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to JFK from manhattan

i realize this isn't entirely a question about European travel, but it is because it is for me because it is the first leg of our trip. so...

what is the best way to get from manhattan to jfk? i've done a lot of googling, and have discovered AirTrain, and my ex-New Yorker husband does not trust trains/subways to get him to the airport. though, sadly, he does not trust NYC traffic, either, so he's torn between said AirTrain and a cab and feels good about neither. here's our situation...

we live 70 miles outside of new york. because of the timing of our flight and the timing of bus service, we're coming into new york the night BEFORE our flight and staying in a hotel (that i booked based on an expedia sale for a very reasonable amount of money for NYC). our flight leaves JFK at 5:45 pm the next day, and we plan to have dinner with friends, sleep, get up, have a leisurely lunch, perhaps do something fun for a few hours (see additional question below) and then head out to JFK. we're on an 8 hour flight to dublin, with a two hour layover, and then on to London, so we REALLY don't want to be sitting in an airport for any longer than we need to be. we were thinking of leaving for the airport at 2:30-ish for a 5:45 flight.

additional question: what to do in NYC for four hours with a backpack? any ideas? we realize we could leave it at the hotel, but that would require additional transportation--and it takes an act of god or a LOT of walking to be transported in NYC!

Posted by
89 posts

Take a cab, there is a set fee, I think it's about $45.

As for what to do, it probably is best to leave your backpacks at the hotel, the subway is very convenient and fast and it shouldn't take up too much extra time to get back there and catch a cab from your hotel.

Any museum you go into won't let you keep it with you and depending on the size, probably won't stow it.

Where is your hotel? Maybe it's best to sight see in that area. Also what are you interested in seeing/doing?

Leaving at 2:30 for a 5:45 flight sounds about right.

Posted by
65 posts

I used the NY Airport Shuttle service 2 weeks ago. Worked like clockwork. I admit I went to LGA, but the JFK bus came along right on schedule.

They said to allow up to an hour, and we made it in about 35 minutes.

Have used on previous trips, too. Very dependable.

Leaves from Grand Central or Port Authority.

Posted by
225 posts

I have been researching the same thing in preparation for a trip from SFO to JFK to Rome with a two day stay in NYC's upper West Side. The cab seems to be the most reliable. There's a set fare of $45 plus about $6 for tolls and then a tip which should round things out to about $60. Most hotels will store your luggage at check-out and you can retrieve it when it's time to head for the airport. We plan to stay in the area, have a leisurely breakfast, maybe hit a museum then get ready to head to JFK. Have a great trip.

Posted by
463 posts

op here...in response to the question 'where is your hotel and what do you want to see and do?', sadly i feel those two things do not go together well! our hotel is on 30th between park and 5th. and i want to go the met. duh. poor planning. to be fair, we picked the hotel because it was inexpensive (sort of) and close to the friends of the husband. i still don't know how we're going to get to JFK--it pains me to take a cab that far, but i guess that's the 'easiest'? as for what we will do that morning/early afternoon, as our hotel is near nothing we'd like to do, i think we're going to go to the empire state building (where i've never been) go up and say 'wow--that's pretty' and then go for lunch before going back and getting our backpacks, which we will leave at the hotel desk. any better suggestions for that area are still very welcome!

Posted by
51 posts

I take a cab from JFK airprot to midtown Manhattan every time I fly to our NY office.

As the above poster said, its 45 flat fee. I have taken this cab ride several times, its never been voer 45 minutes.

Depending on the day it can take between 40 minutes and 2 hours.

Posted by
8055 posts

Everyone I know takes a cab to/from Manhattan to/from JFK (I have a lot of friends that live there or travel there on business). I was there for the first time in February and we took a cab.

What to do for four hours? I would just walk...that was my favorite thing we did there...walk and explore all the great areas I've always heard about. I loved NYC!

I wish there was a US travel section here on the Helpline!

