JFK Airport in 2021, New York City Transportation

JFK Airport in 2021, New York City; credit Anthony-22/Wiki Commons

New York City Transportation


John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is America’s 6th busiest airport. By far, JFK Airport handles the most international flights in America. Despite numbering terminals 1-8, there is no terminal 6, This huge airport is located on the southern coast of Queens, New York so driving and transit options both can take over an hour to reach Manhattan. JFK Airport Terminal Map

JFK-Brooklyn-Manhattan Rail Connections: Take AirTrain JFK light rail to the Howard Beach Station and transfer to the A subway train. It costs under $10 (AirTrain + MTA subway) and rides last 50-70 minutes to various lower Manhattan stations. You can also catch an AirTrain to Howard Beach Station to catch the Metro A train to Brooklyn and Manhattan.

JFK-Queens-Manhattan Rail Connections: From JFK Airport, take the AirTrain JFK commuter to the attractive Jamaica Station, then transfer to an LIRR express train to NYC Penn Station. Your fair will cost $7 LIRR peak commute fare + $5 AirTrain for the 35-minute ride. AirTrain JFK runs 24/7. In return, purchase tickets from an NYC Penn Station vending machine and catch the Jamaica LIRR express train.

LaGuardia Airport (LGA) is a Top 25 Airport in America with 4 compact terminals that host domestic flights. Unfortunately, there is no rail transit from the airport to Manhattan. LGA Airport Terminal Map

Newark International Airport (EWK) is America’s 14th busiest passenger airport and New York’s 2nd busiest for international flights. With 3 large terminals encircled by freeways and tollways, auto access is a piece of cake in New Jersey. EWK Airport Terminal Map

EWR-Newark-Manhattan Rail Connections: AirTrain Newark automated people mover whisks you between terminals and connects to NJ Transit trains that commute to downtown Newark and NYC Penn Station. The cost is around $15 and the commute is 25 minutes or less. On your return, purchase tickets from the Penn Station vending machine and catch the EWR NJ Transit train.

Shuttles and Limos: Super Saver Shuttle (800-924-9954), Westchester Express (800-910-5466), and Classic Limousine (800-666-4949) are available from JFK and LGA from 7 am to Midnight. Go to the ground transportation desk at each airport to catch a relatively inexpensive Gray Line Express bus to Grand Central Terminal.

Limousine rates vary greatly, depending on number of passengers from each airport, major events nearby and hour of commute.

Car Rentals: all three airports feature a huge selection of Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, and National cars. Taxis are plentiful at all three airports.

New York Penn Station Moynahan Hall in 2022

New York Penn Station Moynahan Hall in 2022; D Benjamin Miller/Wiki Commons

Train Stations

New York Penn Station anchors the most Amtrak train routes in America. The old part of Penn Station, located underneath Madison Square Garden, is cramped and rife with utilitarian architecture. The new part is across 8th Avenue in a dramatically renovated post office building renamed Moynihan Hall.

Trains arrive every 5-20 minutes, 24/7. That level of activity supports gift shops and cafes from 5:30a-11:30p for Amtrak, MTA subway, Long Island Railroad, Metro-North, New Jersey Transit, and PATH commuter train patrons. BoltBus, Taxis, Uber & Lyft await you on 33rd Street and 7th Avenue as well. New York Penn Station serves these Amtrak routes:

Acela: DC-Baltimore-Philadelphia-Newark-NYC-Stamford-New Haven-Providence-Boston
Northeast Regional1: DC-Baltimore-Wilmington-Philadelphia-Newark-NYC-Stamford-New Haven-Providence-Boston
Northeast Regional2: DC-Baltimore-Wilmington-Philadelphia-Newark-NYC-Stamford-New Haven-Hartford-Springfield
Crescent: NYC-Philadelphia-Baltimore-DC-Charlotte-Atlanta-New Orleans
Palmetto/Silver: NYC-Philadelphia-Baltimore-DC-Richmond-Jacksonville-Miami
Carolinian: NYC-Philadelphia-Baltimore-DC-Richmond-Raleigh-Charlotte
Cardinal: NYC-Philadelphia-Baltimore-DC-Cincinnati-Indy-Chicago
Vermonter: St Albans-Burlington-NYC-Philadelphia-Baltimore-DC

Amtrak Acela and Amtrak Northeast Regional trains run between New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington every 20-30 minutes. Other Amtrak trains go from NYC to Boston every 50-60 minutes. Coach class features comfortable seating with at least 39 inches of legroom, outlets for your laptop, complimentary WiFi, and extra storage space for luggage. Budget-minded travelers can take advantage of Amtrak Saver Fares and save when they book Coach seats 21 days or more in advance.

