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View Full Version : 7 Hour Layover at JFK, time to see anything?



cydspal
March 11th, 2007, 09:57 AM
Hi! I have a 7 hour layover (in at 11:30, out at 7pm international) on a Friday and want to take my kids to see something without missing our flight. Can I cab it into the city, Rock center, times square and train it back in time? Thanks for your advice!:)

ablarc
March 11th, 2007, 10:05 AM
Sure. Take the AirTrain to Jamaica and the Long Island Railroad to Penn Station (fairly fast, frequent service, schedule on-line). You'll be a short walk from the Empire State Building and one subway stop from Times Square. Get your Empire State Building tickets in advance to avoid the long line.

cydspal
March 11th, 2007, 10:21 AM
Thanks, so you suggest train in and out as opposed to cab in train out?

ablarc
March 11th, 2007, 10:36 AM
^ http://www.mta.info/lirr/html/ttn/jamaican.htm

Click on "to Penn Station (weekdays or weekends)."

Also:

http://www.esbnyc.com/index2.cfm

http://www.topoftherocknyc.com/

lofter1
March 11th, 2007, 10:40 AM
Lines at Empire State Building seem to be an on-going situation -- and not sure that advance tickets will save you enough of a wait to make it worth your while on your limited schedule.

You might opt for the "Top of the Rock" at Rockefeller Center -- where there is usually hardly much of a wait (if any). The views are just as spectacular as at the ESB -- and there is more room to roam about up top.

Be aware that you'll be traveling back to JFK during rush hour on a Friday afternoon -- always a crazy time in NYC and depending on the wekend when you'll be in town things can come to a standstill in midtown at that time. Public transportation is definitely the way to go rather than a cab.

media35
March 11th, 2007, 10:42 AM
A NY cab ride itself is an experience for the kids. I still smile when I remember my kids first NY cab ride--no seat belts, flying down the highway, horns honking, had a real character as a cabbie--they loved it! I was terrrified. I would cab it in, traffic should be lighter, then train it back.

cydspal
March 11th, 2007, 10:45 AM
:rolleyes: Great stuff, thanks! Yes, at this point with kids in tow, I think our best bet is to train it out. My hope is that we are out of the airport by noon and go straight to the rock and try to squeeze in two hours or so (top deck, lunch, walk around and act like a tourist).

I guess my only real choice is which is faster: to cab it into town or airtrain up to Jamaica and transfer into town, your thoughts? At this point there does not seem to be a better choice other than the subway to get back at 4pm on Friday, right?

Front_Porch
March 11th, 2007, 10:48 AM
I would leave an hour-and-a-half to get from midtown to JFK via subway, each way.

It might go faster -- as fast as 45 minutes -- but it did once take me 90 that I hadn't budget for, and I missed my flight :mad:.

cydspal
March 11th, 2007, 10:51 AM
How about going into town, noon on Friday, cab still the fastest way vs. Airtrain and two transfers (E,V trains)?

media35
March 11th, 2007, 10:53 AM
cab it direct from JFK into town--12 noon won't be great in the city--if traffic is at a standstill in midtown you can get out and walk to the Rock, and yes do the Rock instead, much quicker. Train it back--

lofter1
March 11th, 2007, 11:05 AM
Your luggage will already be checked in, yes? And you will have tickets with seat assignments in hand, yes?

If so then you will only have to do security clearance upon return to JFK. Leaving Manhattan @ 3 PM to be back to JFK by ~ 4 - 4:30 PM leaves you lots of time pre-flight. IMO you would be safe to get on the return train / subway @ 4PM. Even if you don't arrive at JFK until 5:30 you still have plenty of time to navigate security and be at the gate in time for boarding.

You might also call your airline for updated flight departure info before you head back to JFK -- as you could find that your available time in Manhattan will be extended.

cydspal
March 11th, 2007, 11:14 AM
Yes, tix and boarding passes will be in hand on the return boarding process, so I was going to set 4pm as the deadline to be on the train going back to JFK (is that V train, to E train to Jamacia, Airtrain to JFK?).

Any feedback as to one of the last replies that suggested the traffic going in might be tough mid day Friday, should I play it safe and train in and out?

lofter1
March 11th, 2007, 11:27 AM
That's a hard call --

Cab will cost you ~ $45 from JFK. Chances are at that time of day it will be somewhat smooth travel until you cross the East River and enter Manhattan -- that's the point where potential / probable traffic snarl will take over. Going cross town in Manhattan can take what seems forever. At that point -- should you choose to get out and walk -- you're still a good 10 minute walk from subway lines that will get you to midtown / Rock Center. Then you have to deal with getting MTA ticket and navigate subways.