Posted by
89 posts

Ok from 30th and 5th you can do the ESB but I suggest pre-purchasing your tickets online before hand - https://tickets.esbnyc.com/ - it will save you loads of time in the ticket buyers line (you can print your tickets ahead of time and go straight to the elevators).

Or if you want to do the Met, walk over to 33rd and Park Ave and grab the 6 Uptown (make sure you get the Local not Express) and get off at 77th and Lexington - it's about a 10 minute walk from there to the museum. Keep in mind the suggested donation to the museum is $20 per person (but there is a cafeteria there as well, so you can see some of the museum and get lunch before taking the 6 back to your hotel to grab your bags and get to the airport).

Hope that helps!

Posted by
8960 posts

When choosing which option to take, there's a big difference between JFK to Manhattan, vs Manhattan to JFK. Heading to the big apple, taxi is usually the best option; the other direction not so much.
A lot depends on when you'll be in NYC: weekend or weekday? During the work week I would take the Long Island RR from Penn Station to Jamaica, Air Train to JFK. Total travel time will be no more than an hour (usually closer to 45 minutes). Overall the train will be more predictable. During the week it can be a nightmare hailing a taxi in Manhattan, and traffic out of Manhattan...oyy veyy! On the weekend, I would do the taxi, no problems getting a taxi, no problems with traffic.

http://wikitravel.org/en/New_York_City

Posted by
576 posts

Tracey and Frank, cheap always wins in my book, too. Now I am wondering if there are the great deals from Madrid to Newark, or if they are mainly cheaper from MAD-JFK. (I have a lot more time on my hands than my Spanish friends, so I usually make the plans!)

Posted by
8960 posts

Anything is possible in the crazy world of airline fares, but transatlantic fares are usually identical Newark vs JFK.

Posted by
10308 posts

As a born and bred New Yorker, and someone who used to live in Manhattan and make the trek to JFK frequently--I've recently moved out of Manhattan--I agree with what Michael posted. And it's exactly what I did.

During the week, taxi from JFK to Manhattan, but AirTrain via LIRR to JFK. On weekends, taxi both ways. (Or if I was being cheap, the AirTrain. It depended on who was paying.)

And I really don't understand your comment "it takes an act of god or a LOT of walking to be transported in NYC." Manhattan probably has the most extensive public transportation system in the U.S. Is your husband afraid of the subway? Leave your bags at your hotel and stop by to get them on your way to JFK. (The Empire State Building is a whopping 4 blocks away from your hotel.) Even going to the MET, you hotel is basically on the way to JFK.

Now, there is one other alternative....shared van service via companies like Super Shuttle. While these companies are terrific in other areas of the country, they will probably take longest in NY to get you to the airport due to their multiple stops.

Posted by
463 posts

michael (and others above) ok that's all VERY good to know. and yes, i found lots of info online how to get to manhattan from JFK, but not the other way around, and i wondered if it was different. you've answered my question. to answer others questions--we are flying out at 5:45 on a tuesday--so we'd be leaving for the airport at 2:30 on a tuesday. so i'll probably do the subway/airtrain combo. thanks so much everyone!

oh and as for the 'act of god' comment, on our last trip there we ended up walking 40 blocks because there were ZERO cabs (a friday at around 3:00ish) and i had on non-sensible shoes and had to pee. so it was rather hellish, and a terrible memory! i imagine that there wasn't good subway option, because my husband is not afraid of subways--he commuted to work and school for years on the NY subway--and he IS afraid of ME, so i'm assuming if it had been possible he would have found a way!

Posted by
8960 posts

You're welcome. To clarify a minor point, Long Island RR to Jamaica Station is via a commuter train, not subway. It's also possible to reach Jamaica via regular subway lines, but it will take longer (more stops), and is more of a hassle with luggage. LIRR only makes a couple stops before reaching Jamaica.

Posted by
882 posts

I vote for the airport bus. I'm an ex-New Yorker too and not at all afraid of subways, but the Air Train is a nuisance because of the need to change lines and I despise NYC cabs (ever since a cabbie threatened to dump me on the docks rather than drive me to Brooklyn). I always take the airport bus when I visit now and it has never let me down - on schedule, comfy seats, no fear for my personal safety. Then, once in NYC, use the subways! I have dragged both my then 10-y-o daughter and a nervous girlfriend around this way and they were delighted with the results.

