New York City enjoys excellent transport connections because of its massive size and importance as a business and tourism centre.
There are six airports serving New York City although most travellers fly into either JFK, La Guardia or Newark Airport in New Jersey.
JFK is New York’s busiest airport and many travellers arrive or depart from here. It is in Queens, 24km from Midtown Manhattan. The Air Train connects JFK with Howard Beach and Jamaica subway stations. It takes around an hour to get into the city from JFK and costs $7.25 ($5 for the Air Train plus a $2.25 subway fare).
La Guardia Airport in northern Queens (15km from Midtown Manhattan) handles domestic flights. Bus M60 connects the airport with 125th Street/St Nicholas Avenue, 125th Street/Lennox Avenue and 125th Street/Lexington Avenue subway stations in Harlem. Alternatively the Q33 bus runs between the airport and Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue subway station in Queens and the Q48 bus goes to 74th Street/Broadway subway station in Queens.
Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey is 26km west of Midtown Manhattan. This airport handles domestic and international flights. NJ Transit bus 107 goes to Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan via downtown Newark for just $5.75 and bus 62 goes to Newark for $1.35, where you can transfer to a NJ Transit or PATH train to Manhattan. However a more frequent and convenient option is the Newark Air Train that runs between the airport and Newark Liberty International Airport train station, where you can transfer to regular trains to New York’s Penn Station. The Air Train costs $5.50 from the airport to the airport train station or $15 for the whole trip to New York Penn Station.
Long Island MacArthur Airport is in Islip on Long Island, 80km from Midtown Manhattan. It is the only New York City area airport served by Southwest Airlines and Ryanair have expressed interest in trans-Atlantic flights using this airport so it may become a more popular option with budget travellers. To get here take the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) train from Penn Station to Ronkonkoma ($15 peak, $10.75 off-peak) and then take Suffolk County Transportation bus 57 ($1.50) or the more frequent minibus shuttle ($5) to the airport. It can take up to two hours to get here from Midtown Manhattan.
Stewart International Airport, 88.5km north of New York City, has flights to Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia and Florida. To get here, take the Metro North train from Grand Central Station to Beacon and then take the bus connection to the airport.
Westchester County Airport, in White Plains, 53km north of Midtown Manhattan, is served by mostly domestic flights. The Bee-Line Airlink bus and local bus 12 ($2.25) connect Westchester County Airport with White Plains train station, where you can get Metro North trains to Grand Central Station in Midtown Manhattan. Allow 1½ hours to get to the airport from Manhattan.
Most coaches including Greyhound and Peter Pan terminate at Port Authority Bus Terminal at the corner of 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Greyhound has buses to most destinations in North America and Peter Pan focuses on destinations in north-eastern USA.
Port Authority is the world’s busiest bus station handling 7200 buses and 200,000 passengers on a typical weekday. The bus station had a bad reputation because of the shady characters that hang around here (although it has been cleaned up a lot in recent years) and many travellers prefer to travel on the cheaper “Chinatown buses” that leave from streets in Chinatown, the Lower East Side and Midtown Manhattan near Herald Square and Penn Station.
“Chinatown” buses refer to any buses run by small independent companies, usually running between the Chinatown in big cities in north-eastern USA rather than using central bus terminals. They are often the cheapest way to get to Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC; but some Chinatown buses go as far afield as Atlanta.
Search and book "Chinatown Bus" routes in the USA
New York City has two main train stations – Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station.
Most long distance trains including Amtrak plus Long Island Railroad (LIRR), and NJ Transit trains to New Jersey leave from Penn Station at 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue.
Grand Central Terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue handles Metro North trains to Connecticut and New York’s northern suburbs.