the Port Authority. *grin*
And of course there is mass transit: the train (which also goes under the river), buses (which go under the river) and the PATH train (also under the river). *grin* of course you could hire a helicopter.
of course you’ll make it to NYC – we’ll go sight-seeing together. 🙂