Transportation Options From JFK Airport To Manhattan
John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) is located in the New York City borough of Queens, in a neighborhood called Jamaica. This post discusses options for traveling from JFK to Manhattan.
Heading in the opposite direction? See How To Get From Manhattan To JFK.
Option 1: Airport Shuttle From JFK Airport To Midtown Manhattan
GO Airlink NYC or NYC Airporter
OK, so you’ve arrived at Kennedy. You’re jet-lagged, in a rush and, frankly, just want to get to your final destination. Is it really the best time to learn New York City’s transportation system? Probably not.
Claim your baggage, walk through the terminal doors and hop on the next shuttle. Done. Next stop…Manhattan!
With Go Airlink NYC, you will enjoy:
- The lowest rates if you book online (10% discount).
- 24/7 service. Shuttles every ½ hour.
- Waiting inside your terminal during bad weather.
- Boarding your shuttle immediately outside your terminal’s doors.
- Convenient door-to-door service to Manhattan (between Battery Park and 129th St.).
- Your choice of shared shuttle van, private van, private car or Luxury SUV Service.
- Variety of vehicles that seat between 4 and 56 passengers.
- Shuttle service to LaGuardia Airport and Newark International Airport for connecting flights.
- Service to NYC suburbs and cruise ship terminals in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Bayonne, New Jersey.
Cost: Depends on service. Check their current JFK Airport Transportation rates.
Total Time: /- 40 minutes (depending on traffic)
With NYC Airporter, you will enjoy:
- Service every ½ hour, 7 days a week, from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
- Convenient drop-offs at Grand Central Terminal, Port Authority Terminal or Penn Station.
- Free transfer, once in Manhattan, to hotel shuttle (*hotel must be between 23rd St. and 63rd St. Valid for round-trip customers only).
- Free Wi-Fi and power outlets to recharge my electronics.
- Leather seats that recline.
- Seasonal discounts
- Shuttle service from JFK to LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.
- Transfers to all NYC area cruise terminals.
- Official operator for NYC’s Dept. of Transportation & the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
- Featured in the newspapers USA Today & Huffington Post.
Cost: See current rates for their JFK Airport Shuttle.
Option 2: Yellow Taxi From JFK Airport To Manhattan
New York City taxis pay tolls using an automated system called E-Z Pass. Toll rates are lower when using E-Z pass.
Confirm with your driver that you will be charged the E-Z pass rate. It is your right.
Did you notice this section’s title starts with “Yellow Taxi?” The city’s yellow taxis are authorized to wait for customers near airport terminals.
Some taxi drivers, who do not drive yellow taxis, bend the rules by parking their cars and soliciting customers by the baggage claim areas.
We recommend against riding with these drivers because:
- Their licenses may not be in order.
- They may be uninsured.
- You might be quoted one rate, only to have a higher rate demanded later.
- They may charge you more than allowed by law.
- They don’t use meters.
Approximate Cost: $65 (flat fee toll 15% customary tip)
Total Time: /- 45 minutes (traffic-dependent)
- For estimates, use our New York City Taxi Fare Calculator.
- Under “From,” enter “JFK.”
- Under “To,” enter your Manhattan destination’s address..
- Use this address if unsure of your Manhattan destination’s address: 350 5th Ave., New York, NY.
- That’s the Empire State Building’s address in midtown Manhattan.
Option 3: Taking The Subway From JFK Airport To Manhattan
NYC Subway Map:
- Refer to this NYC subway map while reviewing Option 3 and Option 4 below .
- Use the ( ) and (-) signs above the map to zoom in and out.
- Click on the map and drag it all the way to the right. Follow the A line (dark blue line) as you do this.
- You will eventually see JFK Airport in the lower right corner as well as the AirTrain’s routes.
- Note: the map image below cannot be clicked and dragged. You must open the map in the link above.
Taking NYC Subway From JFK To Manhattan
Step 1: Take the AirTrain To The A Train (dark blue subway line)
- Claim your luggage on the airport’s lower level.
- Follow signs to AirTrain platforms, located 2 levels above baggage claim level. Use elevators.
- There are 2 AirTrain lines. One line goes to Jamaica Station, the other to a subway station called Howard Beach/JFK Airport.
