Photo credit: Mazda

Behind the Wheel in New York City

As a Metrocard-wielding, bike-riding New Yorker, I recommend that visitors to New York City lose the car. With our fairly compact city, legendary nightmarish traffic, and miles of flat, protected bike lanes, cars are not really the best option for touring the city.

Until they are.

You see, while days like Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and the Friday before Memorial Day are the absolute worst days to drive in NY, the days AFTER these holidays are usually traffic free. That’s when we hop in the Zipcar and drive all over town (you can ironically call NYC a town only if you live here) and pop into places like the New York Botanical Garden, Queens Hall of Science or aquarium at Coney Island.

car in New York City

Photo credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Yes, you can get to these places pretty easily by subway, but in a car you can go to all three in one day.

We recently drove a 2014 Mazda 3 all over the city, on Thanksgiving weekend. We parked in front of a restaurant and kept an eye on the car through the plate glass windows. We drove to a mall for midnight madness shopping on Black Friday, showed our house guests the holiday lights in Dyker Heights and restocked the larder after cooking everything in the house for Thanksgiving.

The car had all the bells and whistles needed to drive in the city; a rear view camera so you could parallel park without nudging the car behind you, snap in mirrors on both sides so no one sideswiping your car would tear the mirror off (this happened to me years ago, on the first day we had a car in Brooklyn) and brake assist so when a cab cuts you off, the car automatically slows down and you don’t rear end it.