After the great #RWA1st conversation on Twitter yesterday, I realized that a lot of people have questions about getting to the RWA 15 conference hotel. The good news is that the hotel is in the middle of Times Square which means pretty much every subway line heads there and every cab driver will know exactly where you're headed.
Here's some information to help get you around NYC and to the Marriott Marquis in July. Please remember that all of this information should be checked and double checked. I'm writing this purely base on experience or memory, so if any New Yorkers have easier ways of getting to and from locations, feel free to contact me for an update or leave a comment below.
Getting a Cab
If you're hailing on the street or are not using a reservation service like Uber or Dial 7, stick to yellow cabs.* All you have to do is give the cabbie your cross streets (we don't operate in addresses in NYC) which for the RWA conference hotel is 45th and Broadway.** You can also tell the driver that you're headed to the Marriott Marquis in Times Square and they should know where you're going.
From LaGuardia and JFK, the cabs will charge you a flat rate plus tolls and tip. It is common to tip 15-20% for most rides. Yellow cabs have credit card machines in the back of them now.
There are taxi stands at all airports and train stations. If you're at Penn Station or Grand Central Station, you can also hail off the street. Cabs that have their central light lit up are free. If there's no light on, it means they are engaged and will not stop for you. Know that shift changes and rush hour can be tricky for hailing a cab (around 4:30-5 PM). Also, it's not a lie that there's never a free cab when it's raining.
Cabs aren't cheap, but they're your easiest option. They are what I use when I fly because I'd rather suck it up, pay the flat rate, and know that I'm not relying on the MTA. Splitting cabs can make them much more affordable.
* You'll also see green cabs that look like yellow cabs. Those are outer borough taxis and are not supposed to pick up on the streets in most of Manhattan.
**New Yorkers give address street first and then avenue. For instance, if you're heading to 45th Street and 7th Avenue, you would say, "45th and 7th." Broadway is considered an avenue, hence "45th and Broadway" for the Marriott Marquis.
Uber, private car service, and shuttles are also possibilities from the airport. My experience is that shuttles are a little less expensive than taking a cab but takes you longer. Uber's rates are variable, so you might want to double check before you order one. There are booking desks at the airports for shuttles, but you probably want to reserve in advance.
LaGuardia is the closest airport geographically to Manhattan. It's also arguably the biggest pain to get to and from on public transportation. There is no train. Don't look for one. Instead, you're going to want to take the M60 SBS Bus headed to 125th Street. There should be signage directing you to pick up the bus. I believe that the bus is now a select bus which means that there may be vending machines where you pay before you board and then pick up a receipt rather than pay with change or a MetroCard on board.
Get off at the Hoyt Ave/31st St subway station and take the N/Q Train headed for Manhattan. Get off at the 49th Street station. Then it's a short walk to the conference hotel.
JFK International Airport
Newark International Airport
I'm going to be totally honest here. I've never taken public transportation to Newark because I don't fly out of Newark. Here's a link to the Port Authority of NY-NJ's recommendation. If someone is a Newark public transit authority, please leave a comment if you have any other advice.
Grand Central Station
This one is really easy, guys. Just take the shuttle (which is part of the subway system and is noted by a grey S on signs). All this train does is go from Grand Central to Times Square and back, so you can't mess it up.
MTA subway maps & transit updates: mta.info