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Greater New York City has three major international airports: John F. Kennedy (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA), and Newark (EWR). While each airport offers ample public transportation and taxi services to reach Manhattan, the cost, duration, and convenience of each option tends to vary. Sifting through this can be daunting, so before worming your way to the Big Apple, use the following guide to aid your decision!
Reaching Manhattan via public transportation requires taking the JFK AirTrain—an airport-operated rail shuttle—to Jamaica Station, where travelers can then transfer to a Manhattan-bound subway line. The entire trip typically takes 60-90 minutes.
While most New York City taxis use a running meter, regulations assess a flat fare to taxis traveling from JFK to any Manhattan location. Catch a cab during off-peak hours, however, and covering the 14 miles from JFK to Midtown in 25-30 minutes is a breeze.
Located just nine miles northeast of Midtown, LaGuardia boasts efficient public transportation: simply board the Q70 bus at your terminal, transfer to the subway at Jackson Heights Station, and find yourself in Manhattan within 40-50minutes.
LaGuardia’s proximity likewise benefits taxi riders, who can expect to reach Manhattan within 20-30 minutes during off-peak hours.
Getting to New York from Newark is refreshingly straightforward: the Newark Airport Express train reaches Manhattan’s Port Authority in under 40 minutes. This convenience comes at some cost, though.
Despite the elevated public transportation cost, the Airport Express is consistently preferable to a Newark taxi and still demands at least 40-60 minutes to reach New York. With the New Jersey-New York tunnels often representing the city’s most notorious traffic conditions, taxi rides over 75 minutes are a common occurrence.
New York’s taxi, subway, and bus systems are the best way to see the city that never sleeps, but trying to understand when one method is preferable to another can cause sleepless nights itself! Try these New Yorker-approved tips to make touring New York as cost-effective and painless as possible.
When traveling longer north-south distances with limited east-west movement, taking the subway will always be your best option. With few exceptions, New York’s subway system is designed to expedite north-south travel at various intervals across Manhattan.
However, when you’re going long distances crosstown without moving north-south much, MTA buses are both your fastest and cheapest options. Complementing the subway system perfectly, crosstown buses track the entire island width at major east-west thoroughfares throughout Manhattan.
Taxis are most cost-effective when routes demand equal parts north-south and east-west movement. With very few exceptions, the only way to track this route with public transportation is taking both the subway and a bus, which is a time-draining exercise. Taking taxis in situations like these can help maximize your time touring New York without breaking the bank!
Central Park is a ubiquitous presence on New York sightseeing lists (and deservedly so), but many overlook just how vast New York’s nature preserve really is—it represents over 5% of Manhattan’s total area! Rather than get lost searching for the hot spots, head straight to Bethesda Terrace, which bridges the Central Park Mall and Lake. Overlooking the fountain lies the famed Bethesda Terrace Arcade—its Minton tile ceiling and gilded archways evoke an ornate European cathedral rather than an American park.
The High Line is already among New York’s proudest and most treasured urban projects. The High Line is a three-mile elevated railroad track that has been repurposed as an urban greenhouse. As if a stroll through incredible geological exhibits wasn’t enough, the High Line conveniently bridges Chelsea and the West Village, two incredible New York neighborhoods known for their arts, restaurants, and individuality.
Named for the iconic Flatiron Building—which stands sentinel over Broadway and 23rd Street—the Flatiron District is home to timeless New York symbols like the MetLife Clock Tower, New York’s first Shake Shack, and Eleven Madison Park—heralded as one of the world’s best restaurants. Despite this heritage, Flatiron has also become an incubator for some of Manhattan’s hottest shopping, hotels, and nightlife, so you can explore the best of both worlds!
Of late, nothing has swept New Yorkers off their feet quite like the exploding popularity of Brooklyn. Whether it’s the gorgeous cityscape views from across the Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Williamsburg Bridges, the leafy brownstone streets and chic bistros of Brooklyn Heights, or the boutiques and cafes of Williamsburg, there’s something for everyone in New York City’s largest borough.
Is anyone surprised that New York took the country’s tallest skyline and created the world’s most amazing rooftop environments? Venues such as 230 5th (Flatiron), The Press Lounge (Hell’s Kitchen), Mr. Purple (Lower East Side), and Le Bain (Meatpacking) create legendary weekend memories. Fantastic views aren’t limited to New York’s nightclubs, either; Rockefeller Center’s Top of the Rock and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rooftop garden also provide breath-taking opportunities to take in New York’s beauty.
With 72 Michelin-starred restaurants—the most of any American city—New York is a fine dining paradise. While three-star French houses Le Bernandin and Per Se are consistently among New Yorkers’ favorite first-class feasts, the city’s melting pot culture is reflected by other acclaimed restaurants, including Musket Room (New Zealand), Shuka (Middle Eastern), and Jungsik (Korean).
New Yorkers aren’t too shabby at good old comfort food, either, as evidenced by the long-standing popularity of Famous Nathan’s Hot Dogs (Coney Island, Brooklyn), Roberta’s Pizza (Bushwick, Brooklyn), and Katz’s Delicatessen (Lower East Side).
Need insider tips on must-see attractions in New York City? Check out our New York City travel guide!