getting around

10 ways to get around the city that don’t involve complaining about Uber

From Citibikes to sewer swims, these travel options all beat Uber by a mile. More than a mile, really
From Citibikes to the sewage system, these travel options are all completely viable and mostly safe

It’s almost laughable that Uber’s recent strike is garnering such widespread support, considering how frequently their service comes under fire. It was only a month ago that their absurd New Years’ surge pricing incensed riders around the city. What’s more, basic stats have already proved that Uber is never actually be cheaper than a taxi.

But if you’re really still hung up on the lack of Uber cars trolling the city in the hopes that you’ll hail them, take heart: Brokelyn’s rounded up a number of alternative ways to get around, and it’s not just with hailing apps — which, by the way, can be used for any number of taxicabs and car services in the city. Our roundup caters to the Brooklyn populace specifically, and there’s sure to be something on this list that works for you. 


It shouldn't be equestrian in your mind: just try it. Photo by Sam Corbin / Brokelyn
It shouldn’t be equestrian in your mind: just try it. Photo by Sam Corbin / Brokelyn

1. On horseback
Brooklyn’s mystery summer horseman has already proven that it’s both possible and entirely legal to get from A to B in the saddle in Brooklyn (even if it means hogging the bike lane as you go). You can lease one from the Kensington stables, or board it there if you already have a horse. You must have a horse lying around somewhere.


Delancey and Essex, please. Take the bridge. via Crossfit South Brooklyn
Delancey and Essex, please. Take the bridge. via Crossfit South Brooklyn

2. On the shoulders of someone who does Crossfit
Regardless of where you live in Brooklyn, you definitely know a fitness buff who subscribes to the all-powerful religion of Crossfit. And now that you can’t take an Uber to your destination, it’s time to reach out to that person and ask them whether they’d mind giving you a piggyback ride from one place to another. Don’t knock it! After all, you just might become somebody’s favorite daily workout.


It's a sewer-fire way to get to where you're going. via flickr user Simon Gorny
It’s a sewer-fire way to get to where you’re going. via flickr user Simon Gorny

3. Swimming the sewers
Don your bathing suit and dive into New York City’s underground. No, not the cultural underground, the actual one! New York City’s sewage system is a comprehensive labyrinth that reaches every inch of every borough, and it’s a sure-fire way to get around without having to contend with city traffic. Don’t fret about toxicity: if someone can swim in the Gowanus Canal and live to talk about it, then you can do this safely. You can also just walk along the edges of the water, but that won’t be nearly as much fun.


These bridges are made for walking, too. via Flickr user Ornickarr Greenbarrow
These bridges are made for walking, too. via Flickr user Ornickarr Greenbarrow

4. Using those foot things attached to the bottom of your legs
You know it as well as we do: perhaps more than any other, New York is a walking city. The blocks are short; there are shops and public bathrooms to fulfill your every need along the way; there’s pulsating life and steaming garbage to breathe in. El Niño’s disappointing arrival — coupled with this morning’s Groundhog Day predictions — also indicates that the weirdly warm weather is sticking around until Spring, so treat yourself to a little pied-à-terre, and never climb into the backseat of a car again. 


You wouldn't steal an Uber, so just don't steal a bike. It's easy. Photo by Mary Dorn
You wouldn’t steal an Uber, so just don’t steal a bike. It’s easy. Photo by Mary Dorn

5. (Not stealing) A Citibike
So long as you’re not the asshole who steals Citibikes for attention, consider taking part in bike-sharing. These blue steel, two-wheeled transportation devices are pretty much everywhere now, and for a mere $150/year you can forgo the MTA and pricey tune-ups on a personal bike. Just bring it back when you’re done.


Be the Brooklyn people want to see in the world. via Flickr user Windell Oskay
Be the Brooklyn people want to see in the world. via Flickr user Windell Oskay

6. A unicycle or a penny farthing, because you’re from Brooklyn
Listen, everyone in the country already thinks we must have clown bicycles to go with our circus-like facial hair tendencies, so we may as well stick it to them by following through. Unicycles are damn cheap on Amazon (maybe because you’re paying per wheel), and highwheelers cost $5,600 on antique furniture websites but that’s still cheaper than what you’d pay nightly to live in an igloo in Greenpoint so, as far as quintessentially “Brooklyn” experiences are concerned, it’s really not the worst thing you could do. Plus, even though our winter is proving less-than-snowy, you can rest easy knowing that it’s possible to ride these things in even the direst conditions.


They've been around for 30 years, what were you doing all this time? via Yelp
They’ve been around for 30 years, what were you doing all this time? via Yelp

7. By calling your local car service, you heartless bastard
Before Uber, there was also an age-old tradition of local cars picking up other people and taking them to their destinations. Often, for not very much money. This tradition is known as CAR SERVICE, and there’s absolutely one near you, no matter where you live. Instead of blowing your hard-earned money on surge pricing and potentially creepy drivers, just pick up the goddamn phone and call the service that’s been working for your neighborhood for years.


This is your board on drugs. via Youtube
This is your board on drugs. via Youtube

8. The “exploding poser hoverboard that makes your feet look like they’re vaping” method
The news abounds with stories of exploding hoverboards that aren’t really hoverboards, just electric scooters that are malfunctioning in a scary way. But if you’re careful enough, and you don’t make any sudden movements en route, you might just make to your destination safely, while impressing everyone by making it look like you leave a trail of dry ice / wizard smoke everywhere you go.


Carrie Bradshaw was always riding by broomstick to Mr. Big's house, remember? via Pinterest user Trisha King
Carrie Bradshaw was always riding by broomstick to Mr. Big’s house, remember? via Pinterest user Trisha King

9. Broomstick (witches only)
This one may be little more niche, tailored to folks like the coven in Bushwick, but we’re clearly not the only ones catering to the witch demographic. Besides, stereotyping the occult community for riding broomsticks is only as bad as people stereotyping Brooklynites for riding unicycles (see #6), so we don’t think they’ll mind. If you’re similarly touched by the spirit of Satan, or you just know how to make an engine that could power a Swiffer into the air, then ride, my pretties! Brokelyn does not officially endorse the use of outdates household appliances for transportation. Be safe up there.


Stay woke, and trust us, you'll be fine
Stay woke, and you’ll be fine.

10. By taking the goddamned subway
Yes, you may have to resort to Khaled-funded jetskis once the L train shuts down. Yes, fare hikes suck (even though you can beat them a little). Yes, overcrowding is at an all-time high. And yes, rodents have moved beyond pizza and are now cannibalizing each other, working their way up the food chain to eventually devour unwitting straphangers. But in the meantime, New York’s public transit system is still the most exhaustive and convenient means of transportation in the city. It gets us where we need to go, and sometimes it even gets us there on time. So ride the rails again (without masturbating), and someday you’ll forget that Uber ever happened.

Follow Sam on Twitter for more stories that transport you, at @ahoysamantha



  1. Ha! Way to quote a non-scientific study that’s a year old… Have you ever actually done your own tests on the cost of a taxi vs. Uber? Unless you don;t tip taxis at all (entirely possible in your case for all I know), there’s no comparison: Uber is faster and cheaper. Or, if you want to save 25%, use UberPool. Ever tried stopping a taxi with a rider inside and hopping in? Didn’t think so. The environmental benefits of UbePool are astronomical, and it’s just getting off the ground.

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