Flying in and out of NYC

Arriving and leaving from JFK. I’m traveling by myself and am totally comfortable navigating once I’m in the city (have spent many a long weekend there, traveling in by train), but am a bit anxious about getting out of and back into the airport. Taxi fare looks to be about $40; public transportation appears to be an option but a complicated one. Private shuttles seem like the best option but would like info on how timely and reliable they are.

What say you frequent flying Dopers? What’s my best bet to get to my mid-town hotel late on a Friday afternoon? And back to JFK around 4:00 p.m. on Saturday?

I’ll be using the subway while in town–someone told me to buy a pass before I even leave JFK. True?

Public transit is actually incredibly simple (the AirTrain dedicated airport shuttle train takes you right to the subway). You may have to transfer somewhere to get where you’re going to your hotel or whatever. Where ARE you going? There are some destinations where it could be faster to drive, but they aren’t in Manhattan.

You pay, I think around $5 to use the Airtrain, then at the subway station you can buy a subway pass from the machine. Even if there was a vending machine outside of the train station, physically inside JFK (which I would tend to doubt) I don’t see any advantage in buying it there, rather than at the station.

SuperShuttle is the only private service I’m aware of. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to reserve or what. Call them:

Never, NEVER accept a ride from someone hustling at the airport. Legitimate taxis bear the NYC logo and are dispatched from the official taxi stand and ONLY from the official taxi stand. Every else is illegal, usually a ripoff, and sometimes dangerous.

We used Carmel Car Service when we went to NYC. It was painless (except for paying for it).

Yup, AirTrain is amazing. It’ll cost you $5 to get to the LIRR at Jamaica Station and takes about 15 minutes all told. From there you can take the next LIRR train to Penn Station or go down another flight of stairs and take the E-train from the Sutphin Blvd Station.

It really is so easy that I think it’s a waste of money to take a cab or a van.

We got into JFK last week and the AirTrain was down. They have a shuttle bus in the interim if you follow the signs and listen closely.
Ask your hotel directly if they’ll pick you up and at what cost. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Seconding all those saying it’s very easy to navigate the transit, it’s very simple.

It isn’t just the money. It’s the time burned.

You have about 24 hours. With sleep in there somewhere. Why spend 2 hours at least GETTING TO a hotel in mid-town?

Suggestion. Land at JFK, having brought a backpack or very small light bag. Pack only what you need to have for the overnight. Leave the rest in a locker at JFK. Investigate before you fly in to see which terminals have them, and lock your bags in the terminal you fly from. Voila- you’ve got nothing heavy to carry and a train system to take you right into mid-town.

Easy traveling. Low cost, fast, no traffic jams, straight from JFK to the city. Dump your small bag, enjoy town, check out, carry light bag to train, back to JFK, pick up the big ugly baggage, fly.

Enjoy the city !!! Windy and damp Sat, lovely Sunday.

To be clear - there are two ways to use AirTrain.

From JFK, you can take the AirTrain to the actual A train, at Howard Beach. This is like maybe 10 minutes at most from JFK, but its a loooong ride into Manhattan. At least an hour.

Or you can take the slightly longer Air Train ride to Jamaica Station* where you can link up with either the LIRR commuter rail (22 minutes into Manhattan) or take the E subway (cheaper – and slower, but still an Express subway line).

Two hours? The AirTrain -> LIRR route takes less than 40 minutes if you do it at a reasonable hour.

I’ve done the shuttle from LaGuardia into Manhattan and it was a piece of cake. They are on a fairly regular schedule. I don’t think I waited more than 10 or 15 minutes and it was way cheaper than a cab would have been.

I’m not sure if you’d have the same experience at JFK.

ETA: The LaGuardia shuttle was to and from Union Square, I believe, so I guess it would depend on where in Manhattan you want to end up. I was heading toward Mid-Town, so it was all good for me.

I didn’t articulate well. I meant why spend 2 hours each way IN A CAB, when you can take the AirTrain and rock straight into Midtown.

