New York City

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New York City is the largest city in New York State. Generally, when travellers say they are from or going toward "New York", they are referring to this city, which is made up of five boroughs: Manhattan (an island), Brooklyn, Queens (both located on the western end of Long Island), Staten Island, and The Bronx (on the North American mainland). Its hard to simply walk out of New York City.


Riding trains for free

New York City is a major hub for trains: freight trains, Amtrak, Metro-North, MTA, LIRR, NJ Transit, and PATH trains all pass in and out of this city.


The subway is of course by far the most common (and for many purposes best) way of getting around within the city. Many commuters have unlimited-ride Metrocards, and since a card is only required to enter the subway system (not to exit), it's possible to get people with unlimited-ride cards who are leaving the system to swipe you in for free (as there is no additional cost to them). At busier stations, just stand outside the turnstiles and politely ask exiting riders if they'll swipe you in. See this article for a discussion of the "free swipes" phenomenon. You can also jump the barriers. Another way in and out, is the emergency exit, which are not alarmed (since 2014). According to the M.T.A., which oversees New York’s subways and buses, about 208,000 people take the subway each day (2018) without paying. in 2017, the Manhattan district attorney’s office decided not to prosecute most people arrested over fare evasion.

Commuter Rail

Although riding passenger trains for free is illegal, it may be a viable way to get out of the city for free. In most passenger trains (NJ Transit, Amtrak, etc.), the only way to ride for free is to hide in a bathroom or display a "Seat Check" ticket found on the ground or from a previous ride. Generally speaking, if you are discovered to be riding without paying the proper fare, you will be asked to pay it (the "buy onboard" fare is usually around twice the normal fare, not a huge fine like in some other parts of the world). If you cannot pay it, then you will be asked to exit the train at the next station. As long as you remain friendly and cooperative, there should not be a problem with legal issues, arrest, or fines.

The Staten Island Railway is legally free as long as you don't use the St George or Tompkinsville stations (so from the ferry you can walk a mile south to Stapleton station and get on/off there). The Staten Island Ferry is also free.


Nearly 350,000 people take the bus each day without paying, or about 16 percent of bus riders. Some bus riders use the rear door to avoid paying, but most fare beaters simply enter through the front door without paying. The police can give anyone not paying the fare a civil summons that can carry a $100 fine, but its a rare occurrence.

Freight Rail

Hopping freight trains is another way to ride long distances for free. It may be practical to do if you have phone or internet access, because there are numbers and/or websites that will give you the direction that each freight is headed and its estimated time of arrival, based on that freight's identification number.

JFK airport

You don't have to take the $5 AirTrain to get there or to get from JFK to the city. Take a local bus from Terminal 5 (probably the Q10 to Lefferts Blvd, where you can transfer to the A subway train) for $2.75. If you have a Metrocard (more likely on your way from the city to the airport, though you can sometimes buy one in the airport terminal) then the transfer to/from the subway is free. |accommodation=See Cheap NYC Hotels. For wild camping, maybe Donald J. Trump State Park. Not to be taken too seriously, as its an hour from NYC, but it is empty.

|bewelcome-link= |connectivity=Offering ultra-fast, gigabit Wi-Fi with a 400-ft range, the Links promise connectivity across broad swathes of the city. See map/list and subway stations wifi


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Read about new policy accepted in April 2015.

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