Posted by
577 posts

This is another vote for public transportation. I would never trust the traffic situation getting from Manhattan to JFK. I know this from experience - I once missed a flight out of JFK because of traffic. While you've been given great advice by the prevous posters, you might also try posting your question on Trip Advisor's New York City forum.

Posted by
576 posts

We are also planning a trip to NYC, meeting friends from Spain, and after reading this thread, it sounds like JFK is a long way away. Would it be easier to fly into Newark, NJ than JFK if visiting Manhattan?

Posted by
8960 posts

Newark is actually closer to Manhattan than JFK. It's also easier to reach via train. NJ Transit provides direct service from the airport train station to Penn Station; three stops away. In addition it also has the same flat rate taxi fare that JFK has. If given th choice I always choose Newark over JFK. Although it's a busy international airport, compared to JFK it's smaller and manageable.

Posted by
576 posts

Thanks, Michael. It's actually a little bit cheaper for us to fly into Newark than JFK, so that will absolutely be the best way for us to go.

Posted by
463 posts

@Terry--we're only flying out of jfk because we got a cheap flight on aer lingus. so if you can get a cheaper flight out of newark, go for it. in my world cheaper always wins! newark would have been our first choice (well, second after philly) because it is closer to where we actually live. though it actually works out because there's easy public transport from where we live in PA into the city, so we won't have any issues with parking (four weeks of airport parking would cost more than the trip!) or asking for rides to and from the airport.

Posted by
10308 posts

And, for the next few months, JFK has one runway closed for renovation so there will longer delays than normal.

If you have choice between JFK and Newark...go to "Joisey."

Posted by
78 posts

If your flight leaves at 5:45, shouldn't you be at JFK by 2:45? We've always heard you should be at the airport 3 hours prior to departure for international flights. (But we're on the west coast...perhaps things are different from the east coast?)

:)

Posted by
1035 posts

....that is, unless you are flying an airline that only flies out of one..

Posted by
27 posts

My flight from JFK was much cheaper than a flight from Newark. Direct to Dublin was the flights. And since I am 100 miles from JFK, I am driving to long term parking (which was much cheaper at JFK than Newark) and don't have the hastle of trying to get to the airport.

I see you are taking the bus to NYC. Why not drive?

Posted by
463 posts

op here--yes, flights to dublin on aer lingus are out of jfk, not newark, which is why a flight was cheaper for us out of jfk. we're much closer to philly than new york, but are making the trip because of the hundreds of dollars we saved taking this flight. and i'm taking the bus first because i believe all people who drive into the city who don't HAVE TO should be shot (ok, or at least fined!) and second because a bus is REALLY easy from where i live, and a ticket is $30 round trip--parking for a month MUST be more than that, even when you consider the additional public transport. we live in an area in PA where people actually commute to NYC on a daily basis for work, so it is super easy and cheap to get there. oh and third because my husband and i are coming back on two flights (nine days apart) so it just works out better for us.

Posted by
27 posts

Yes, parking is much more expensive than the bus, but I would rather not take the bus. It is something we all can make our own choice on. For our 12 days, we are talking $163 for parking. And that was cheaper than either Newark or Philly through this long term parking firm that operates at all three airports.

I was looking at Philly, Allentown, Newark and JFK and JFK came in hundreds of dollars less than any others. We are flying Delta as that was cheaper than any other direct flight.

We are driving in late in the afternoon and will be in rush our traffic the wrong way (with them,) but at least it is not a Friday. I worked in Manhattan for awhile and we always left at 2pm on friday to come back to NEPA else it was impossible to move at 3pm or later through the tunnel and into NJ. Monday morning we would delay until 10am to come in for the same reason. We drove because the company paid for parking. Since, whenever we went to Manhattan, we took the bus.