Travel Within Manhattan
You'll find that yellow taxi cabs are ubiquitous in Manhattan, especially south of 110th St. To hail one, just step to a clear space along the curb, look for a cab with a lit dome light, and raise an arm above your head. Cab fare is metered and there are surcharges for rides during evening rush hour and at night, but for example, a cab between Midtown and GISS will cost about $15 during the day.
In 2013, the city also added new "street hail livery" cabs to the mix. Officially called Boro Cabs and less officially "green cabs" or "wasabi cabs", these vehicles are marked much like taxis but are painted an apple green color. Fares are the same as with yellow cabs. The only effective difference is that the Boro Cabs cannot pick up street hails south of 110th St. in Manhattan.
Other livery cabs — typically painted black or other dark color and hence called "black cars" — are not legally allowed to pick up hails on the street. Many of these vehicles now operate in conjunction with rideshare services and can be summoned using an app on your smartphone.
When giving a cab driver a destination that is not a well-known location, you will likely minimize confusion if you specify an intersection. In other words, if you are headed to GISS, you would request "corner of Broadway and 112th St." rather than "2880 Broadway".
GISS is located along the "IRT", the 1 train of the NYC Transit subway system. The closest station on the line is the "Cathedral Parkway" stop at the corner of Broadway and 110th St., just two short blocks south of GISS. (Careful, there is another station on the B and C lines a half mile away labeled "Cathedral Parkway" on MTA's subway map (PDF).) Also nearby is the "Columbia University" station at Broadway and 116th St. Upon exiting the station, just walk north or south on Broadway as appropriate until you reach 112th St.
As of March 2015, the base subway fare is $2.75. Individual tokens are no longer sold and you must instead purchase an electronic MetroCard at any subway station. Cards may be purchased on a pay-per-ride basis or for unlimited use during a set timespan. MetroCards can also be used on NYC Transit buses.
If you arrive in Midtown Manhattan by train or airport bus and wish to take a subway directly to GISS, you would:
- From Grand Central Terminal:
- Take the 7 train or the S shuttle across town to Times Square and transfer to the 1, 2, or 3 uptown. If you take the 2 or 3, you must then transfer to the 1 train at either 72nd or 96th St.
- From Penn Station:
- From the east end of the station, take the 1, 2, or 3 train uptown. Again, if you take the 2 or 3 you must then transfer to the 1. Or...
- From the west side of the station, take the A or C train uptown, and transfer to the 1 train at Columbus Circle (59th St.).
- From the Port Authority Bus Terminal:
- Take the underground pedestrian tunnel to Times Square, from whence you can take a 1, 2, or 3 train uptown; or...
- Take the A or C uptown, and transfer to the 1 at Columbus Circle.
The 1 train is a local and shares a tunnel and some stations with the 2 and 3 express trains. If you are heading uptown to GISS on the 2 or 3 express train, you must transfer to a 1 train at either 72nd or 96th St. Above 96th St., the 2 and 3 trains veer off to the east and go far away from GISS.
When catching any of the above-mentioned trains on your way from Midtown to GISS, you want to take the Uptown train.
If you have never visited New York before and your subway route to GISS includes a transfer at Times Square, allot yourself some extra time. And due to its size and several levels, Penn Station is probably worse. Signs pointing the way to the various subway platforms are prominent, but these stations nevertheless can seem like a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.
If you have just arrived in Midtown Manhattan and wish to take a bus to GISS, it is possible, but it will be much slower than the subway, as buses usually stop every other block and are subject to traffic conditions. Options include the M104, M11 and M4 buses.
The M104 and M11 buses travel up and down Manhattan's Upper West Side, the large neighborhood immediately south of GISS. The M104 (PDF) follows along Broadway and stops near GISS at 110th St. and at 113th St. The M11 (PDF) travels downtown via Columbus Ave. and up Amsterdam Ave.; its closest stop to GISS is one block away, in front of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine at the corner of 112th St. and Amsterdam Ave.
Also passing right by GISS is the M4 (PDF), with stops on Broadway at 110th St. and 113th St. However, it travels across town at 110th St. and then passes through the Upper East Side to reach Midtown.
The M60 Select bus connects the GISS neighborhood with LaGuardia airport. The closest stop to GISS is on Broadway at West 116th St., adjacent to the Columbia University campus. The M60's Manhattan terminus is at Broadway and West 106th St.
Bus fare is $2.75, the same as subway fare. You must pay either using a MetroCard or exact change (quarters; no dollar bills). Note that making use of a MetroCard means that free transfers between the bus and subway, or between bus routes, should be automatic and easy. Also, the M60 Select requires that you pay the fare at the SBS kiosk at the bus stop rather than on the bus.