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Driving into NYC on a Friday afternoon/night with children?

Montreal, Canada
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Driving into NYC on a Friday afternoon/night with children?

Hi everyone,

My questions are 1) When is peak rush hour on the George Washington Bridge (GWB) on a Friday?

2) How bad is construction on the GWB?

I have a photography session booked on a Saturday (Nov 23) in the Cloisters area, and we're driving from Canada (Montreal area) on the Friday with two little kids. The 7 y.o. will probably be fine, but I don't know about the 3 y.o. after 8 h in the car.

Google Maps suggests driving through NJ and taking the George Washington Bridge, which seems to be under construction. So I'm wondering if we should stay the night in NJ and cross the bridge on Saturday, when we won't have to fight rush hour, and might shave an hour off our travel time on Friday. But it might be more fun to stay the night in NYC proper. I'd also be more relaxed if we were closer to the Cloisters area, since the photo shoot could start at 9 a.m. (The photographer only gives an itinerary 24 hours in advance, and shoots any time during the day.)

I see you can take a ferry in from NJ, but I'm not sure when/where that works.

Any advice appreciated.

Thanks,

Melissa

New York City, New...
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1. Re: Driving into NYC on a Friday afternoon/night with children?

You will be reverse-communiting in the evening, so the GWB won't be as bad as the morning. However, NYC always has traffic and your maximum delay will be 30 minutes. To avoid the GWB and go through Westchester will be the same amount of time but more convoluted. I'd stick with GWB.

However, many times the drive will be longer than 8 hours due to traffic - a 3-year old will not be happy.

Astoria, New York
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2. Re: Driving into NYC on a Friday afternoon/night with children?

Crossing the Hudson farther north at the Tappan Zee Bridge is an alternative that can save some grief, depending on the time of day.

http://goo.gl/maps/z11SK

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Driving into NYC on a Friday afternoon/night with children?

The GWB is always AWFUL and reverse commuting is no help. There are loads of people who work in NJ and reverse commute. I'd follow kaye's advice and use the Tappan Zee or almost any other crossing. Where are you staying?

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4. Re: Driving into NYC on a Friday afternoon/night with children?

PS as to the ferry,

Nywaterway.com

Is the co. that runs it. You could park the car at the Port Imperial ferry terminal in Weehawken and ferry yourselves over to Manhattan. There are no hotels really close to the Cloisters though.

Astoria, New York
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5. Re: Driving into NYC on a Friday afternoon/night with children?

Depending on the length of your stay, another option to consider would be to staying Friday night at a hotel in Westchester, perhaps near Tarrytown at the eastern end of the Tappan Zee Bridge and then drive down to the Cloisters in the morning. That would mean an hour or two less driving the first day which might be easier on everyone. Since it will be a Saturday the morning traffic will be less. Spend the rest of your vacation in a Manhattan-public-transportation-friendly location.

Teaneck, NJ
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6. Re: Driving into NYC on a Friday afternoon/night with children?

It's not true that the GWB is always bad -- I take it 2-3 times a month and have for some time, generally in the evening between 5:00 PM and 6:15 PM on a Friday or Saturday and it is almost always clear. If you bare to the right the cash lanes are empty, too (I know because I often get the carpool rate for which I have to go to the cash lane). Ditto for Saturday mornings. Sunday evenings are another story -- I find that to be a disaster for some reason

Montreal, Canada
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7. Re: Driving into NYC on a Friday afternoon/night with children?

Wow, thanks for all the replies! I was waiting for feedback on the commute before booking a place.

I was going to book airbnb, but my husband told me about the legal problems, so now we'll opt for a hotel. Maybe the Doubletree in NJ, which was recommended by Yeshiva University, for the Friday night, to make it easier before going in for the shoot on the Saturday? Or if the bridge isn't too horrendous, we could try in NYC.

Definitely on Saturday, we could stay anywhere that would accommodate a family. I notice the Hotel Bedford is having a November sale.

Any more help greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot!

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8. Re: Driving into NYC on a Friday afternoon/night with children?

Which Doubletree was being recommneded in what town in NJ???

Montreal, Canada
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9. Re: Driving into NYC on a Friday afternoon/night with children?

Sorry. The DoubleTree Hotel Fort Lee—George Washington Bridge

2117 Route 4 Eastbound

Fort Lee, NJ 07024

Telephone: 201.461.9000

Love the hat!

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10. Re: Driving into NYC on a Friday afternoon/night with children?

We often go to the theater on Friday night and the GWB is often a nightmare at 5PM. We aim for a 4PM parking space, with a garage coupon in case the locals beat us to it. Don't go over Saturday too early because they don't take cash on the lower deck until at least 8AM. And the upper deck is thus clogged.

Theoretically they post construction on their website ( www.panynj.gov/path/alerts-advisories.html ) but you don't want to get involved with that. If you are going to the Cloisters, I would not use a ferry on Saturday morning-the ferries are too far south. Many people regret their use of a NJ hotel because of travel time, but it's true that hotels in town are expensive.

This is not really as hard as it sounds. I would plan a rest stop in NJ or NY for the child. Maybe Walkway over the Hudson (not all the way, of course), or Dia Beacon museum, or a viewpoint on the Palisades Parkway.