A New York staple since 1950, the Port Authority bus terminal was built as a hub to consolidate all the private transportation terminals sprawled across Manhattan and the outer boroughs. On a daily basis it serves thousands of routes and hundreds of thousands of passengers.
The largest bus terminal in the western hemisphere, it’s location on 42nd street in the heart of New York City means it’s seen the area through a number of changes. Most notably, Times Square evolving from a symbol of urban crime woes to the much more reputable Disney headquarters.
You may step off the bus in Port Authority and think “this doesn’t look like much.”But tucked around the terminal are neighborhoods both famous and quirky. This article will guide you towards fun and interesting activities to occupy you while you wait for your bus to hit the road.
Get Fired Up in Hell’s Kitchen
Sounds scary, no? Well, it’s not as scary as it sounds. It’s just Hell’s Kitchen! Midtown as west as you can get, Hell’s Kitchen encompasses 8th through 10th ave from roughly 46th to 57th st.
Well-known as a formerly crime-ridden neighborhood in Marvel comic books like The Punisher, Hell’s Kitchen is similar to most neighborhoods in NYC that still had cheap rent – it’s getting gentrified and resurging as a hip new hood.
The classic and the modern mingle here. Rudy’s bar has been around since the speakeasy era, and Terminal 5 has been hosting edgy concerts for decades. The more recently opened Gotham West Market is a block-long food court smorgasbord from internationally renowned chefs, with long communal tables taking you right back to the school lunchroom.
For another blast from the past, try Bar 9 on 9th avenue for arcade games well fit to pass time before your bus ride, plus you can enjoy their famous “dueling pianos”. Giving you a taste for games now?
Meet the Challenge
If Ski Ball is your thing, you’re all set at Bar 9. But if you prefer pins, try bowling at Frames! You don’t even have to leave the bus terminal. Frames boasts a dance floor and billiards too! Don’t get so distracted you forget to pick up your luggage from stasher and miss your bus!
Play darts in a more traditional New York pub setting at Gaf West, conveniently located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. It’s the home of the New York Dart League, so if you think you can toss with the best of them, give this stiff competition a run for its money. Fun Fact! The bartender is a Jeopardy winner! And they have free comedy on Tuesday nights.
Playing On and Off Broadway
If you have a few hours before your connection, or you’re just blowing in for a day trip, you’ll easily have time to catch a show on or off broadway.
The most famous Broadway theatres and shows are right around the corner from Port Authority, some of them just up the street, like Disney’s The Lion King. But you can also discover award-winning under the radar off-broadway gems. Off-Broadway is defined as any theatre holding between 100 and 499 seats, according to Actors Equity. Find them throughout the theatre district, stretching all the way into Hell’s Kitchen.
Before the show, hit Restaurant Row! Many of the restaurants on the row, 46th street between 8th and 9th avenue, offer prix fixe menus and some even have live piano bars to get you in the mood for a musical. It’s a trip around the world, offering dining options from Italiano to Latin to au francais.
Whether on or off broadway, the best place to get tickets is the TKTS Booth. Here many of the hottest shows and nottest shows unload tickets at up to half-price! Get there early because there is always a line and in-demand shows sell out fast!
Where is the tkts booth, you ask? That’s easy! Smack-dab in the middle of..
The Heart Of Times Square
Ironically, It’s easy to lose track of time in Times Square. You don’t so much kill time in Times Square as time kills you. Spend some time just wandering, ambling slowly along like so many of the millions of tourists passing through every day.
Follow your fancy and stop in a store, or grab a bite, or take a few sure to be insta-ready photos. There’s nowhere else on earth like Times Square, the heart of the world.
The terminal will still be there when you get back, so no worries! Drop off your luggage at Stasher right in the terminal and have a fantastic trek!