You may think your commute to school is boring and cumbersome? Miss the days of living in your Weinstein prisin cell and rolling over to your 9:30 Physics for Poets recitation? THINK AGAIN! There are so many ways to make your walk or bike ride or subway ride a little bit better and we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of some tricks that will make for a happier commute. Of course we can’t cover every path, so we encourage you to share any tips you might have in the comments below.
If you’re walking from the East Village, it’s nice to go down E 4th St. through the ‘East Fourth Street Cultural District.’ It’s doubly nice because John Legend lives in a condo on E 4th between 2nd and Bowery.
Another East Village tip: Tenth St. to 2nd St. to Stuyvesant St. is the fastest way to get to campus for many and conveniently the most beautiful! You’ll also pass by the farmer’s market in front of St. Mark’s Church every week, which is a lovely surprise.
East Village in the winter: Go down 9th St. Around Christmastime there are lights strung through the trees. Add some holiday cheer into your commute! You will also past good ol’ Veselka and you can drool over all the blintzes and pierogi.
If you’re biking from the East Village, take 9th Street all the way to Broadway, then cut down to NYU. Ninth Street has a comfortable bike lane, plus you pass right by Panya which has great breakfast snacks. Third Street is the most direct route to school but it’s filled with potholes and there’s a fire station whose trucks often block the entire street.
In defense of 3rd Street: If you take this route, you’ll pass by Hells Angels (a meeting place for biker dudes), which is always a fascinating sight, and then you can get coffee at The Bean and stare at all the puppies that frequent the shop.
In defense of 5th Street: Stroll through a nice little housing project (and pretend you’re visiting your grandparents in New Jersey for a minute), but then once you get to Cooper Square you will either have to walk a little far south or a little far north (assuming you’re headed to Gallatin, Tisch, Silver, et al) in order to push onward to Broadway.
If you’re walking from the Second Street dorms, pay attention while you pass the Bowery Hotel and Peels. Celebrities are known to lurk there. Then walk down Bond St—so pretty!
When coming from the Lower East Side, when you take Houston west, then Broadway, it can be annoying (tourist groups outside of Katz’s for days, a guy in a sandwich board very pushily advertising a sidewalk sale on Ludlow) but this route does allow for a chance to, in the warmer months, grab the best iced coffee in the neighborhood.
From Gramercy, instead of walking down 3rd Ave, cut across 22nd St. and walk along Gramercy Park. It’s a private park so it’s always clean and gorgeous. In the morning when it’s cool and dewy it’s like walking past an English garden. Then you can go through Union Square from Park Ave—there’s always a pleasant farmer’s market going on.
If you’re using the L train around 10:30am, there will be a ton of babies. Strollers, crying, babytalk, cookie-eating… the whole nine yards. Everyone on the train just watches them until Union Square, which is where more babies come on.The morning L Train… baby train.
On your long subway ride, queue up some stories into an app and check them off during your commute. Or use the time to write something of your own instead of absorbing someone else’s thoughts.
If you’re commuting from West Harlem, you should take the A train because it stops on the upper level of the W 4th Station. Or you could take the D because like the A, it’s an express train. Otherwise, you can take the 1 but will have to transfer at 42nd St. If you prefer a slightly longer walk over an annoying transfer, go for the A or D.
If you get off the train at Broadway-Lafayette, get out at the Crosby & Houston exit and walk down Crosby toward Bleecker instead of going straight to Broadway. There is an adorable doggy day care center (Happy Paws) on the corner of Crosby and Houston. On Bleecker you can get coffee at Le Pain Quotidien or Angelica’s.
If you want to feel like a New Yorker, switch between local and express trains across the platform. Quite the thrill.
If you have any other suggestions, let us all know in the comment box!
Photos by Rachel Kaplan.