Art lovers visiting New York seek out one destination above all: The Museum of Modern Art. This huge collection of modern and contemporary art beckons to everyone with an artistic interest. But how to get there in the city so busy it never sleeps? Here’s your quick guide to getting to MoMA.
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Take the subway to get to MoMA
The nearest subway station to MoMA is 5th Avenue/53rd Street, located at the intersection of those streets in Midtown Manhattan. From here it’s a 5-minute walk to the gallery.
Two subway lines go directly to the 5th Avenue/53rd Street station. Subway line E, the Eighth Avenue Local, runs from the World Trade Centre station almost at the tip of Manhattan to Jamaica, Queens. Look out for the capital E with a royal blue background, and make sure you take the local; the express will whizz on past the stop you need!
To find the M, or the M Queens Boulevard/Sixth Avenue Local to give it its proper title, look for the M in a bright orange circle. Once aboard, remember to alight at The Museum of Modern Art subway 5th Avenue/53rd Street.
Alternatively, you can take the B, D or F train to 47th-50th Streets – Rockefeller Centre; this is the nearest fully accessible station to MoMA. On exiting the station, continue northeast on 5th Avenue, then go right on West 53rd Street.
Once you’re underground, don’t worry if you need to check your directions to The Museum of Modern Art; the subway has WiFi, and there’s a subway map and New York City Street Map posted on the wall of almost every station. And, as long as you approach them politely, New Yorkers are likely to be quite helpful.
Approximate travel times from some of New York’s top sightseeing spots by subway to MoMA are:
- Brooklyn Bridge and the 9/11 Memorial Museum: 30 minutes
- The High Line: 20 minutes
- SoHo: 17 minutes
- Times Square: 6 minutes
Remember, for further-flung corners of The Big Apple, you can estimate your subway travel time at an average of two minutes between each station.
Single metro rides cost $2.75, but if you’re staying a few days or planning to use the subway a lot, an Unlimited MetroCard may prove a cheaper option.
Ride the bus to get to MoMA
There are plenty of benefits to riding the bus in New York. Frequent stops and services, and the chance to share your journey with New York’s citizens make the bus an attractive option. It’s an environmentally-friendly choice, and all NYC buses are accessible for wheelchair users. Best of all, you’re unlikely to miss your stop because a friendly local will probably nudge you.
How to get to MoMA by bus? There are plenty of stops near the museum operated by the M1, M103, M3, Q32, QM4 and QM5 services. Check the route at the front when boarding, and make sure you know if it’s making all stops or only limited stops.
Enter and pay at the front of the bus using your MetroCard or exact change; the Metropolitan Transit Authority runs subway and bus services in NYC, so you can use your MetroCard for both. Riders get a free transfer between subway and bus services for two hours from their initial swipe. It’s $2.75 for a local bus single journey or $6.75 for an express bus.
Hail a yellow cab to get to MoMA
As long as you’re within New York’s five boroughs, the easiest way to get to MoMA is by taking one of the iconic yellow taxi cabs. Traveling this way has the added bonus of allowing you to pretend you’re in a movie, and you’re almost guaranteed a characterful driver.
How to get to MoMA by cab? It’s not common to book cabs ahead in New York, so you’ll need to hail one. Want to look like a local? Stand at the edge of the sidewalk on a busy road, face the traffic, and raise your right arm. Look for cabs with only their middle lights on; they’re the ones available for hire. To keep yourself safe, always board and exit your cab curbside, and most of all, don’t forget to enjoy the ride as you get a great look at the passing streets.
Traffic can be very heavy in NYC, and taxi travel times are unpredictable. At light traffic times you could drive from the tip of Manhattan to MoMA in as little as 11-12 minutes, but allow at least twice that at busy times. Top tip: Always keep in mind that it’s generally quicker and easier to travel north-south than west-east in Manhattan.
The minimum metered taxi fare is $2.50; this increases by 50 cents every fifth of a mile or every minute, depending on how fast you’re traveling. Brooklyn Bridge to MoMA should cost $30-40; from the High Line or Meatpacking District $10-20. All taxis accept cash, credit, debit, and prepaid cards, and you should tip 15-20% on top of the stated fare. Traveling by cab is a pricey way to get around the Big Apple, but it’s also a classic New York experience that everyone should try at least once. And if you’re really time-pressured, make sure to grab a meal nearby at one of these 5 great restaurants near MoMA.
Walk the streets to get to MoMA
NYC is a surprisingly walkable city and you’ll feel like a local as you stroll amidst the daily life of its busy citizens. MoMA is about 5 minutes’ walk from The Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Centre, and Times Square is a 15 minute wander away.
For the more adventurous – and fitter – traveler, it’s only 45 minutes on foot from the High Line to MoMA, and about an hour from SoHo. And for a pre or post-art breath of fresh air, a few blocks away is Central Park, the ‘green lung’ of the Big Apple. You’ll need to adjust to the fast walking pace of the residents, and it’s best to walk on the right and move to one side if you want to stop. Stick to these simple rules and you can relax into your walk knowing that you’re helping your health and the planet.