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Driving into Long Island City

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posts: 25
reviews: 6
Driving into Long Island City

After countless days researching hotels, we have FINALLY decided on one in Long Island City. We will be driving over from Pittsburgh (Go Pens!). My question is, will we have to drive through the Holland Tunnel or any part of NYC to get there? I'm hoping the answer will be no!! Can someone please answer asap. Thank you in advance!!

P.S. Please don't old it against me that I am from Pittsburgh! :-)

Saint Louis...
posts: 8,506
reviews: 27
1. Re: Driving into Long Island City

Since Long Island City is a part of New York City you won't be able to avoid driving through it. If you mean you want to avoid Manhattan, that's possible but more roundabout than it's worth, IMO. In order to do so you'd have to drive across Staten Island and then up the always-congested Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

Although you should check traffic maps as you're approaching NYC, my inclination would be to drive across the George Washington Bridge, and then down the Harlem River Drive (an expressway) to the Triboro Bridge (aka RFK Bridge.) Cross into Queens and then immediately get off the highway and head south to your hotel.

The details of the route after you get off of the Triboro will depend on exactly where in Long Island City you're going.

Chicago Suburbs
posts: 2,704
reviews: 22
2. Re: Driving into Long Island City

Yes, because Long Island City is in NYC.

Hong Kong, China
posts: 4,431
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3. Re: Driving into Long Island City

Why not stay on the Jersey side, and avoid driving through NYC altogether?

Center Moriches...
posts: 1,108
reviews: 51
4. Re: Driving into Long Island City

The Holland Tunnel is not the bogey man. Thousands of people do it everyday. The detours suggested above are not without their own excitement. Cross Bronx or BQE? Scarier than Henrik Lunquist. Almost.

Saint Louis...
posts: 8,506
reviews: 27
5. Re: Driving into Long Island City

The route I provided over the GWB does NOT involve the Cross Bronx Expressway at all. It is true, though, that there's no way to totally avoid traffic.

Edited: 11:01 pm, May 06, 2014
Schenectady, NY
posts: 43
reviews: 85
6. Re: Driving into Long Island City

OK, now for the real answer. First off, Pitt is a wonderful city, but do realize that NYC is MUCH bigger and the driving is more intense. You should arrive from the West on I-80 directly over the GW Bridge. Depending on the day, do not arrive during Rush Hours. Most mid-day or night times are usually better on the GW than the tunnels. While you could take the Holland or the Lincoln, they do not place you where you need to be for the hotel in LIC, which is in Queens. Now, to continue: go over the GWB and read the signs carefully so you can head to the Harlem River Drive which flows right into the FDR (also known as the East River Drive) which signs will also point out are for the EAST SIDE (as opposed to the West Side which is under the bridge). This exit is in the MIDDLE of the large combined highway, so keep your eyes peeled and do not jump lanes. It is either far left or far right, as it tells you. Once merged, both lanes go to the Drive. Go down the East River Drive, trying to stay in the MIDDLE LANE most of the time, until you get close to the exit 12 (63rd St) for the Ed-Koch Queensboro Bridge (also known as the 59th St Bridge). Get into the right lane, go slow so you can take the exit which is a SHARP Right onto 63rd. Go two more lights and make a left onto 2nd Ave and another left after 2 blocks directly onto the Bridge (there is HUGE SIGN above for it). Once you get across this bridge, you are very close you to your hotel; you will need to make a right somewhere (maybe Toward Jackson Ave) to get to your Hotel. Take the 7 or the E trains and leave your car at the Hotel for the rest of your vacation.

Going home is an easy reverse; when going back to Manhattan take the quickie exit off the lower roadway for First Ave and there are (little) signs for getting on the FDR at 62nd St (not 60th by the bridge, go up 2).

Look on a map first and go over this in your head and you will succeed where others have failed.

Cat Island
posts: 152
reviews: 3
7. Re: Driving into Long Island City

Pittsburgh is a nice city but it is really a smaller city and has NOTHING on the traffic compared to NYC. Besides Pittsburgh is a drinking city with a football problem.

and yes you either have to go through a bridge or tunnel to get there since you are bypassing manhattan which is an island and going to the geographic Long Island which is another island.

Saint Louis...
posts: 8,506
reviews: 27
8. Re: Driving into Long Island City

No, neither UpstateRob's directions nor mine bypass Manhattan.

Whether the Queensboro (Ed Koch) Bridge or the Triboro (RFK) Bridge is better depends on both the exact location you're going to in Long Island City and traffic conditions on the day of your travel.

Traffic can obviously vary but I do think there are fewer chances of a tieup toward the end of your trip with the Triboro than with the Queensboro. The Queensboro requires you to navigate both the FDR Drive and some local streets in Manhattan while the Triboro does not. There is a direct ramp from the Harlem River Drive onto the Triboro but there's no direct ramp from the FDR Drive onto the Queensboro.

If you have a navigator and a smartphone you can keep track of traffic in real-time and make a last minute decision as you head down the Harlem River Drive whether you want to take the Triboro or head down the FDR Drive to the Queensboro.

posts: 25
reviews: 6
9. Re: Driving into Long Island City

Thanks everyone. We are staying at the Comfort Inn on Crescent Drive. I may just park in Jersey and take a taxi over...or I may brave it out and drive through the city!

Saint Louis...
posts: 8,506
reviews: 27
10. Re: Driving into Long Island City

It's unlikely you could get a taxi from anywhere in New Jersey (other than Newark Airport) to Long Island City. A car service would do a trip like this but expect it to be expensive.

What time of day or day of the week are you planning to do this? Although there certainly could be traffic congestion at any point, you'd be on expressways almost all the way to Long Island City. Just be aware that the FDR Drive will be a more intense expressway driving experience than you're probably accustomed to, but just take it at your own pace.

Your hotel is right next to the Queensboro Bridge, so that's likely to be your best alternative, barring any specific traffic jams. You'd be better off with the lower level of the bridge, which is where UpstateRob's route will take you.