OK, well even a cab ride won’t take that long. Midtown to JFK via taxi is at most 50 minutes in heavy traffic - 30 at night or on the weekend. It would only take two hours if there was some kind of disaster going on, which, admittedly, happens from time to time in this town

Disaster? " BQE at the Gowanus " is disaster. Battery Tunnel is disaster. Heavy afternoon traffic from lower Manhattan through up into midtown? Disaster.

Take the Air Train. Plus- you get to ride a train 40 feet in the air. Great way to see Queens !!!

Thank you all! Sounds like AirTrain to Jamaica Station, then either LIRR or E subway is my most efficient use of time and $$$. My hotel is the Hudson on E 58th near Columbus Circle. Looks like the E has a Columbus Circle stop (if I’m reading my mta map correctly) so that’s what I’ll shoot for.

Can I just reverse to get back to JFK? E subway to Jamaica Station and AirTrain to my terminal?

Coming in, do I buy a subway card at Jamaica Station and load it up with money (I’m used to the Charlie Card in Boston) or buy a certain number of fares? Counting the trips to and from the airport, and to and from the conference, how much money (or how many fares) should I purchase?

It’s next weekend that I’m going; unfortunately I’ll be holed up in a conference all day Saturday and won’t be able to enjoy the city much–will seize some night life on Friday. :cool:

Again, many thanks for the help!

You want to load it up with money, you can roughly estimate the total by taking $5 x 2 (for the Airtrain each way) plus $2.25 x 2 (for the E train each way) plus $2.25 x however many other times you think you will be using the subway. You can always put more money on the same card if you end up using it more.

In your OP, you mentioned the public transportation route looks complicated, and I wanted to let you know I agree with you, it LOOKS complicated but in reality, it’s very hard to mess up because there are tons of signs and a large crowd of people with luggage going along the exact same path you are so you never really have to make any decisions about which way to go.

The E doesn’t stop at Columbus circle. The closest stop on the E is “7th Avenue” and its maybe a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel.

Yup! Just take note of how long the whole trip takes you and leave plenty of time to get there and pass security at JFK.

A subway trip costs $2.25 to any destination in the system; you can put any amount on a card but it is deducted by cash value basis, not on a “per ride” basis, if that makes any sense. Some amounts come with a “fare bonus” which rarely does you any good so don’t stress out trying to maximize it (I think its 7%).

At 7th Ave you can transfer easily to the B or D to Columbus Circle. (It’s just one more stop.)

I’d like to just put something out there. I grew up in Philly and have lived in and around NYC since 1981. Not once have I ever witnessed someone doing what apparently is regarded as the meanspirited big-city norm: Giving misdirections to a visitor.

I see people perusing a subway map or standing on the sidewalk gazing around while holding a city map, I ask if they need help finding something. I routinely see New Yawkuhs do this. It’s a city that I still cannot claim as my own but must admit that when people need a hand, someone steps up and does a kindness.

friedo’s correct. Swap trains. On the OTHER hand, if you’ve ditched big luggage back at JFK and are backpacking or one-bagging it and it’s a nice day, hell walk up 7th Avenue and meander over towards Columbus Circle. If it’s a lousy day, transfer trains as he said.

Smart fellow, that friedo. Still can’t figure out why Michael had to go and shoot him and dump him into the lake… :smiley:

That was Fredo, and he deserved it.

And you’re right. New Yorkers like to give directions, because we like to show off. :stuck_out_tongue:

I just got back from New York and I can attest to the kindness of strangers. People help a lot if you’re a lost-looking out-of-towner.

I was even asked a question on the subway — by a guy from Washington State who’d come in to protest on Wall Street. Whadda I look like, a New Yorker?! :stuck_out_tongue: This was on the elevated train going over the Williamsburg Bridge, friedo, into Manhattan. Man, those stairs up to the platform are brutal!

SO true on both counts.