We’re in the final few days of 2019, and for New Yorkers—at least those who live in Manhattan—these are some of the busiest days, traffic-wise, they’ll see. In Midtown, the city is prepping for its grand New Year’s Eve ball drop, so you can expect some changes to normal traffic patterns this weekend, as well as on New Year’s Eve.
If you plan on doing traveling of any kind these next few days, it might be good to know what’s affected, what you should avoid, and what your alternative options are. And so, here you have: a comprehensive guide to traversing New York City this holiday weekend.
If you’re planning on heading to Times Square for New Year’s Eve, there are major changes that you should know about. Per the MTA:
Customers heading to Times Square for the celebration should avoid using the 42 St-Times Square subway complex, since they may not be allowed to exit onto the street. In addition, the northbound platform at 50 St on the 1 line and both north and southbound platforms at 49 St on the N/Q/R/W trains will be closed from noon until shortly after midnight. Riders are urged to exit from stations at 50 St, or 57 St and walk to Times Square. Details on how to get to/from Times Square are available here. Additional subway service will be provided on the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, A, C, D, E, F, L, N, Q, R, and S lines. Station entrances in the Times Square area are subject to closure based on instructions from the New York Police Department.
On New Year’s Day, New York City subways and the Staten Island Railway will operate on a Sunday schedule.
MTA buses will operate on special schedules during the New Year’s holiday weekend. On New Year’s Eve, some buses will operate on a reduced weekday schedule. All local, express, limited-stop, and Select Bus Service will run with minor adjustments in departure times.
The MTA does not recommend the bus for traveling to Times Square on New Year’s Eve because of the numerous street closures in the area. Buses traveling throughout Midtown, including Staten Island express buses, will be affected. The following bus routes will be the most severely impacted and subject to reroutes: M5, M7, M10, M20, M31, M42, M50, M57, and M104. Regular overnight bus service will resume as streets reopen after midnight.
Buses will operate on a Sunday schedule on New Year’s Day.
Metro-North and LIRR
On Friday, the Long Island Rail Road will operate 13 extra trains departing Penn Station between 12:46 p.m. and 3:48 p.m. and Metro-North Railroad will operate 18 extra trains departing Grand Central Terminal between 12:58 p.m. and 4:10 p.m.
On Monday, December 31, the Long Island Rail Road will operate 13 extra trains departing Penn Station between 12:46 p.m. and 3:48 p.m. And on New Year’s Day, the Metro-North Railroad and LIRR will operate extra trains to help customers departing from New Year’s Eve festivities. The Metro-North will operate 48 extra trains departing Grand Central and the Long Island Rail Road is operating 19 extra trains departing Penn Station and Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn. Metro-North will also operate 14 extra trains inbound toward NYC during this timeframe.
New Jersey Transit
There are a lot of changes slated for NJT buses and train service on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, so it’s best to check out their website to see if your route is affected.
If you’re planning on traveling this weekend, your best bet is to arrive earlier than you think you need to, utilize public transportation, and keep an eye onLGA and JFK’s twitter pages for updates. You can also check out the wait times at different security gates at NYC’s various airports through the TSA app.
The NYC Ferry will be operating on a weekend schedule on New Year’s Day.
There will be loads of street closures on New Year’s Eve as million of revelers flock to Times Square to ring in the New Year. You can see all of them here, but in short, expect all of Midtown to be a traffic nightmare.