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Driving to NYC from North

Ottawa, Canada
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Driving to NYC from North

Hello all! We will be driving to NYC this weekend (Friday Oct 11-Monday Oct 14). Our hotel is in Midtown East on 3rd Ave. Hotel charges $50 a day to valet park the car. Not that concerned about the money, more wondering how bad traffic would be and if we should park outside the city and bus/train to the hotel. There are 4 of us - me, hubby and 2 teenagers. Hubby doesn't mind driving in traffic but I don't want to waste hours in the car. Driving from Canada down I-87 and would likely hit the city around 4pm on Friday.

Would appreciate any advice about how to drive in, where to park outside the city if that's better, and also for leaving on Monday around the Columbus Day Parade. Many thanks!!

Freehold, New Jersey
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819 posts
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1. Re: Driving to NYC from North

getting in to the city @ four is not usually a long wait

if money is no issue, neither will getting to the hotel be

Astoria, New York
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2. Re: Driving to NYC from North

Since this is the beginning of a holiday weekend here there will be traffic, but the worst of it will be headed away from the city. (Not that it won't be slow.) For 4 of you I'm not sure parking outside the city and taking a train in would be that much more convenient or cheaper.

In general the advice is to avoid the George Washington Bridge / Cross Bronx area whenever possible as that can have major backups.

The alternative is to cross the Hudson River farther north on the Tappan Zee (i-287) and then take I-87 south towards the Bronx. (Which you may have already planned to do.)

For entering Manhattan either 1) Use the Willis Avenue Bridge from the Bronx to the FDR (Map here: guessed the approximate location of your hotel. http://goo.gl/maps/beKY8 ) or Get off I-87 take 9A across the Henry Hudson Bridge into Manhattan (Map here: http://goo.gl/maps/voUbt )

The Columbus Day Parade in NYC on Monday, October 14, 2013 begins at 11:45 AM, The route is up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street north to 79th Street., so depending on the time and route you plan to leave by, you may need to detour a bit to avoid the festivities.

To look for alternative places to park and discounts/coupons browse here: http://nyc.bestparking.com/

Edited: 08 October 2013, 19:46
Portland, Maine
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3. Re: Driving to NYC from North

If your hotel is in Midtown East then you probably want to come down the FDR Drive on the East Side of Manhattan.

As you've already been told, the Tappan Zee Bridge is the best alternative and then down I-87. You actually want the Third Avenue Bridge into Manhattan rather than the Willis Avenue Bridge, which is one way northbound. The Google Maps route you've received is correct but note that signs will direct you to a longer, more roundabout route, which requires cutting across several lanes of traffic.

So, follow the Google Maps directions and exit at 138th Street. Follow the service road (Exterior Street) around to the left toward the Third Avenue Bridge. Stay in the second to right lane. The extreme right hand lane is for local traffic not getting onto the Third Avenue Bridge. It usually has fewer cars in it so people try to use it for the bridge. I've seen police out giving tickets to people who try to do this.

The signs are really pretty clear. You'll make a right onto the bridge from the second to right lane. Once on the bridge stay to the right and follow the signs to the right onto a cloverleaf entrance onto the southbound FDR.

Astoria, New York
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4. Re: Driving to NYC from North

Thanks for the correction

And yes there is something a little wonky about those Google maps... Hopefully the OP will get the underlying idea and I did not confuse.

Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: Driving to NYC from North

Thank you so much!! This was incredibly helpful! Online directions had told me to take the George Washington Bridge so I probably would have if you had not clued me in. Makes much more sense to cross further north. I'm sure you saved me lots of time and aggravation!

Our hotel is the Marriott on 3rd between 52nd and 53th, so you guessed pretty close. Looks like I can take 49th St to 3rd.

Again, a very big thank you!

Astoria, New York
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14,775 posts
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6. Re: Driving to NYC from North

There is also a southbound FDR exit (#11) at 53rd street.

Have a great visit!

Edited: 09 October 2013, 15:30
7. Re: Driving to NYC from North

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