We know that you're confused. Four airports is a lot for one city, even a massive one like New York City. That's where we come in. We provide a breakdown of transportation between each of the metropolitan region's four airports. We'll also tell you why unmarked taxis are a big no-no. New York is serviced by four airports, John F. Kennedy (JFK), Newark, LaGuardia and Islip.
Getting Into New York
New York is serviced by four airports, John F. Kennedy (JFK), Newark, LaGuardia, and Islip.
John F. Kennedy International Airport
John F. Kennedy is a major international airport. Located in the borough of Queens, JFK is not particularly well integrated into the city's public transportation network. That said, it's hard to quibble with an airport this well linked to cities all over the world.
There are a few transportation options between JFK and Manhattan. The JFK Air Train, which connects the airport's terminals and parking lots, also intersects with the subway network at the Howard Beach subway station via the A train, and at the Sutphin Boulevard/Archer Avenue subway station via the E, J and Z subway lines. The A train enters Manhattan in the Financial District, the E train enters Manhattan at Midtown, and the J and Z trains enter Manhattan on the Lower East Side. The Air Train between the airport and these subway stations costs $5, and the onward subway fare is $2.25. Check out Air Train online.
The New York Airport Service operates bus connections between JFK and Port Authority, Grand Central, Penn Station and hotels in Midtown Manhattan (located between 31st and 60th streets). The shuttle costs $7-15 one-way and $15-20 roundtrip, depending on your destination in Manhattan. The bus shuttle runs from JFK into Manhattan from 6:05 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. and from Manhattan into JFK from 5:10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Buses run every 20 minutes. The earliest journeys to JFK leave from Grand Central only, and the latest journeys into Manhattan from JFK stop only at Grand Central. The journey takes one hour between JFK and Grand Central, longer for Port Authority and Penn Station.
Alternatively, there is always the taxi option. The fixed rate for taxis from JFK to Manhattan is $45. In addition to this flat fixed rate, you will need to pay a toll charge. Know that a tip of around 10% is basically mandatory in New York. Your taxi fare should not exceed $60 under any circumstances, and should probably be closer to $55.
For more information, visit the official site of the JFK Airport.
Newark Liberty International Airport
Newark Liberty International Airport wins our airport award for most convenient access to lower Manhattan. Like JFK, Newark is a huge international airport. The best way to travel between Manhattan and Newark International Airport is to use Air Train and NJ Transit. Air Train also operates a rail shuttle between the airport and the NJ Transit (and Amtrak) train station.
NJ Transit ticket prices vary based on your destination in Manhattan, but your purchase of a NJ Transit ticket to or from the Newark Airport includes the $5.50 Air Train fee. A trip from Newark Airport to New York Penn Station costs $12.50. Air Train operates 24 hours a day and NJ Transit operates 21 hours a day, with no service between the hours of 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Bus transportation between Newark and Port Authority on the Newark Liberty Airport Express costs $15 for a one-way ticket and $25 for a roundtrip ticket. Student fares are $10 one-way and $20 roundtrip, and children under 12 ride free.
For more information, visit the Newark Liberty's Web site.
LaGuardia Airport handles short-haul air traffic, mostly to and from eastern Canada and the eastern United States. LaGuardia is very handy to Manhattan. The M60 bus line transports people between Manhattan (106th Street and Broadway) and LaGuardia for just $2.25. It connect to additional bus lines, the Q33 and Q47, and the E, F, G, R, V and 7 subway lines.
The New York Airport Service bus shuttle charges $5 for a one-way ($15 roundtrip) journey between LaGuardia and Grand Central, Port Authority, Penn Station and hotels located in Midtown Manhattan (between 31st and 60th streets). Shuttles run from 7:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. and the journey from LaGuardia to Grand Central takes approximately 45 minutes.
For more information visit LaGuardia's Web site
Taxis between LaGuardia and Manhattan cost between $21 and $32.
Islip, on Long Island, only serves domestic destinations. Getting from Islip to Manhattan can be a bit of a pain. There's the Hampton Jitney option, which runs $30 per journey. In order to take the Hampton Jitney to or from Islip, you'll also need to take a taxi from the airport to Long Island Expressway Exit 60. Colonial Taxi runs between Islip and Exit 60, charging $12 for a taxi journey reserved in advance and $25 for a taxi journey not reserved in advance.
There's also the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) option, which is our preferred approach. Take the LIRR from Ronkonoma to Penn Station. The journey takes 85 minutes and costs about $16.25 during the hours of 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and $11.75 at all other times. A shuttle service between Ronkonkoma and Islip costs $5.
For more informartion visit Islip's Web site.
A note about unmarked taxi and unofficial shuttle transportation
In brief: Don't do it. Many visitors to New York are approached by unlicensed shuttle drivers at airports. While it is no doubt possible that some unofficial shuttles are not out to strip you of several hundred greenbacks, the stories we hear from unsuspecting visitors tend to be horrifying. The most important tip we can offer you is this: Do not travel into Manhattan via an unofficial taxi or limousine service. Always wait for a taxi in the official taxi line with the New Yorkers.
From Train and Bus Terminals
Port Authority (the city's bus terminal), Penn Station (which serves NJ Transit, the Long Island Railroad and Amtrak) and Grand Central Station (which serves the Metro North commuter trains) are at the center of multiple subway lines.