|By plane |
New York City is served by several airports, both international and domestic:
• John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is located to the east of the city. By far the most convenient route into the city from JFK is a taxi, which runs a standard $45 anywhere in Manhattan, not including tolls or tips. Note that the arrivals terminals are filled with drivers hawking illegal livery rides at grossly inflated prices that prey on newly-arrived tourists, so beware.
From the airport, the newly opened JFK AirTrain runs to Howard Beach station to connect with the "A" subway and to Jamaica station to connect with the "E" and "J/Z" subways (Sutphin Blvd station), the Long Island Rail Road and buses. If you are traveling to the downtown area (the financial district), use the "A" train from Howard Beach. If heading to the midtown area (including Times Square) use the "E" train. The JFK AirTrain costs $5; the subway costs $2.
From Jamaica station, you may connect to Long Island Rail Road trains to Long Island or to Penn Station. You may also get trains to Downtown Brooklyn or to Hunterspoint Ave in Queens. This last option is useful if your destination is in downtown Queens or on the east side of Manhattan. The Hunterspoint and Brooklyn trains are less frequent than the Penn Station trains. You may also take trains to Ronkonkoma, where you can get shuttles to Islip airport, useful for catching flights on Southwest Airlines. The Long Island Railroad is sometimes substantially more expensive than the Subway -- it costs over $6 to travel from Jamaica to the city center during peak periods. On weekends, any travel within city borders on any MTA railroad is $3.
While traveling to the airport from the city, it is important to board "A" trains marked Far Rockaway or Rockaway Park. If you catch a Lefferts Blvd A, you will need to transfer to a Rockaway train. When using the "E" train to connect to the AirTrain, exit at the penultimate Sutphin Blvd. stop (the stop that the subway map calls Jamaica is not served by the AirTrain). Subways serve both the Jamaica and Howard Beach station 24 hours a day, so you will always be able to take a train, even if you have an early departure. However at nights, the train will run local (every 20 minutes) meaning that it makes every stop. This will take longer than during the day when the A and E run express.
For JFK, if you really want to slum it and avoid the $5 AirTrain ticket, you can take normal $2 buses to Lefferts Boulevard station where you can catch an A, or to New Lots Avenue, in Brooklyn, where you can catch a 3. If you do not already have a MetroCard, you will not be able to transfer into the subway system for free though.
There are also coach services that run from JFK and La Guardia to Grand Central Station and Penn Station. As of December 2005, the cost is $15 ($27 roundtrip).
JFK Airport is also a major business airport center and many visitors are engaging in business meetings at or close to the airport in order to avoid costly and time consuming trips into New York City. There are numerous hotels close to JFK with amenities that are aimed at the business traveler.
• Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) is located to the west of the city in the state of New Jersey. From Newark Airport, take the AirTrain to the Newark Airport Train Station to connect to a NJ Transit or Amtrak train running along the Northeast Corridor line to Penn Station. One-way fares to Penn Station are $11.55 if you take a NJ Transit train, and between $20 and $30 on Amtrak.
Several bus options are also available from Newark. For the most direct route, Olympia Trails ($13 one way, $22 round trip) runs buses every 20-30 minutes to New York Penn Station (with a final stop at Grand Central), or the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd and Eighth Avenue. One-way trip time is about 40 minutes depending on traffic. For the most inexpensive option possible, take NJTransit bus #62 to Newark Penn Station (one-way fare $1.10; be careful not to take bus #37 which also stops at EWR but not Penn Station). From there, you may take a PATH subway train either to World Trade Center station in lower Manhattan, or, by transferring at the Journal Square station to the 33rd St. train (across the platform), to one of several stops along Sixth Avenue (last stop 33rd Street / 6th Avenue). The combined fare for the bus/PATH option ($2.60) is significantly lower than the EWR AirTrain with NJTransit, but will take longer (plan on 1.5 - 2 hours), and of course, involve the transfer. As a word of caution, this is not a well-publicized option; note that you may well find yourself to be the only tourist on the bus. Don't expect much help or companionship in finding your way.
When choosing how to get into the city you should also keep in mind where you are going. If you are staying at the New Yorker, which is right next to New York Penn Station, it would make sense to take the EWR AirTrain and a NJTransit train that will take you right to Penn Station. If you are staying at the Millennium, then it is right across from the WTC station, so it might make sense to take the NJTransit bus and the PATH, instead of slugging from Penn Station to WTC on the subway. If you want to use the PATH to get midtown to 6th Ave stops, you will need to change trains in Journal Square.
There is a difference between NJTransit trains and Amtrak Trains serving the EWR airport station. You may not use tickets for one carrier to board the other. Amtrak trains are much more expensive than the NJTransit trains. Both northbound trains will stop at Newark Penn Station and New York Penn Station. The Amtrak trains will be less frequent also, however the upholstery on them will be much more luxurious than the NJTransit trains, however the NJTransit trains are quite serviceable, even if the carriages are not new and updated. The Amtrak services are useful from EWR if you are going more intercity to other parts of the metropolitan area - such as to Philadelphia, Princeton, or Poughkeepsie.
