How can I get to New Brunswick, NJ from JFK in 7 hours, reverse in 5?
February 17, 2014 3:00 PM   Subscribe

Juggling options: how do I get to New Brunswick, NJ for a conference that runs from 1 PM on Sunday, April 27 through 2 PM on Friday, May 2nd? Based on flight availabilities and transit timing, is JFK or EWR a better option? Details on flight times inside.

I can either fly into JFK and take ... something ... to get to New Brunswick and then do the reverse, or fly into Newark Liberty Int'l (EWR) where I can get a ride from the conference, but not to there from the airport on Sunday.

I'm leaning on flying in and out of JFK because I can take a red-eye and get to JFK by 6 AM, giving me 7 hours to get to New Brunswick. On the way out, I'm looking at a 7:55 PM flight out of JFK, but I might be squeezing it, as that gives me about 5 hours to get to the airport. Is that doable, and if so, what are my options? I came across this Yahoo Answers question to the same general question of routes, but my timing is pretty specific. Are those routes still running?

Otherwise, can I get anything from EWR to New Brunswick besides a taxi? That looks like the only option according to Newark Airport's website. And even if I could easily/inexpensively travel from EWR to New Brunswick, how best for me to fill a day, as I'd get in to EWR near 2 PM on Saturday, a day early. There are no red-eye flights to EWR, so I'm either late to the conference by a few hours, or a day early.

Last bit - I'm flying from out of the area, so I really have no idea what the options are. I'm happy to figure things out, but I figure the hivemind would have applicable personal experiences at these travel times, instead of just checking time tables. Cheers!
posted by filthy light thief to Travel & Transportation around New Brunswick, NJ (18 answers total)
Best answer: Njtransit trains run from ewr to new Brunswick's downtown. There's some kind of air train at ewr you use to get to the NJT station with a sep ticket. From new Brunswick back to the airport you need that extra ticket before you get on NJT I believe. I haven't taken it myself.

I dont know about taxis in new Brunswick.

I would fly into EWR as its much closer to new Brunswick.
posted by TheAdamist at 3:05 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For the trip between JFK and New Brunswick, you could do the route Yahoo Answers suggests. New Jersey Transit from Penn Station to New Brunswick is about an hour on the Northeast Corridor line and it runs roughly every half an hour on Sundays, according to the current schedule.

Personally I would re-evaluate that particular trip back, though. You'd be hitting rush hour hell in Penn Station. The Northeast corridor does go to Newark Airport via Airtrain, so do give that another look.
posted by thirdletter at 3:12 PM on February 17, 2014

Best answer: The train goes from EWR to a few minute walk from Rutgers. It's about a 35 minute trip and runs at least every hour. You can also take public transit from JFK to Penn Station and just take NJ transit to New Brunswick.

Neither are difficult, though I admit that carting my way through multiple trains after a red-eye or after a long conference sounds unpleasant, so if you don't mind the extra day, it sounds nicer to go via EWR.
posted by jeather at 3:13 PM on February 17, 2014

Best answer: It couldn't get easier than a trip from EWR to New Brunswick. Both are very popular stations on njtransit's Northeast Corridor. You take the airtrain from the various terminals over to the njtransit station (maybe 10-15 minutes and then hop on the next train to new brunswick. Once you're on the train it should be 30 minutes and about $14. There are usually taxis at the new brunswick station, but google a few names before.

Here's an example schedule from next Sunday. 100% EWR, don't even think about JFK (though its doable of course - but will double/trip your trip time).

Check out the various station to station schedules here
posted by jourman2 at 3:14 PM on February 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

I would opt for EWR in this case. Simple and painfree.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:30 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't know what's up with that airport web page, getting from New Brunswick to EWR by NJ Transit commuter train is totally easy and straightforward. The New Brunswick train station is smack in the middle of downtown. If your conference is downtown as well, you'll be able to walk to the train station no problem. When you buy your ticket from the kiosk at the station it'll even include the AirTrain fare.

There's a small on-campus art museum, two theaters, and some decent restaurants in New Brunswick, but the entertainment value of those will obviously vary depending on your interest in the plays/music. You'd need a car to get to most of the surrounding towns in NJ, and there's not much to do when you get there anyway. If you don't have too much baggage and your flight's on time, another entertainment option would be doing something in New York City. Take NJTransit from EWR to Penn Station (about 25 minutes), go to your show/museum/other entertainment of choice, then get the NJTransit train back to New Brunswick (just under an hour). That would probably be my move, but I grew up in central NJ and have done most of what there is to do in New Brunswick over and over, so YMMV.
posted by ActionPopulated at 3:34 PM on February 17, 2014

By the way, if you really really want to fly into JFK for some reason, here's what you do:

Take the Airtrain (the airport monorail) to Jamaica station to the Long Island Railroad where you'll buy a ticket and catch a train to Penn station (Airtrain is also like $5 - you buy the fare from a metrocard machine and swipe it right before you exit the station into the LIRR portion of the station for some reason - rather than before you get on). This should be about 30 minutes or so. It's slightly more expensive than the subway, but much faster and nicer.

