Where and What to Hire
Car hire is plentiful in New York. At JFK there are a number of international car hire companies to choose from including Avis, Thrifty, National Car, Image and Dollar. In New York itself, Thrifty, National Car, Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Dollar and Zip Car are all located in Manhattan near Central Park. In Jersey, Budget, Hertz and Enterprise are a few options while Avis, Dollar, Budget and Enterprise also have locations in Jersey. All kinds of vehicles are available for hire from vans, limousines and sports cars to small two-door hatchbacks, four-door family cars and people carriers.
Driving in New York is often not recommended as roads are busy and public transport is good. The speed limit throughout New York is 30 miles per hour. It is worth watching out for taxis as they often cross lanes quickly in order to get fares. There are many bicycle lanes in New York and cyclists often meander in and out of traffic. Pedestrians are everywhere in New York so be warned. Manhattan is usually completely congested from 7am to 9am and from 4.30pm to around 7pm on most weekdays. On the weekends, Saturday nights are the worst time to drive in the city.
Parking in New York is challenging. Occasionally there is on-street parking that doesn’t require payment but this is hard to find. Many spaces are metered. Payment can be made by coins and card and is usually 15 cents for 15 minutes. Be sure to park at least 15 meters away from fire hydrants. Parking too close will result in your car being ticketed or towed. There are many commercial parking facilities in Manhattan. ParkNSave.com or BestParking.com offer a comprehensive database of parking facilities in Manhattan.
Where to Go and What to See
There are some wonderful places to explore outside New York, making car hire worthwhile. Just 20 minutes drive outside Manhattan is the South Mountain Recreation Complex where visitors can go boating, jogging and dining in the excellent restaurants. There is even a mini golf course, adventure park and zoo for kids. Philadelphia is just under a two hour drive north east of New York and offers many museums, art galleries, the famous Liberty Bell and the opportunity to run up the Art Museum steps to recreate that iconic ‘Rocky’ moment. The cheesecake here is some of the finest in the region. Just over 2 hours south is Atlantic City. A haven for those who like a flutter, this city is filled with casinos, not to mention gourmet restaurants and delis. In the summer, the streets fill with pavement cafes and live music. For something more sedate, an hour’s drive north takes you to Cold Spring, a charming little village on the banks of the majestic Hudson River. Here, gazebos along the waterfront, elegant cafes and boutique shops make for a relaxing day away from the bustle of New York. Adrenalin junkies can make the short trip to Jersey for a daredevil day out skydiving with Skydive Jersey. If visiting in winter, a trip 2 hours north near Poughkeepsie is the beautiful Mohonk Mountain House; a 145 year old Victorian castle resort with a spa, private lake and breath-taking views from the Skytop Tower. Children will love the ice skating, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in winter and horse riding in summer, while adults can indulge in a little golf, hiking, mountain biking or even a romantic carriage ride.