Newark Airport and its surroundings can be an intimidating place for the first time traveler. Newark Airport is surrounded by a network of highways, roads and ramps that can leave the unfamiliar feeling a bit lost. Because Newark is a major international gateway airport, travelers often arrive or depart after a night's stay at a local hotel facility at or near the airport. In addition, Newark is a popular business travelers hub.
• LaGuardia Airport (LGA) is a smaller, older airport providing many of the domestic services for the city including the shuttles to Boston and Washington DC. US Government regulations limit non-stop flights to and from LGA to 1500 miles. You can fly from LGA to Miami and New Orleans; you can't fly to Los Angeles or Honolulu.
From LGA, the M60 bus connects with Astoria N and W trains, and crosses Manhattan using 125th St. It will connect with the Lexington (4, 5, 6), Central Park West (A, B C, D), Lenox (2, 3) and Broadway lines (1). This is a useful service if you are staying in Harlem, the Columbia University area or Hostelling International New York, as it goes south on Broadway (west side) to 106th St. This is a $2 service. The bus does not accept dollar bills. You will need to use coins if you do not already have a MetroCard. There is a change machine in the airport terminal. The M60 stops in front of all the terminals. Timetable
A taxi from LaGuardia can be affordable, especially if traveling in a group. The fare to Midtown will range from $20-$30. Make sure to tell the driver to take the 59th St (officially called Queensboro) Bridge to save the $4.50 toll on the other river crossing. The bridge is also more direct and usually faster coming from LGA.
• All airports. It would be wise to allow a minimum of 90 minutes for trips between midtown and the airports. Rush hour traffic in New York is notorious, especially on the congested Van Wyck Expressway to Kennedy airport. Also the lack of elevators will make bringing luggage up and down subway stairs difficult. Taxis and suburban shared ride vans are available. Use the phones provided near baggage claim for shared ride vans, or go to the taxi dispatcher. Do not accept offers of rides from people hanging around in the terminal, sometimes these people will take you to a bad neighborhood and demand more money to get to your desired destination, or lock your luggage in the trunk and demand extra payment to release it. See taxis below.
Bus services are available to the major airports from Midtown and Downtown. Grand Central Station services do not stop right in front of Grand Central Station, but around 41st or 40th St. Prices are competitive with the AirTrain services and there is at least one departure an hour through the day. The driver will help you with your bags. These may be helpful for you if you don't wish to negotiate stations and transfers.
If leaving for an early flight with a 2-hour check in, you may need to take a taxi. Check the running hours of the buses. More detail on the airports and travel from the Port Authority.
In addition to the big three airports, New York City is also served by Teterboro Airport, in Teterboro, NJ, Westchester County Airport, in White Plains, NY, and MacArthur Airport, in Islip, NY.
New York has two major rail terminals, Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, served by four primary passenger services: Amtrak, Metro North Commuter Railroad, Long Island Railroad, and New Jersey Transit. Amtrak, Long Island Railroad, and New Jersey Transit operate from Penn Station and Metro North Commuter Railroad operates from Grand Central. New Jersey Transit is a service of the State of New Jersey. Long Island Railroad and Metro North are both parts of the Metropolitan Transit Authority which also operates city subways and busses. Penn station is located at 32nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues; Grand Central at 42nd and Park Avenue. There are several smaller stations in all other boroughs except Staten Island and additional terminals on the Long Island Railroad in Brooklyn and Queens.
• Amtrak operates from New York Penn Station, which is the largest hub in Amtrak's east-coast system, with dozens of arrivals and departures daily. Amtrak's Acela express train provides regular fast commuter service between major points on the east coast from Washington, DC up to Boston. Other lines provide less frequent service to points as far away as California (a 3-day sleeper trip) and Canada. (Service on the lines other than the lines to Boston and Washington (known as the Northeast corridor) can be a little haphazard, to say the least!) Beware that popular trains leaving near rush hours can fill up quickly: it's a good idea to make reservations online and pick up your ticket at one of the electronic kiosks.
Services to California will require a change of trains in Chicago.
If you have any sleeper ticket or a first class Acela ticket, you may use Amtrak's Metropolitan Lounge. Business First customers on Continental Airlines flights departing from EWR may also use Amtrak's Metropolitan Lounge, but this may have changed. This does not apply to plain domestic first class flights offered by Continental, only their Business First services transatlantic, to Hawaii and Guam, and to Tokyo and Hong Kong. The Metropolitan Lounge has a much nicer bathroom than the other Penn Station facilities. It also has drinks, newspapers, and seating. It is located on the side of the station with the big security desk. You may not use the Metropolitan Lounge with a coach ticket or an Acela business ticket.
You may walk up to Amtrak QuikTrack machines at Penn Station and purchase your northeast corridor tickets without a credit card and without waiting in line for a ticket agent. You may also book tickets online at their website and pick up the tickets at these machines. Because Acela has lowered prices, demand has increased, and it is always a good idea to try booking ahead if you know when you want to leave. The first class Acela tickets include a meal served at your seat for Washington and Boston services.
