When you look at customer reviews for New York City hotels on TripAdvisor and other sites, lots of reviewers say something like: “This hotel is really close to the subway!”
Guess what? In Manhattan, just about everything is close to the subway. But with a little fiddling around with Google Maps, you can figure out how to save yourself time and sore feet while you’re still at your desk, daydreaming about your NYC vacation.
Ready for the six steps?
One additional note: It’s worth mentioning that these steps assume you’ll be using the subway often, and you won’t want to be walking miles in order to do so. If any of these maps are making you squint, you can click through for the full resolution.
Step 1: Sign in to Google Maps and create a new map.
Head to maps.google.com and click on “My Maps.” Name it New York or something more clever. You can choose to share it with the world or not. I named my map “NYC.”
Step 2: Find somewhere you’re going to visit in New York.
I’ll be flying into Newark and taking the train over to Penn Station. So to map that, I:
- Search for Penn Station New York City
- Click on the correct pin
- Click on “Save to…”
- Find my NYC map in the dropdown
- Hit the save button
Step 3: Repeat for a bunch more stuff–hotels where you’re considering booking a room, sights you want to see, stores and restaurants you plan to visit.
For example, I’m deciding between two hotels: the Pod Hotel and the Ace Hotel. I search for both and repeat the same steps as above, clicking to save them to my NYC map. I also add pins for Uniqlo and Top Shop, since I want to shop at those stores during my visit (and since I’ll have extra cash from taking the subway instead of cabs!). I also add the Whitney, since I have plans to see the Biennial on Saturday. My final map has about a half-dozen blue pins on it.
Step 4: If you lose your map through clicking and adding pins, find it through the “My Maps” option on the left side.
The left column of the map is basically there to help you find your way around–it lists all your maps, includes a big “edit” button to let you back in to edit it, and shows you past searches.
Step 5: Overlay the subway map to see how far sites are from the subway lines.
Mouse over “More” and click the checkbox for “Transit.” Google Maps will overlay the subway lines on top of your existing map.
Step 6: Use this info to make a bunch of decisions to make your trip easier.
I’ll only be in New York for one night. With such a crazy schedule, I want to make sure the majority of my time is spent doing what I want to do, not spending a hour or more each way going uptown and downtown.
The Ace Hotel and the Pod Hotel are exactly the same price for the same-sized room. Looking at the map shows me that I can walk to the Ace from Penn Station when I arrive, and that the yellow subway line (the R or the W) will easily get me downtown to the Soho-area shopping I want to do.
If I stay at the Pod Hotel, it’ll be a straight shot up the green line to get to the Whitney, but since I’ll probably be heading there from downtown, it’s no big win, since I can just stay on R or W (the yellow line( and change to the 4, 5, or 6 (the green line).
I chose to stay at the Ace, because while both hotels are close to the subway, it’s is really close to the subway–and it’s the subway line I would be using to get to all the places I want to visit.
You can go to the map I created, although you may have to select “transit” to get the subway overlay shown above.