Getting to New York City
New York City is serviced by three airports. John F. Kennedy International Airport is about 15 miles from Manhattan in Queens. It’s the largest of the three and handles primarily international flights. La Guardia Airport, also in Queens, is about eight miles from Manhattan and handles primarily domestic flights.
Newark Airport, across the Hudson River in New Jersey, handles domestic and some international flights. Kennedy is generally the most congested of the three airports, Newark the least.
Public transportation from the airports into Manhattan and the other boroughs is excellent; call 800/AIR-RIDE for general information.
A taxi ride into Manhattan from La Guardia takes 20–30 minutes and costs about $25, including tolls and tip. The ride from Kennedy to Manhattan takes 30–45 minutes and costs a flat fare of $45, plus tolls and tip (when going the other way, from Manhattan to Kennedy, the trip is metered, but usually costs about the same). The 45-minute ride from Newark usually runs about $50. Cabs leave from well-marked stands staffed by dispatchers, just outside the flight-arrival areas at all airports. Avoid the gypsy cabs near baggage-claim areas.
New York Airport Service (212/875-8200, www.nyairportservice.com) offers frequent bus service to and from La Guardia ($12 one-way, $21 round-trip) and Kennedy ($15 one-way, $27 round-trip). Stops are made near Grand Central Terminal (Park Ave. between 41st and 42nd Sts.), inside the Port Authority Bus Terminal (42nd St. and 8th Ave.), near Pennsylvania Station (33rd St. and 7th Ave.), and outside several hotels (call for details).
Olympia Trails of Coach USA (212/964-6233 or 877/894-9155, www.olympiabus.com) offers frequent bus service between Newark Airport and Manhattan ($12 one-way, $19 round-trip). Buses leave every 15–20 minutes, and make three stops in Manhattan: near Grand Central Station (41st St. and Park Ave.), outside Pennsylvania Station (34th St. and 8th Ave.), and inside the Port Authority (42nd St. and 8th Ave.).
SuperShuttle (212/209-7000, www.supershuttle.com) offers door-to-door pick-up van service from homes and hotels to any of the three area airports. Fares are $17–23.
Manhattan has two main railroad stations: Pennsylvania Station (33rd St. and 7th Ave.) and Grand Central Station (42nd St. and Park Ave.). All Amtrak trains (800/872-7245) arrive and depart from Pennsylvania Station. New Jersey Transit (973/762-5100) and Long Island Rail Road (718/217-5477) also offer passenger-train service out of Pennsylvania Station.
Metro-North (212/532-4900) runs commuter trains to suburban New York and Connecticut from Grand Central. Both stations are well serviced by buses, subways, and taxis.
The Port Authority (8th Ave. between 40th and 42nd Sts., 212/564-8484) is the world’s largest bus terminal, serving both commuter and long-distance travelers. Major bus lines departing from the terminal include Greyhound (800/231-2222, www.greyhound.com), Peter Pan (800/343-9999, www.peterpanbus.com), and New Jersey Transit (973/762-5100 or 800/772-2222, www.njtransit.com).
If you must drive into Manhattan, be prepared to pay a steep price for parking at a garage (often $12–15/hour) or to spend 20 minutes or more looking for street parking. In contrast, street parking in most sections of the boroughs is generally available. When parking on the street, never leave anything on the seats; cars are broken into frequently.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition