Monday, July 29, 2013

Giving directions in NYC

Giving directions. Street sign.

We're all constantly giving directions. We invite people over for parties and give them directions to our homes; we recommend restaurants and tell friends how to get there, and once in a while, we're obliged to give directions to strangers on the street to help them out.
OBLIGED - feel obligated 

How comfortable are you with giving directions? Are you confident the person you're talking to will find their destination without a problem?

In a big city like New York, we do a lot of traveling by public transport, so most of our directions include trains & buses. To help you become a pro at giving directions in the big city, here are some tips to keep in mind.
A PRO (short for "a professional")

1. When talking about trains and buses, use the verbs TAKE, TRANSFER, & GET OFF.
  • To get to NYLC's Jackson Heights branch from Midtown, TAKE the 7 to Flushing & GET OFF at 82nd St./Jackson Heights.
  • Alternatively, you can TAKE the E or the F to Queens and TRANSFER to the 7 train at 74th St. & Broadway, & GET OFF at 82nd St./Jackson Heights
  • To get to City Island, TAKE the 6 to Pelham Bay Park, the last stop in the Bronx, and TRANSFER to the Bx29 to City Island.

2. Mention the train's direction.
  • Take the 7 train TO FLUSHING.
  • Take the B63 TO BAY RIDGE, BROOKLYN.
  • Transfer TO A BRONX-BOUND D.

3. Mention if the train is an EXPRESS or LOCAL.
  • To get to Barclays Center in Brooklyn, take a Brooklyn-bound EXPRESS train to Atlantic Ave./Pacific St. (now also called the Barclays Center stop). You can take either the N or the D; however, the N is LOCAL in Manhattan, so the D is usually faster.

4. Mentioning the number of STOPS helps.
  • If you take the D at 34th St. to Barclays Center, you'll just have 4 EXPRESS STOPS. Atlantic/Pacific will be the first stop in Brooklyn.

5. When giving walking directions, say MAKE A RIGHT, MAKE A LEFT, & GO STRAIGHT
  • To get to Port Authority from NYLC's Midtown branch, walk to 8th Avenue and MAKE A RIGHT. Then walk a few blocks. Port Authority will be on your left.

6. Mention street names to reduce confusion and mention the number of blocks to give people an idea of the distance.
  • To get to the New York Public Library from NYLC, walk to 7th AVENUE and make a left. Walk THREE BLOCKS to 40th STREET and make a right. Walk another THREE BLOCKS to 5th AVENUE and make a left.

7. It helps to mention if the location is ON THE LEFT or THE RIGHT side of the street.
  • With the directions above, the library will be ON YOUR LEFT.

8. Last, saying how long it will take to travel to the location will help people plan their journey.
  • Following the directions above, it's about a 10-MINUTE WALK to the New York Public Library from school.
  • To get to Jackson Heights from Midtown, give yourself about 45 MINUTES.

There you have it! Keep the above tips in mind the next time you give directions and be confident about giving reliable information. Good luck!

--Joe Yu, ESL instructor

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