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Travel to NYC, Part 3: Arriving in New York

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

The NYC Traveler in NYC: An Introduction to the City of New York (practically speaking!) Part 3: Arrival to NYC

Arrival sign, La Guardia Airport, New York, travel blog
LGA: La Guardia Airport, Queens, New York

Remember: The City of New York consists of 5 boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. Public transportation, also called mass transit, are our subways (known as the metro in other countries, the train), buses and ferries. Scroll down for the links to transportation websites.

1. If you arrive in NYC by your own vehicle, it is best to try to park it for the time you're here unless you take day trips (such as to Long Island or upstate). If you stay in Manhattan and go to the outer boroughs, you can drive but once you get to your destination, for the most part, it will be difficult to park at the most popular sites. However, although it may cost money to park in a garage, you will save time, gas and aggravation instead of trying to park on the street, which is almost impossible in midtown Manhattan, downtown Brooklyn, many parts of Queens (despite its reputation of it possibly being the most suburban borough), the Bronx and Staten Island.

Apple Sculpture in JFK Airport, New York
Sculpture in JFK Airport

2. If you arrive to NYC in a rental, return it as soon as you drop off your bags at your lodging and see below how to get back if you drop it at an airport.

3. A few exceptions that you can drive to would be Queens Flushing-Meadows Corona Park complex (with the USTA Tennis Center, Hall of Science, Queens Museum, and the Queens Zoo) the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo and Old Richmond Town in Staten Island. However, with the exception of the Bronx, going to the outer boroughs can cost you money in tolls, gas and more importantly, time.

4. If you arrive by airplane at JFK or LGA, you have several options: take pre-arranged transportation (most expensive but private), cab (second most expensive but also private), car service, friend or family, but make sure you stay in constant touch because your friend cannot stay there more than 2 minutes if you are not out yet. Other options involve public transportation.

Artwork, Jamaica Station, Queens, New York
Artwork, Jamaica LIRR Station, Queens, NY

5. From JFK: take a local bus if you're staying in Jamaica, Queens. Several buses run in, through and out of JFK (remember, locals work there and need to get to work). To get to the other boroughs, take the air train, which requires a fare to get to Jamaica's train station at Sutphin Boulevard. From there, you will see clear info about your choices: the regional train Long Island Railroad (LIRR) to Penn Station in Manhattan or Atlantic Avenue Terminal in Brooklyn. Or, you can take the subway (E train from Sutphin Boulevard), bus (a long ride to Manhattan, not advised), cab or car service to your destination.

6. From LGA (LaGuardia Airport), you can also take public transportation. There is currently a free bus service, check with the tourist desk when you arrive. There is a select bus, the LaGuardia Link. You must purchase the fare at a curbside machine, not pay onboard. The receipt will be your ticket to board. Regular buses will get you from LGA, also: the M60 takes you to upper Manhattan and the Q70 will take you to the subway. From there, you can take the subway, bus, cab or car service to your destination.

Model of LGA, La Guardia Airport, Queens, New York
Architectural model, La Guardia Airport, New York

7. From EWR (Newark): the air train will get you to Penn Station via Amtrak or NJ Transit. From there, you can take the subway, bus, cab or car service to your destination.

8. If you arrive by train, meaning Amtrak, you will arrive at Penn Station, West 32 Street-West 34th Streets between 7th and 8th Avenues, Manhattan. From there, you can take the subway, bus, cab or car service to your destination.

9. If you arrive by a major bus carrier, you will arrive at Port Authority Bus Terminal, West 40-West 42 Streets and 8th Avenue. From there, you can take the subway, bus, cab or car service to your destination.

Ralph Kramden Statue, Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York
Ralph Kramden Statue, Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York

10. If you are going to Staten Island: the ferry leaves from lower Manhattan, near The Battery. The select bus goes through Brooklyn. Once on the island, there is train and bus service. If you are coming in to the city and you are headed to Staten Island, it's best to take a cab or car service or at least take it to lower Manhattan and to take the ferry.

BONUS TIP: You just might arrive by cruise ship if it sails from one location and docks here. You will arrive at one of three area ports: Manhattan Cruise Terminal, 12th Avenue near West 54 Street; Cape Liberty, which is technically Bayonne, New Jersey but so close to Staten Island you could walk there; Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, Red Hook, Brooklyn. All of them are extremely inconvenient to travel from with luggage using public transportation directly. The best route is to use either the cruise line sponsored transport service or take a cab to the public transportation and go from there.

Norwegian Getaway cruise ship at Manhattan Cruise Terminal
Norwegian Getaway at Manhattan Cruise Terminal

MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) (mobile app available)

Amtrak: subways, buses, LIRR, Path (mobile app available)

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK, mobile app available)

LaGuardia Airport (LGA, mobile app available)

Newark Liberty Airport (EWR, mobile app available) New York Stewart International Airport (SWF)

Happy Travels!

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Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

All photos and videos created and copyrighted by Marcia Crayton, unless otherwise noted.


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