Northeast Regional Business class features even more extra legroom, extra Amtrak Guest Rewards Points an extra car dedicated to them, extra flexibility with an easily refundable ticket for those last-minute changes, reserved seating, and a complimentary beverage. Amtrak Crescent, Palmetto, Carolinian, Cardinal, Vermonter, and Capital Limited run once or twice daily.

In fall 2023, Nextgen Acela high-speed trains will run up to 160 mph in the Northeast Corridor on partially upgraded infrastructure and feature a better onboard experience. The same infrastructure will improve Amtrak Northeast Regional service too.

More infrastructure upgrades to the Northeast Corridor will unfold over 2026-35 that will increase train speed, frequency, and reliability. See Amtrak Acela progress towards world-class service.

World Trade Center Transportation Hub

World Trade Center Transportation Hub; credit Silverstein Properties

Rapid Transit

Rapid transit, local buses, taxis, Uber & Lyft rule New York City commutes. Unless you are hauling family plus luggage, rental cars only make sense for travel to the outskirts of Queens, Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) manages a vast network of subway trains, commuter trains and buses linking the entire region at a single low cost. MTA Subway lines travel to 471 stations over 660 miles. More than 4,000 buses travel on 207 local and 36 express routes citywide. An MTA subway or bus ride costs $2, regardless of trip length, and all fares are paid via a MetroCard at the pay fare machine or downloadable mobile app. Visit MetroCard Promotions to access money-saving deals for reduced admission to museums and attractions or discounts at many stores and restaurants.

Do not confuse MTA subway or MTA commuter trains with New Jersey Transit or PATH trains since they have separate ticketing, schedules, and station boarding areas.

The Arts for Transit initiative is designed to enhance the travel experience of subway riders by adding the beauty of art and culture to their trips. The initiative’s Music Under New York (MUNY) program provides riders with a variety of musical performances at select subway stations.

MTA Subways, though slightly noisy and hard-seated, is an efficient transportation marvel that runs 24/7. Many subway stations have been refurbished. Newer trains replace older trains each year. Several north-south subway lines through Manhattan have express and local trains on separate tracks, speeding commuters from Downtown to Midtown to Uptown in minutes. Express trains skip 3-4 stations (20-30 blocks) between each stop making it the best way to go north-south during commute hours.

Ask an MTA station agent for a free subway map and information about express trains before boarding. MetroCard vending machines accept cash, debit cards, and credit cards. The MTA Q line recently extended north from Lexington Ave/63rd St Station under Second Avenue to 96th St Station, thereby reducing congestion on MTA 4, 5, and 6 lines through the Upper East Side. Q Line Phase 2 extension to 125th Street in East Harlem is funded and planned for completion in 2027. There are currently 26 MTA subway lines: MTA SUBWAY SYSTEM MAP

Waiting for the MTA train

Waiting for the MTA train; credit Nina Hill/Adobe

MTA Long Island Railroad (LIRR) commuter trains serve the length of Long Island, New York. It is America’s busiest commuter railroad and operates 24/7. Excluding the Port Washington line, all lines from Penn Station stop at Jamaica Station in Queens for connection to JFK Airport. LIRR operates on these popular routes:


Grand Central Terminal serves over 500,000 daily transit commuters and out-of-town visitors. Civil engineers marvel at the multi-layered network of 44 platforms and 67 tracks under this transportation temple first opened in 1871. It remains one of the busiest train stations in the world. Enter from Lexington Avenue to get a jaw-dropping view of the GCT Main Concourse. Its vaulted ceiling has an astronomically inaccurate design that nonetheless makes it a joy to crane your neck looking at. Dotted with monuments and marble steps, Grand Central Terminal reminds us of what America lost when it destroyed many of our great train stations.

Twice upgraded, Grand Central Terminal has nearly 30 upscale boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. Visitors may contact the Municipal Art Society at (212-935-3960) for a Wednesday tour. While there, check out the free New York City Transit Museum and store.

MTA Metro-North is one of America’s busiest commuter railroads and operates 24/7. Three Metro-North lines run from Grand Central Terminal — Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven lines. Their first stop is 125th Street Station in East in Harlem, where the Hudson Line peels off with a stop at Yankee Stadium, then proceeds north along the Hudson River to Poughkeepsie, NY. The Harlem Line goes several dozen miles north to Wassaic, NY. New Haven Line passes through Stamford then branches into 4 routes to New Canaan, Danbury, Waterbury, and New Haven, CT. Two Metro-North Lines run from NYC Penn Station — Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines. They splinter into 4 branches.

