Spending four figures on a helicopter tour that lasts 20 minutes is easy if you have money to spend in New York City. Taking an open-top, double-decker bus with pre-recorded commentary blasting through the speakers is even easier. What many travelers don’t realize, though, is how many scenic views your MetroCard can offer when you are taking a $2.75 ride through the city, whether it’s on the subway, ferry or even tramway.
Jodi Shapiro, the curator of the New York Transit Museum, says that the city’s public transportation — including the bus system, the subway, and even Metro North and the Long Island Rail Road — all offer unique perspectives of the city. People taking bus tours, on the other hand, only see what the tour operator wants them to see.
“Each one of those modes of transportation will show you something different about the place you are visiting,” Shapiro said. “By taking public transportation, you choose what you want to see.”
So next time you’re moving around the city, skip the Uber ride. Here are four scenic public transportation routes in New York City, all accessible with a single swipe of your MetroCard (or by tapping your phone or credit card!).