New York City subway
For a trip that’s easy on the wallet, climb aboard the New York City subway, a world-famous icon that’s much more than a pretty face. Running since 1863, the subway services 472 stations on 27 lines, more than any train system in the world. This method is best for those traveling to or from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), which is accessible from the A train, or Newark Liberty International Airport, the only airport in the area boasting a train connection. Note: At $2.75 per ride, the subway is the most affordable option, but it may not be convenient for those carrying large luggage.
Another New York City icon (and the most comfortable method of transport), taxicabs come in two varieties. Yellow cabs, or medallion taxis, have been around since the 1880s and can pick up passengers anywhere in New York’s five boroughs. Conversely, green cabs, also known as boro taxis, only recently appeared on the scene in 2013, and they strictly service passengers in Upper Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens, not including JFK or LaGuardia Airport. If choosing this route, you’ll want to go with a yellow cab, but be warned: while a taxi is best for travelers with large luggage, a ride can take up to an hour and cost anywhere from $25 to $60.
AirTrain (to public transport)
Akin to a shuttle, an AirTrain is a monorail that connects airport terminals to public transportation. Both JFK and Newark have AirTrains, which will run you $5–5.50 and link you to either the A, J, Z, or E subway lines (JFK) or the NJ Transit or LIRR (Newark). Be aware that AirTrains run frequently and will add 10 to 20 minutes to your journey.
All three of New York’s major airports offer shared-ride shuttles, which are similar to carpooling. While this method is likely to be less expensive than a taxi (but just as convenient luggage-wise), making several stops along the way may result in a longer commute.
For those traveling via Newark, NJ Transit is a comfortable and convenient pick. Since 1979, New Jersey residents and jet-setters everywhere have relied on NJ Transit for access to Newark and beyond. Operating six trains an hour, NJ Transit deposits you directly at the Newark Liberty Airport station and takes just 25 minutes from Penn Station.
Travelers passing through LaGuardia may want to consider the bus as their means of transportation. The M60 bus, part of the world’s largest fleet of buses, provides transit to and from Manhattan via its convenient airport-adjacent bus stop. At just $2.75 per ride, this option will appeal to budget-conscious travelers, but its lengthy runtime will not.
Count on the oldest railroad in North America still operating under its original name to have mastered the headache-free commute. For 183 years, the LIRR, or Long Island Railroad, has served LI locals looking to get away—or just to the office. The LIRR is the busiest commuter railroad in the country, after all. Particularly great for LaGuardia flyers, this is the most affordable option for those traveling to or from Long Island.
Less than half of New York City’s population owns cars, but for those in the minority, car travel is worth considering. All three of New York’s major airports are easily accessible by car, which is likely to be the most comfortable method of transport available. However, the only things more notorious than terminal traffic are airport parking fees, which can cost anywhere from $7 per day at Newark to $20 per day at LaGuardia.