JFK to Manhattan – Fastest and Cheapest Way
By Anisa Arsenault
There are many ways to get from JFK Airport to Manhattan, and don’t assume a cab is the fastest way to the City. It is definitely the most expensive, but depending on your arrival time, a cab is not always the quickest way.
For tourists traveling to New York, there are many options to get from the airport into the City – subway, cab, Long Island Railroad or a shuttle bus. Here is a break down of the options into the City, along with estimated cost and time.
Cheapest Route to JFK via Subway
Air Train to Subway – This route is not as scary or as complicated as you might suspect. The Air Train maps are very easy to understand – tourist friendly. But here is some insider knowledge to help you get into the city faster.
If you are going into Lower Manhattan or Brooklyn, you will want to take the Howard Beach subway train. If you are headed into the East Side of Manhattan, it will be faster to take the Jamaica subway stop. Depending on your exact location, you are looking at roughly a one hour commute from JFK to Manhattan. Keep in mind, trains aren’t as frequent during the late hours. Total cost: $7.50, which includes your Air Train Ride and subway ride.
Cheaper Route to JFK via LIRR
Long Island Railroad to Manhattan – You will take the Air Train, which stops at every terminal, to Jamaica Station. Here, you will follow the signs to Long Island Rail Road. Trains come roughly every 15 minutes, so you are looking at a total of 40-minutes from the Jamaica station into Manhattan. Total cost: $15.50
Shuttle Bus – There are many shuttle bus options at JFK. If you arrive during high traffic times (4pm to 8pm), you should consider taking the train into Manhattan. It will be much faster. If you arriving in the middle of the night and are short on cash, you should consider taking a shuttle bus. It will take about 90-minutes to get from JFK to Manhattan. Another downside is the shuttle bus makes stops at every terminal, so it could take you an hour just to get out of the airport, when you factor in all of the terminal stops. Also, keep in mind, the shuttle bus will drop you off at several locations in Manhattan, so you should know where you are going (Midtown, Penn Station, East Side) so you can figure out which is the right bus. If you have any questions, ask the bus driver.
Most Expensive Route to JFK via Cab
A cab ride from JFK to Manhattan will cost you around $65 with tip, toll and actual fare. If you are arriving during peak traffic hours, it could take you as long as two hours to make it into Manhattan. So why take a cab? You don’t have to worry about transferring trains or waiting for the shuttle bus. If you are exhausted from a long flight, you can also relax in the back seat and enjoy the beautiful NYC skyline as you enter it.
The Air Train will take you to the different terminals for free. There is no cost between terminals. The Howard Beach Subway route ultimately connects you to Queens and the A train, and is your best bet for heading towards Lower Manhattan. The Jamaica Station route ends at the Jamaica LIRR station, but also connects to the JFK Airport subway station (E, J, and Z trains). This is the best option for travelers en route to the East Side, Upper and Midtown Manhattan, and Long Island. A MetroCard is required to ride the AirTrain outside of the All Terminals loop.
Traveling around the airport
Taking the AirTrain within the confines of JFK on the All Terminals loop is free and constant: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The train makes frequent stops at each terminal, parking lot, rental car facility, and hotel shuttle area.
To Upper Manhattan (W. 125 St)- 75 Minutes – Jamaica Station Route to E Train subway, transfer to desired uptown line once in Manhattan. – $7.50
To Midtown Manhattan (W. 34 St./Penn Station)- 50 Minutes- Jamaica Station Route to E Train subway- $7.50
To Lower Manhattan (below W. 14 St.)- 60 Minutes- Howard Beach Route to A Train subway- $7.50
To Central Queens or Northern Brooklyn- 50 Minutes- Jamaica Station Route to J or Z Train subway- $7.50
To Southern Queens and Brooklyn- Howard Beach Route to A Train subway- $7.50