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How to Get to New York

How to Get to New York by Air

New York is extremely well connected by air to almost the whole world. There are frequent flights to the city from all parts of the planet. New York is served by three major airports.

The John F Kennedy Airport is located in Queens, 24 km southeast of Manhattan and has 8 terminals.

John F Kennedy Airport Facilities

The airport is among the most well known airports of the world and is the gateway to USA. All terminals have fax, courier, computer and photocopying facilities except on Terminal 6, which are for members only. Data ports can be found can be found all over the terminal as well as internet services.

Bureau de change and ATMs can be found on all terminals except on Terminal 6 where there is no money exchange counter and only has ATM service. There is a pots office at building 250 and a mobile rental at the arrivals on Terminal 3. Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere.

There are bars and restaurants all over the airport and shops can be found at terminals 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8. A left luggage counter is located in terminal 1 and 4.

The airport is well equipped for the disabled with special, bathrooms, wheelchairs and reduced rate car park right outside the arrivals. There are also chapels, medical centres, shoe shining and baby changing facilities on the airport. There are car parks in the Central Terminal Area, outside every terminal with both daily and long term parking.

The Air Train JFK is a free light rail system service operating between the different terminals and also provides links to the Grand Central Train Station, Penn Station, Port Authority Bus Terminal and to the NYC subway at the Howard Beach Station.

There are buses and shuttle service which provide service to the nearest NYC subway station.

The buses which connect to the subway are the cheapest mode of transport. The Supershuttle shuttle blue vans provide service to hotels in Manhattan while the Goairlink serves the Bus Terminal, Grand Central, Penn Station and midtown hotels.

Taxis are easily available outside the airport however if there are simultaneous flights, you might have to wait a long time to get one. You are advised to only use the taxis from the taxi dispatch booth at the airport however you may bargain with one of them standing outside the airport. This will save you from the long line at the booth. An approximate taxi fare from the airport to Manhattan would be in the range of USD 40 - 45

You can also hire a car from one of the many rental desks at the airport, though if you are planning to just go into the City, remember that parking is a huge problem besides being very heavy on the pocket.

The Newark Liberty International Airport is the second major airport which serves the city. It is located in the neighbouring state of New Jersey and is 26 km southwest of New York City. It has 3 terminals.

Newark Liberty International Airport Facilities

Courier, photocopy, fax, computer and internet are available on all terminals of the airport. Conference facilities are only available through the airlines and club lounges but you can find business facilities on the airport. There are 19 business rooms with computers, printers and secretarial services.

ATMs and bureau de change are available in all terminals and a bank is there in Terminal C. Bars and restaurants are located in all terminals along with duty free and regular shops. There has been no left luggage facility after the 9/11 attacks.

There are three short term car parks in front of all the terminals and daily car parks are at P1, P3, and P4. Valet parking is also available.

The Goairlink Shuttle links all the terminals and the car park. The Air Train Newark connects to the Newark Airport Train Station where you can take the direct train to the New York Penn Station.

Olympia Trails runs buses every 15 minutes to Manhattan and takes around 40 minutes to complete the journey.

Taxis are available outside the terminal and an approximate cab fare into the City would be USD 40-45 with a surcharge of USD 15. You can also a rent a car from one of the car rentals at the airport. Again, remember that within the city parking is not easily available and if so the charges are very high.

The LaGuardia is New York’s third main airport. It is older than the other two and is mainly used by domestic flights and also provides shuttle service to Boston and Washington. It has 4 terminals and is 13 km east of the city.

LaGuardia Airport Facilities

Business and conference facilities are located in the Central Terminal and fax and wireless internet service is also available.

ATMs and bureau de change are available in all the terminals. There are many bars, restaurants and fast food joints as well as duty free shops in the terminals.

The airport is well equipped for the disabled and also has medical and dental service. The left luggage facility has been suspended post 9/11.

Long term parking is available in car park 3 while for short term and daily parking go to car parks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Taxis are easily available at the airport and again the average taxi fare into Manhattan would be approximately USD 40. You can also hire a car from here. There are many buses from here which go to almost all areas of New York.

How to Get to New York by Rail

The Amtrak operated form the Penn Station and links to all the major cities of the country. The Club Acela, near the big security desk, offers complimentary drinks, newspapers, magazines and internet service.