Before boarding, review the Metro-North Map, confirm your station destination, and confirm your train’s precise name, since boarding the wrong train can cause a very bad commute. MTA METRO-NORTH RAILROAD MAP

Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) trains connect Newark, Jersey City and Hoboken in New Jersey to the World Trade Center and Penn Station each day between 5am and Midnight. PATH commuter trains to downtown utilize World Trade Center Transportation Hub is also home to 2 PATH lines, 12 MTA subway lines and a taxi depot. Architecturally stunning, World Trade Center Transportation Hub includes the eye-popping Oculus, plus an underground Westfield shopping mall that makes it an outside-inside destination equal to Grand Central Terminal.

In New Jersey, Hoboken and Jersey City have large public transit centers but one intermodal transportation center stands above the rest. The fully restored neo-Classic Newark Pennsylvania Station is home to Amtrak, PATH subway trains, a New Jersey Transit light rail line, and New Jersey Rail Transit commuter commuter trains, including those to New Meadowlands Football Stadium and Atlantic City.


Harlem Heritage Tours
Celebrate Harlem’s past and participate in the cultural and economic renaissance taking hold in the community. All tours are conducted by those who live in the community; they offer an assortment of cultural walking, bus, jazz, gospel, and day trip experiences with experiences tailored for Religious Groups, Family Reunions, Individuals, Senior Groups, School Groups, Fraternities & Sororities
WEBSITE: https://www.harlemheritage.com

Motherland Connextions Tours
Underground Railroad tour covering Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Canada; guides are dressed in period costumes; Georgia to Canada tour is offered annually
PHONE: 718-282-1028

Braggin’ About Brooklyn
Excellent historical and cultural tours to make you aware of the contributions of African American art and science in Brooklyn and Manhattan
ADDRESS: 685 Gates Avenue
PHONE: 718-297-5107

The Brownstoners of Bedford-Stuyvesant
House tours featuring the architectural and cultural heritage of Brownstone houses in the Bed-Stuy community of Brooklyn; contact Akwaaba Inn Brooklyn for more info
PHONE: 718-455-5958

Queens Jazz Trail
The Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts host a Jazz trail that includes tours past the former homes of the Jazz giants and visits to the town hall Jazz exhibition; 137-35 Northern Blvd, Flushing
PHONE: 718-463-7700

Circle Line passing by the Statue of Liberty

Circle Line passing by the Statue of Liberty; credit Marley White/Circle Line


New York and New Jersey Spirit Cruises
Bateaux New York and Spirit of New York day & dinner cruises traverse both sides of the Hudson River. On the NYC side, they depart from Chelsea Pier; on the New Jersey side, they depart from Lincoln Harbor.
PRICES: vary depending on the type of cruise
ADDRESS: Pier 62 at West 23rd Street, Suite 200, New York, NY
PHONE: 212-727-7735

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Ferry
Breath-taking Inexpensive ride – plan on using a roll of film; departs every 30 minutes in warm months, every 45 minutes in colder months. On either island, stay for as long as you like, since there are many return ferries throughout the day. Depart NYC from Battery Park (on the southwestern tip of New York City). Ferries dock net to Castle Clinton.
PHONE: 212-269-5755
WEBSITE: http://www.ny.com/transportation/ellis.html

Hoboken-Battery Park City Ferry
A commuter ferry that crosses the Hudson River; great inexpensive views of the Statue of Liberty, Jersey City, and lower Manhattan skylines
PHONE: 201-420-6307

Circle Line Ferry
New York City is an island of breathtaking man-made structures and riverside parks. Both traits make it ideal for sightseeing by a circle-route ferry. Service departs from Battery Park in New York City and from Liberty State Park in Jersey City; purchase refreshments and souvenirs on board; check websites for schedule and prices
WEBSITE: http://www.circleline.com

Freeways & Tollways

New York Freeway & Tollway Network is extensive. Two highways worth driving are the magnificently designed Verrazano-Narrows Bridge between Brooklyn and Staten Island and the George Washington Bridge between Manhattan and New Jersey. The tollways, bridges, and tunnels are expensive for short distances traveled. Keep at least $10 handy for the drive to/from Manhattan. The highways are crowded and in varying states of repair, so congestion can occur any hour before 10 pm. Such congestion incentivizes urban dwellers to use the rapid transit system.


0 replies

Login. Register. Use your Google / Facebook login.

Leave a Reply