The Best — And Worst — Commute Times in New York City

The Best — And Worst — Commute Times in New York City
Source: Patch.com

Known to many as the city that never sleeps, New York City is notoriously one of the busiest, loudest, and most trafficked urban centers in the world. It’s a Mecca for arts and entertainment and home to one of the world’s densest business districts, Manhattan. 

The story goes, ‘ if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.’ However, this phrase takes on a whole new meaning when you’re one of the millions commuting to work in NYC daily. 

With such an influx of daily commuters and tourists, New York City is known for its traffic, especially during rush hour, when people flood the streets and subway tunnels.

Some neighborhoods have it worse than others with commute times, but you can get around it with some planning.  

Commute Times in New York City – 188 Neighborhoods, Mapped

We wanted to see which neighborhoods have the longest and shortest commute times across the five boroughs. So we took the latest commuting data from the Census Bureau and neighborhood data from NYC Open Data and created a map containing 188 neighborhoods and their corresponding commute times. 

The areas in green boast shorter commute times, while the red boast the longest. If a neighborhood had no commute data, it was removed from the map. 

Please note that these are average commute times; the numbers may vary considerably depending on the time of day and other factors that might delay travel. For many neighboring areas, the difference lies in mere minutes. However, every minute counts when you’re late to work and stuck in traffic. 

If you are looking for a job in the city, considering moving to another neighborhood or borough, or moving your business to a new location, factoring in commute time is crucial. Consider using our commute calculator tool to calculate your commute time by plugging in your work and home address.  

Williamsburg Residents Enjoy NYC’s Shortest Commute Time

Manhattan is home to 17 of the 20 New York City neighborhoods with the shortest commute times. However, it’s worth noting that many people working in Manhattan also live in Manhattan or close by. Moreover, due to unforeseen events, accidents, or construction work, the numbers can vary significantly from one hour to the next.  

Although Manhattan may have the most neighborhoods with short commute times, one Brooklyn neighborhood boasts the fastest average time on our map- Williamsburg. 

On average, Williamsburg residents spend 25 minutes getting from home to work or vice versa. However, over

Source: Malkin Photo

40% of Williamsburg commuters spend less than 15 minutes on their commute, while just 7% spend more than an hour going to work and back. That’s good news for this bustling neighborhood, which is becoming increasingly popular among homebuyers, renters, and businesses. 

After Williamsburg, Midtown Manhattan has the shortest average commute time in New York City. This neighborhood, which, according to Census data, also includes Midtown South, boasts an average commute time of just 26 minutes. Roughly 47% of Midtown commuters spend between 15 and 30 minutes heading to work, with less than 5% taking more than an hour to get from home to work or vice versa. 

Only two other neighborhoods outside Manhattan made our list of the 20 shortest commute times in NYC. There’s Brooklyn Heights-Cobble Hill, where commuters spend 35 minutes on average going to work, and Hunters Point-Sunnyside-West Maspeth in Queens, where commuters spend 36 minutes getting to work on average.

Brooklyn Also Has the NYC Neighborhood With the Longest Commute

Interestingly, Brooklyn not only houses the neighborhood with the shortest average commute time in NYC. It also has the neighborhood with the longest. 

Source: Brooklyn Eagle

According to our analysis, Starrett City is the neighborhood with the longest average commute time in New York City. Those heading to or from work in this part of Brooklyn spend an average of 64 minutes on their commutes. 

Hammels-Arverne-Edgemere in Queens has the second-longest commute time, as commuters spend 61 minutes on average getting to work or back home. 

Rounding out the top 5 are three neighborhoods in the Bronx- Co-Op City, Parkchester, and Eastchester-Edenwald-Baychester. In these neighborhoods, commuters spend an average of 56 minutes traveling from home to work or vice versa. 

Methodology

We used Census data from the 2018 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates and converted it from Census Tracts to Neighborhoods. NYC Open Data determined neighborhood boundaries. 

If a neighborhood had no data available, it was excluded from the map.

Our analysis does not include estimates for people working from home. 

Assess Your Own Commute Time

As popular as remote and hybrid work has become, not every worker has the option. Commuting to work is still a reality for many people. An ideal office in New York City is in a transit-oriented location or neighborhood readily accessible by train, subway, bus, bike, or foot.  

Commute times in New York City are notoriously long. But putting this fact front and center in your search for New York City office space can make your life a lot easier. Consider using a tool like our commute calculator to help your search.