Five-hour layover at Newark

My boyfriend and I are taking a redeye flight to the Caribbean next weekend, and are making our connection at Newark. We fly into Newark at 7:00 pm, and fly out at midnight. Given this huge five-hour layover, we’re wondering if it’s feasible to take a train into Manhattan and have dinner during those five hours.

I have done some business travel to Manhattan before and I know that some trains are reliable and some aren’t. This plan would obviously depend on there being a fast and reliable train between Newark and midtown. What do you all think? Advice? Suggestions? My very favorite restaurants are on the upper West side, but I know of a few in the TriBeCa area too.

I didn’t think there were trains direct between Newark Airport and Manhattan. I think you need to take bus service to get to Manhattan, or maybe to the PATH tubes. (Or use a taxi or limo)

But I really don’t know – I’ve got family in the area, so I always go to and from the airport either by air or by car. I do know that the Airport isn’t near anything except US 1 and the Jersey Turnpike, so don’t think about walking.

There is train service. A monorail takes you from EWR to the Northeast Corridor line.

That line is pretty reliable and should have you in Manhattan in about 30 minutes or less total.

It seems feasible, and more enjoyable than sitting around EWR for 5 hours.

I don’t know about the dinner angle but check with your airline to see if you are allowed to leave the airport. The airline or the airport authority may place some restrictions on this. I’ve never left an airport during a long layover so I’m not really sure it’s an issue but it’s worth a phone call.

You can take the Newark AirTrain to the Newark Liberty terminal on NJ Transit (Amtrak uses it as well.) The AirTrain ticket is around five bucks, and a roundtrip via NJT into Manhattan should take about 30 minutes each way (not including wait time for the train – check the schedule, but they’re fairly frequent.)

So it’s definitely doable. There are lots of good restaurants in the Penn Station area as well.

What are you going to do with your bags? I’m guessing you’ll be checking everything through?

Also, a planned five hour layover often doesn’t become reality. Don’t push your luck if you don’t have enough time.

It’s definitely feasible to get to Manhattan and back, but the problem is that you’ll be looking at your watch every 5 minutes. Traffic jams and transportation problems can happen any time of the day or night. If your flight is a bit late, and the train is a bit delayed, you could find yourself with very little time to eat dinner and make it back to the airport.

I would consider eating at Don Pepe’s in Newark if you like Iberian-style food. Forno’s is not so bad either. You can take a cab from the airport and be there in about 20 minutes. Both are in reasonably safe areas of Newark.

I recently had a 6-hour layover at Newark, that became a 9.5-hour layover. If I had known it would be 9.5 hours I would have gone into Manhattan. Instead, I had a book, crossword puzzles and my iPod . . . and two meals.

You can check the NJ Transit train schedule here just put in Newark airport as your departing location and New York Penn Station as your destination.