There are three commuter trains in the city; the Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road and New Jersey Transit.

There is a special metro card for AirTrain for $40 which allows unlimited travel for 30 days and a $25 pass which is a 10 trip pass. They are only valid on the AirTrain.

How to Get to New York by Bus

If you are driving in, New York is accessible on the I-95 route across the George Washington Bridge, the I-87 Dewey Thruway and the I-495 via the Midtown tunnel. Several bus companies ply to and from New York City. The Greyhound, Peter Pan and Bolt Buses are a few convenient ones.

Getting Around New York

New York is divided in to five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. It is best to explore most of New York on foot, supplemented where necessary by public transport, which is efficient and cost-effective.

You can get a metro card to use for the bus and subway. While you can pay for the bus ticket in cash, you need a card to enter the subway system. You can purchase it from a subway station ro from one of the shops which have the metro sign. There are many types of metro card. You can chose from the single ride metro card to pay per ride to 14 day unlimited ride metro card. You can choose the card depending on how often you plan to use the subway or the bus.

The Subway System is the best way to see travel around the city. Every line has been given a letter or a number and don’t rely on colours as that is a sure fire way to get lost. Also subway maps can be found online or at token booths. The officials are also extremely helpful and you can always ask them if you get confused. Almost all lines go to Manhattan.

Do keep in mind that although most of the lines provide service 24X7, some lines do close on weekends and at late night. It is thus better to research first before you get on.

Commuter Trains run to areas that are not as well served by the subway. There are three commuter trains: Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road and New Jersey Transit.

Alert! The metro card doesn’t work for the commuter rail and may result in a heavy fine.

After the subway, the bus provides the best transport. The bus route is identified by a letter and then the number. The letter denotes the borough and the number the route in that borough. Bus maps for each borough can be bought online. Buses are more useful than the subway during the peak times and are the best means of travel if you want to go to across Central Park.

Buses go to other boroughs from Manhattan like to Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island. They cost a little more but are comfortable and less crowded.

In Select bus service routes you pay before getting on the bus. There are machines on the sidewalks where you deposit the money and it will give you a receipt which you show to the conductor. If you don’t have a valid receipt, you will be fined $100.

There are specialized variants of the metro card for the bus like the Seven Day Express Bus Pass which allows unlimited use of express buses mostly to Staten Island.

Taxis are easily available in Manhattan and at the airports but can be difficult to find in the other four boroughs. Taxis are yellow in colour and usually can be hailed from the street. A taxi can only be hired if the medallion number on the roof is lit. However even if the number is not lit, just wave at the taxi and of you are going the same way as the driver, he will ask you to get in.

Be careful of ‘gypsy’ or ghost taxis. They are unlicensed and can be found at the airport. Although they may offer you a cheaper rate, your chances of actually getting that rate and reaching safely to your destination are slim.

Livery or Black Cars can be called by phone and are not metered but have a flat rate. They can be hailed from the streets in some areas. Although this is illegal, it’s a common practice in upper Manhattan and outer boroughs where taxis are not easily available.

A van and shuttle service is also there in some parts of the city like between Chinatown and Queens. You will have to ask how much it costs and where it’s going to go. Many of these are called Dollar Vans but actually cost a little more and follow the major bus routes. However one has to exercise precaution while taking this service.

Alert! You have to pay the toll for your taxis but be careful that the driver doesn’t overcharge you.

Although you can easily rent a car in New York, driving on your own is not a good option -- traffic in New York can be maddening and parking is very expensive.

Exploring the city on cycle, as long as you stay in a borough, is quicker than taking the subway or taxi. But be careful of the infamous New York traffic.

Walking is best for shorter distances. There are pavements all over the city made for pedestrians. You can walk even for long distances. It is a fun way to see the city.

Jaywalking, that is crossing the street even when the pedestrian light is red, is done pretty regularly by the locals. It is however not recommended for a tourist as it is extremely dangerous.

Water taxi’s called the ‘New York Water Taxi’, with one way tickets of $ 3.5 – 6 operate through April – October. Some stops are Christopher St, World Financial Center, East 34th St. Manhattan, plus Brooklyn stops.

Ferries also operate between the islands. The most famous is the Staten Island Ferry which gives an awesome view of the Statue of Liberty and the New York Harbour. It is popular with the tourists.

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