Overall timewise I'd say take the train in.

ablarc
March 11th, 2007, 11:35 AM
Long Island Railroad, 19 to 23 minutes, Penn Station to Jamaica. Unaffected by traffic, MUCH more comfortable and faster than the subway:

http://www.mta.info/lirr/html/ttn/jamaican.htm

cydspal
March 11th, 2007, 11:39 AM
Thanks for the suggestion on the LI RR, is Penn station close enough to hike to the rock?

Schadenfrau
March 11th, 2007, 12:01 PM
Penn Station is about 20 blocks south, and quite a few avenues west of Rockefeller Center. At that hour, the LIRR is going to be swarming with commuters going home for the weekend. I wouldn't bother.

In my experience, taking the LIRR is the least pleasant of all NYC public transportation experiences.

ablarc
March 11th, 2007, 12:17 PM
is Penn station close enough to hike to the rock?
No, I'd cab it or take the E train from Penn Station to 5th Ave/53rd St (just 4 stops. No transfer required, but be sure you get on the right train. Ask if in doubt.)

Perhaps better still if you're headed for the Rock: you could take the E train from Jamaica's AirTrain terminal and get off at 5th Ave/53rd St --a pretty long, one-seat ride (10 stops, partly express), but direct to Rockefeller Center, and no chance of getting lost.

cydspal
March 11th, 2007, 12:36 PM
I think that is my best bet going in if a cab could hit traffic at noon, and if Penn station is 20 blocks away, so from Jamaica doe the E train take me all the way in to 5th? I thought I would have to transfer from E to V? THANKS for all y'alls feedback!

Schadenfrau
March 11th, 2007, 01:05 PM
The E will take you to 5th Avenue and 53rd, or somewhere within a few blocks, depending on which exit you use. It's a very short walk to Rockefeller Center from there- no need to transfer to the B/D/F/V.

Punzie
March 11th, 2007, 01:46 PM
You might opt for the "Top of the Rock" at Rockefeller Center -- where there is usually hardly much of a wait (if any). The views are just as spectacular as at the ESB -- and there is more room to roam about up top.

Be aware that you'll be traveling back to JFK during rush hour on a Friday afternoon -- always a crazy time in NYC and depending on the wekend when you'll be in town things can come to a standstill in midtown at that time. Public transportation is definitely the way to go rather than a cab.
Cydspal- You didn't say when you'll be laid over at JFK, but if it's between Memorial Day and Labor Day, this ^^^ will be torture. (Especially with kids.) If it's between those holidays, cab it to Rockaway Beach or Coney Island. Promise your kids Manhattan when you have more time.

cydspal
March 11th, 2007, 01:48 PM
Sorry that I did not mention that, its the last Friday of this month (March)...

cydspal
March 12th, 2007, 08:18 AM
Thank you all for these great responses! Looks like my best bet is Airtran to Jamaica, transfer to the E train all the way in to 5th and 53rd (no transfer right?). Get off and experince the top of the rock, have lunch, times square, etc., then get back on the same subway E back to Jamaica, over to Airtran back to JFK.

Plane arrives 11:30 and leaves at 7pm...can I make it?:rolleyes:
Thanks!

ablarc
March 14th, 2007, 06:59 AM
Plane arrives 11:30 and leaves at 7pm...can I make it?
3-1/2 hours in Manhattan.

cydspal
March 14th, 2007, 07:04 AM
Yes, that is how I added up the time also, it is interesting to see some of the responses that I have gotten have suggested that I would "never make it". I think that if I stay on the subway both ways it should work as long as I pay attention to my time and make sure that I am headed back by 4pm?

Punzie
March 14th, 2007, 07:41 AM
Between flight delays, searches, baggage, and the time to get into Manhattan on a Friday afternoon, you'll arrive there at 2pm. Your kids will be hungry and will need to eat something. Then you'll have to leave at 4pm.

You didn't mention how many kids you have, their ages and genders, but I have a feeling that they are going to dislike this very much. The last thing you need on the next plane flight is attitude from them. Plan a relaxing afternoon activity near JFK airport instead, and promise them "Manhattan done right" in the future.