- We recommend going to the Howard Beach/JFK Airport subway station.
Why the Howard Beach station? It’s only 8 minutes from the airport and less congested than Jamaica Station.
If your mobile device does not display the image below correctly, you may also view it here.
Step 2: Take The A Train To Manhattan
- Arrive at Howard Beach/JFK Airport subway station.
- Pay for AirTrain and subway.
- Follow signs to the Manhattan-bound A Train.
- Note: You pay for the AirTrain upon arrival at the Howard Beach/JFK station. You do not pay for the AirTrain at JFK.
- There are two payment options:
- Pay cash to a uniformed ticket agent. They work during the day.
- Use a ticket machine. You can buy a combined ticket (AirTrain subway) from the ticket machines.
The A train goes up Manhattan’s West Side.
If you need to go to the East Side:
- Take the A train into Manhattan
- Get off at the “Fulton Street” stop.
- At Fulton Street, you can transfer to these subway lines: C, J, Z, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Total Time: /- 1 hour. But keep in mind:
- Subways are often delayed.
- Subways break down.
- Many subway lines reduce service on the weekends.
- When trains are delayed, other trains must make extra stops to compensate.
Cost: For current rates, see Section 8 on our New York City Public Transit Resources page.
Disadvantages: After your long flight next to a very large man who took up half your seat space, a woman who used your shoulder as a pillow and a crying baby who punctured your eardrum, you may end up on a cramped subway next to a very large man who takes up half your seat space, a woman who uses your shoulder as a pillow and a crying baby who punctures your eardrum.
Option 4: Taking The Long Island Railroad From JFK Airport To Manhattan
Long Island Railroad (LIRR) trains link New York City with Long Island. They are commuter trains, not subways. They are faster, more comfortable and experience less crime than NYC subways.
Step 1: Take The AirTrain To The Jamaica LIRR Station
- Claim luggage on airport’s ground level.
- Follow signs to AirTrain platforms, which are 2 levels above the baggage claim level. (Elevators recommended.)
- Board the AirTrain going to Jamaica Station (about a 15-minute ride). Do not board the AirTrain going to Howard Beach.
- You pay for the AirTrain after arriving at Jamaica Station. You do not pay at the airport.
Step 2: From Jamaica Station Take LIRR Train To Penn Station In Manhattan
- Arrive at Jamaica Station and pay AirTrain fare. Go through turnstile.
- You will see a short corridor on left and stairs/escalators on right.
- Go left, toward the short corridor. Follow signs to LIRR.
- Turn left at end of short corridor and enter LIRR station.
- On the monitors, find the next train with “Penn Station” as its destination.
- Buy your LIRR ticket at ticket machine, located to left of monitors.
Important LIRR Notes
- Buy a ticket from “Jamaica” to “Penn Station.”
- On weekdays, between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., you must buy a “Peak” ticket.
- You may buy an “off-peak” ticket at all other times.
- Weekends and holidays are off-peak all day.
- Buy a “Senior” ticket if you are 65 .
- There is no need to plan for a specific train. Trains leave for Manhattan every few minutes.
- Never buy your ticket on the train. More expensive and they only accept cash.
- If you have any issues, follow signs to the LIRR office downstairs. Speak with agent.
- See LIRR train schedules and fares here.
- Penn Station is located at 32nd Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan.
- At Penn Station, you will have access to the A, C and E subway lines.
- For schedule/fare info, send a text that reads “Jamaica to Penn” to this number: 266-266.
- This text system will only work in the NYC area. Read more about the Coo-Coo text system here.
- If you’re arriving at JFK Airport on a Saturday or Sunday, read how the Long Island Railroad’s CityTicket can save you money.
- You may also be interested in our Recommended New York City Maps.
Total Time: /- 1 hour
Cost: $12 off-peak ($5 AirTrain $7 LIRR off-peak. A few dollars more during peak hours.)
Advantages: Faster, cleaner, roomier, more comfortable and safer than the subway.
Disadvantages: Crowded elevators. Station and its platforms have covered roofs, but exposed to open air otherwise. Nice on a spring day, not-so-nice when it’s freezing or raining and you’re train’s delayed.