Grand Central to JFK?
April 25, 2010 2:33 PM   Subscribe

How can we get from Grand Central to JFK?

My friend and I are going to be flying out of JFK this June. We're getting to New York via Metro-North (the New Haven line) out of CT (much cheaper than us driving there and leaving the car at the airport - plus, we are terrible drivers and this seems safest, as well).

What are our options for easily and/or cheaply getting from Grand Central Station to JFK? You're looking at a humble CT suburbanite and a Boston transplant so we're a little clueless with NYC transit options.
posted by dayspteh to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The absolute most painless way to get from JFK to Grand Central is just to take a cab. There's a standard JFK flat rate from anywhere in Manhattan that I believe was $45.00 the last time the last time I was in town back in January.

Split it with your buddy and save yourselves a big hassle.
posted by CRM114 at 2:37 PM on April 25, 2010

This is not snark, just a demonstration of the various options:

I've taken the Airport Shuttle Bus in the past.
posted by availablelight at 2:38 PM on April 25, 2010

Best answer: I took New York Airport Service when I visited a couple years ago and was satisfied. $15.00. You have to work with their fixed schedule but it was no hassle for me.
posted by JJtheJetPlane at 2:38 PM on April 25, 2010

Agreed that you should just take a cab.
posted by dfriedman at 2:38 PM on April 25, 2010

Seconding the New York Airport Service bus, which used to be called the Carey Bus. Super reliable and you won't find anything cheaper, imo.
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy at 2:40 PM on April 25, 2010

I have used New York Airport Service from Grand Central to LGA many times. It has always been a good experience for the price. I imagine their service to JFK would be just as good.

It is $15 one way to JFK. The bus loads at Pershing Square across from Grand Central (right by the Park Ave bridge that crosses 42nd Street).
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 2:46 PM on April 25, 2010

You can also take the AirTrain if you want to go transit. Make your way to Penn Station and then you can take the LIRR and the AirTrain all the way to JFK. That's a good compromise between comfort and cash, in my opinion, although a split cab ride would be pretty good too.
posted by speedgraphic at 2:54 PM on April 25, 2010

I'll also add that you could take the Amtrak from New Haven to Penn Station instead of Metro-North to Grand Central; then you'd be where you need to be to take the AirTrain to JFK. Just another option.
posted by pemberkins at 4:03 PM on April 25, 2010

Best answer: New York Airport Service, which others have mentioned, is literally right outside Grand Central Station - the bus leaves from Park Ave. betw. 41st & 42nd. As others have said, it is cheap and convenient. A cab will be slightly quicker because you won't have to wait for people to unload at each terminal. However, the bus will cost about half as much as a cab split two ways. I definitely recommend NYAS, esp. since you might have a hard time finding a cab.

The only other reasonable alternative is, as others have noted above, the AirTrain. However, I only recommend this if your only luggage is a small roll-aboard (the kind that fits into an overhead bin) and a backpack/handbag. Anything else will be cumbersome, hard to get through subway turnstiles, and potentially exhausting.

I did this about a week ago. You take the E train (which generally runs express) to the penultimate stop (Sutphin Boulevard/Archer Avenue/JFK Airport) and switch to the AirTrain. The E takes a bit more than half-an-hour, transferring to the AirTrain will take a few minutes, and the AirTrain itself will take about 10-15 mins (depending upon which terminal you are leaving from). Door-to-door it took me about an hour. It will take you longer because you have to get to the E train first.

Getting to the E train from GCT is simple - you just take the 6 one stop uptown to 51st Street and transfer there to the E - but switching lines from the 6 to the E is a bit of a pain just because you have a long walk with several staircases/escalators between the two. (Note that on the E line, the 6 train's 51st Street stop is called Lexington Ave. - 53rd Street.)

As noted, you can take the LIRR to the AirTrain instead, but that costs more than the subway will. Also, getting from Grand Central to Penn Station is annoying. As Pemberkins noted, you can take Amtrak instead of Metro North from New Haven so that you wind up at Penn Station instead of Grand Central, but that will be more expensive, and also Amtrak has far fewer trips from New Haven than Metro North does.

So unless you are looking for something of an adventure, take the bus (or a cab).
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 4:25 PM on April 25, 2010

Nthing New York Airport Service. I use that when I come to NYC and it's very easy and convenient.
posted by SisterHavana at 6:12 PM on April 25, 2010

Sometimes there's a long line waiting for cabs in front of Grand Central, depending on when you're there. Of course you might have to wait for the bus, too.
posted by DMelanogaster at 2:06 PM on April 26, 2010

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