• MTA Metro North - Provides frequent service between Grand Central and the suburbs of New York City to the north, as far as Poughkeepsie and Brewster, and into Connecticut as far as New Haven, Waterbury and Danbury. At New Haven, passengers may transfer to Amtrak or to the Shore Line East, providing local service between New Haven and New London, Connecticut. The Metro North trains to New Haven and Poughkeepsie share tracks with Amtrak trains that operate from Penn Station.
• MTA Long Island Rail Road - Provides commuter rail service connecting Penn Station with Long Island destinations. The Long Island Railroad also operates trains to Long Island destinations to and from terminals in Brooklyn and Hunters Point in Queens. Most Long Island Railroad trains pass through a transfer hub at Jamaica in Queens.
• New Jersey Transit - Trains between Penn Station and many New Jersey points. One line on New Jersey Transit operates on the same tracks as Amtrak trains to Philadelphia and Washington, making many local stops where Amtrak does not stop. New Jersey Transit also joins with Amtrak in connecting Penn Station with Newark Liberty International Airport. New Jersey Transit also provides an extensive network of busses all over New Jersey, many of which operate from Port Authority Bus Terminal. You can get to Philadelphia and beyond via commuter rail connecting to Philadelphia SEPTA Public transit in Trenton. Atlantic City can be reached by train by using Amtrak or NJT/SEPTA to Philadelphia, and transferring back to NJT to travel from Philadelphia to Atlantic City.
• PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) - A subway type system connecting Newark and various points on the New Jersey shore of the Hudson River with New York City. Two lines pass under the Hudson and enter the city, one terminating at a temporary World Trade Center site station in downtown, the other at 33rd Street in midtown. The 33rd Street Station was once connected underground to Penn Station, but now, presumably due to security concerns, the underground passage is closed and you must walk a block west on the surface of 33rd.
• Greyhound is the largest and oldest private bus company in the US, and operates its east-coast hub out of Manhattan's Port Authority Bus Terminal. Recently Peter Pan Bus Company has come to dominate bus travel from New York to Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, coordinating some schedules with Greyhound, while competing vigorously against Greyhound on many routes. The terminal operates on a 24-hour schedule, with regular departures to practically every city in the country. Big cities like Boston, DC, Chicago and LA will have multiple departures daily -- smaller cities may only have one or two, so be sure to check the schedules in advance! Remember that distances in the USA are large and you could be on the bus a long time - a very long time.
The Port Authority Bus Terminal also hosts a dozen or so smaller bus companies, which generally offer service along the Boston-to-DC regional axis.
A cheaper group of bus companies known as the "Chinatown Bus" go to Boston, Washington, Philadelphia and a few other destinations, usually picking up and dropping off passengers in ethnic Chinese neighborhoods. If you are going to Boston, the buses no longer drop you off on the street, but at the Boston South Station bus terminal, which is pretty close to Chinatown anyway, however it is sheltered. Prices have increased and are no longer $10. Some of these bus companies are:
• The Fung Wah Bus, granddaddy of all Chinatown buses, which arrives every hour until 10:00pm from Boston at the corner of Canal and Bowery streets.
• The Vamoose Bus from Washington DC.
• The Today's Bus from Washington DC, Philadelphia, Richmond and Atlanta.
• The Apex Bus from Washington DC, Philadelphia, Richmond and Atlanta.
• The Boston Deluxe, connecting New York with Boston, Philadelphia and Hartford.
• The Washington Deluxe from Washington DC.
Parking in the city
If you are thinking of coming to New York by car, you may want to consider that traffic in Manhattan is very bad, and parking is quite expensive (up to $40 per day) and extremely difficult to come by. When entering New York from New Jersey, as well as with many bridges and tunnels within New York City, you will incur tolls (up to $6) and associated traffic delays. Most New Yorkers don't even own cars, and driving from one attraction to another in Manhattan is all but unheard of. Driving to one of the stations served by the Metro North railroad, New Jersey Transit, or Long Island Railroad (see above) and taking the train in is a better option. There are often secure parking areas in some of these stations.
As a general rule, hotels in New York do not supply parking. The few that do will charge you handsomely for the privilege. It is suggested that you look at the following two websites:
- you can book your parking time (if you know it) by the block, date, time, and even choose which garage within the iconparking system has space and they MUST honor it. One traveler says, "I've gone into garages that have initially said they're full up and then I said I booked it online and they shrugged and honored it." A hint, when you book online with this company take the printout with you. Most times the attendants/valets will assume you know what you're talking about, but sometimes they want to see the printout. Also, when you pay, they may feign ignorance as to the price you were quoted online. Another reason to print out the reservation. Utilizing this service, it is possible to pay $10 on a weekday for 8 hours of parking on John Street in the Financial district showing up at 10am and leaving at 6pm. If initially the valet says they don't have to honor that rate, be persistent and you should get it.
The other site is - This site is for Edison Parkfast. The site isn't as feature rich and you can't pick your hours or dates, but at least they have rates and locations.