At Penn Station, buy a New Jersey Transit ticket to New Brunswick and sit on NJ Transit for an hour or so. I'd estimate it'd be 2 or 2.5 hours from JFK to New Brunswick versus under an hour from EWR if you time things correctly.
posted by jourman2 at 3:36 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Newark is way closer and you do not have to go through NYC. Avoid JFK if you can.
posted by mermayd at 4:17 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

New Brunswick to Newark is about 30 minutes by car and 1 hour by train (NJ Transit).

New Brunswick to JFK is about 90 minutes by car and 3 hours by train (NJ Transit and A or E train).

I would do Newark in a heartbeat. NJ Transit makes life very easy for you. When checking the train schedules, remember that Newark International Airport and Newark Penn Station are two separate stops and not all trains stop at the airport.
posted by leopard at 4:40 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: EWR is so much better in this case. I used to live in downtown New Brunswick, and I could walk to the station, take my train to Newark airport, and be inside security in just over an hour. New Jersey Transit is great for this route (full schedule).

Here's an example from this Saturday:
Board : Train 7849 toward TRENTON TRANSIT CENTER
Arrive : NEW BRUNSWICK at 3:11 PM

There are taxis standing at the New Brunswick train station at all hours (in my experience).
posted by zachxman at 5:26 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Don't even consider JFK. People suggesting JFK don't know what they are talking about.

JFK is a chaotic, crappy airport. The transport from that airport to any train station that can take you to New Brunswick will be painful. Flying into JFK will be a nightmare. Trust me. It could be a 4 hour trip - one way - from JFK to New Brunswick if you include time spent waiting to transfer to different trains and buses.

EWR is by far your easiest choice. Maybe an hour trip.

The next easiest choice is PHL. Take a train from PHL to downtown Philly, transfer to a New Brunswick train from there. This will be less than 2 hours.
posted by Flood at 5:32 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

EWR. If arriving a day early is not a problem, then taking the flight to EWR is the way to go. The only way I would recommend anything else is if the timing was bad and you had to get in the day of.

EWR has a very friendly monorail system that takes you to the NJ Transit train station. Monorail runs every few minutes, NJT trains likely run every hour (on a weekend). It's really easy to navigate.

If you can't find anything to do in NB, NYC is not a bad train ride from NB. You can easily head up there for Saturday evening.
posted by tommccabe at 6:22 PM on February 17, 2014

Best answer: I am going to nth choosing EWR over JFK (and do skip Philadelphia as well) and using the New Jersey Transit train system. If you come via EWR, you really won't have all that much time on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning that you will need to fill, and if you are so inclined, the Rutgers Art Museum (the Zimmerli) is worth a couple of hours, and also has a cafe. (Rutgers has a decent campus radio station also).

You can get to NYC in about an hour from New Brunswick if you are so inclined, and keep in mind also that Princeton is an option for a few hours, and it is a quick New Jersey Transit train ride (about 15 minutes) from New Brunswick to Princeton Junction station, where you then transfer to a single-car train also operated by NJ Transit (this is nicknamed the Dinky), for a five-minute ride to Princeton Station.
posted by gudrun at 8:16 PM on February 17, 2014

Best answer: The train from EWR to New Brunswick is very easy -- I used to live in New Brunswick and did it all the time. I'm assuming your conference is at Rutgers -- depending on which campus, you can walk, take a Rutgers bus, or a taxi -- there is a taxi stand in the train station.

New Brunswick isn't a bad town -- depending on what you like to do, you can hang out on campus -- the Zimmerli as gudrun mentioned can pass time. There's also a big park if the weather is nice, some cafes, and bars. It is much more of a college town than it was when I graduated from Rutgers. The trip to Princeton isn't bad either.

For a day early, the train into NYC is easily done. Saturday, April 26 is also Ag Field Day at Rutgers which has a big festival and a lot of alum come into town. Might be fun to check out.

With all the incoming people, there will be a lot going on in the area.
posted by hrj at 9:35 PM on February 17, 2014

Dude. This is a no-brainer. It's not going to take you 5 hours to get from New Brunswick to EWR, crikey!!! Try closer to 40 minutes.

You get on the train in downtown New Brunswick. Sit on the train for 35 minutes or, if it's an express train, sit on the train for 20. Get off at the Newark Airport stop and switch to the light rail there which takes another like 3 minutes, to the airport itself. Do not fly into JFK!!!!!! That would be the biggest hastle ever.

I know plenty of people who commute the NE Corridor every single day, between stops that are further apart than NB and EWR. It's super reliable and very easy.
posted by cairdeas at 11:26 PM on February 17, 2014

I cannot imagine flying into JFK for this. You could also fly to Heathrow and row the rest of the way. (I am only slightly hyperbolizing.)

I would also pick EWR over JFK for going to Manhattan, every single time, given the choice, simply because it's way easier and faster. Going to JFK is the biggest pain in the ass ever, the only way it makes sense to me is if your destination is on Long Island or like eastern neighborhoods of Brooklyn/Queens and someone is picking you up with a car or you're saving some major money by doing it.
posted by cairdeas at 11:32 PM on February 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Go with EWR. Getting from JFK to NJ is expensive and a hassle.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:26 AM on February 18, 2014

Response by poster: I made it! Flying in to EWR was indeed the best idea, and New Jersey Transit is a great service, especially for my final destination in New Brunswick. Thanks, everyone!
posted by filthy light thief at 6:53 PM on April 26, 2014

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