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It’s a madhouse on the roads, rails and skies Wednesday November 23rd through Wednesday November 30th between Thanksgiving getaways, Black Friday, return trips home Sunday and Monday and all capped with a visit from President Obama on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, which is also tree lighting day.
Wednesday November 23rd, the day before Thanksgiving, is the busiest travel day of the year with delays on all major roads and crossings. If you’re catching a flight, please allot an extra 60 to 90 minutes. The best time to travel is Thanksgiving morning with lighter traffic and cheap flights before the afternoon surge for Thanksgiving dinner.
Then it’s off to the shopping races for Black Friday November 25th, with many shops opening Thursday night or the wee hours of Friday morning. All major shopping areas across the city, including Soho, will be slammed. Friday is also the biggest ticket day of the year, since the day after Thanksgiving always feels like a parking holiday and many people forget to move their cars or feed the meter. All parking rules are in effect Black Friday.
Return trips home Sunday mean jammed roads and crossings, including the Holland Tunnel (I expect the Hudson St. entrance to be open, however). Impacting traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel is a 1 p.m. Jets game in North Jersey.
The biggest traffic headache comes on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving with President Obama in NYC to attend several fundraisers between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. and on tree lighting day no less! The FDR Drive below 63rd St. will be subject to freezes in both directions as the President makes his way to and from the Wall Street Heliport.
From the mailbag:
Dear Transit Sam,
I recently used the northbound platform of the 4 and 5 Train at Fulton St. When I went to swipe my Metrocard at one of the turnstiles at the back of the platform (it was the only turnstile not in use at the time), the turnstile reader displayed the following message: “NO CARDS.” I’ve never seen anything like that before. I’ve gotten the usual “Please Swipe Again” message, but never that. Who ever heard of a turnstile that didn’t take Metrocards? After the crowds subsided, I used another turnstile. What gives?
Joe, lower Broadway
In all my years taking the subway, I’ve never seen or heard of that. It turns out that “NO CARDS” is code for “out-of-order.” Within 24 hours of reporting the broken turnstile to MTA NYC Transit, they had it repaired and ready to go in time for the busy holiday crowds.
Confused about ever changing traffic regulations and transit operations? Need help navigating around lower Manhattan? If so, please send me an e-mail at TransitSam@downtownexpress.com or write to Transit Sam, 611 Broadway, Suite 415, New York, NY 10012