Heck, you probably won't take my advice, but I had to speak my peace.

ablarc
March 14th, 2007, 08:05 AM
^ Now, don't natter at the nice man, punzi; he has a perfectly sound plan. :)

Punzie
March 14th, 2007, 09:21 AM
A sound plan, yes;
an enjoyable plan, not-so-yes.
:p

MidtownGuy
March 14th, 2007, 09:28 AM
The kids may enjoy an action-packed aternoon of trains and Times Square more than waiting around by the airport. They'll be so busy taking everything in with saucer-eyes that they may not have reason to complain.:)
Sounds fun.
By the way, I always take the E train from midtown to the Airtrain when I have a flight. You'll have no problem, it usually takes about an hour. So you'll have a few hours to stroll around and grab lunch. I would do it.

Schadenfrau
March 14th, 2007, 12:18 PM
The kids would probably be better behaved on a trip to midtown than they would be sitting in the airport for hours.

Also, what does the gender of the children have to do with anything?

ryan
March 14th, 2007, 01:56 PM
Creepy American girl doll shopping?

antinimby
March 14th, 2007, 02:15 PM
cydspal, promise us that you will come back here and let us know how it all went, okay?

ryan
March 14th, 2007, 02:20 PM
By the way, I would totally drag into the city for a few hours. Life is short - have fun. I've done the same in other cities and really enjoyed myself.

ManhattanKnight
March 14th, 2007, 03:16 PM
cydspal, your plan is fine. Just relax and enjoy the adventure. I regularly take a different route from Manhattan to JFK via the AirTrain, using the A instead of the E train, which, from Midtown Manhattan (42nd St./8th Ave.) runs as an express south to Brooklyn and Queens, where it connects with the AirTrain at the Howard Beach Station (located at the edge of JFK itself). Last evening, I boarded the A train at the West 4th Street station (in Greenwich Village) at 7:07 pm and was inside Terminal 8 (American Airlines international arrivals) 56 minutes later.

Ninjahedge
March 14th, 2007, 03:42 PM
Just a warning, YMMV!!!

Leave plenty of time and get some of the NYC experience.

You may want to come back another time if you like what little you have seen!

Punzie
March 15th, 2007, 07:05 AM
The kids may enjoy an action-packed aternoon of trains and Times Square more than waiting around by the airport.

The kids would probably be better behaved on a trip to midtown than they would be sitting in the airport for hours.

Yikes, who said anything about sitting around the airport? Or, as Ryan words it, "creepy American girl doll shopping"?

I'm suggesting that they have an adventure at a place closer to JFK Airport -- perhaps Rockaway Beach or Coney Island, even if it is off-season.


Also, what does the gender of the children have to do with anything?Gender is only one consideration I mentioned. Obviously, there's also age, number of children, and individual tastes.


I can definitely understand why the above site members would be be advising an adventure in Manhattan. They are looking at this from their viewpoints: "seasoned" New Yorkers (or "seasoned" former NY'ers) who either don't take children around Manhattan, or take chidren around who are "seasoned" to Manhattan.

I'm (temporarily) putting myself in the shoes of an out-of-towner on a short layover with children who don't know Manhattan. If your children are especially lively and adventurous -- if they adore "roughing it" -- if exploring new things is their favorite pasttime -- I say, go for Manhattan. Otherwise, do as I have suggested.


For some time now, I have been a moderator of large websites for 'tweens and teens. If I could count the number of kids who got to dislike -- even hate -- a wonderful city because an adult dragged them around during an airport layover...

cydspal
March 15th, 2007, 10:07 PM
I think that all of you people are great!!! I love all of this feedback, great, great stuff! As of now......I am going for it!!! If my incoming plane is on time and I can get out of JFK without any hitches, I see this a fun challenge. My girls are 14 and 10 and have traveled pretty well....few trips across the pond, etc., and they have proven to be real troopers. Keep that feedback coming!!

ablarc
March 15th, 2007, 10:28 PM
If my incoming plane is on time and I can get out of JFK without any hitches...
Just out of curiosity: incoming from where and outgoing to where?


Also: how did you find the forum?

cydspal
March 16th, 2007, 07:48 AM
We are in from Atlanta and off to Germany!

cydspal
March 16th, 2007, 07:54 AM
Hey, what's it going to be gang....the E or the A? Time and the best stop in Manhattan that allows me to put in 2 hours on the ground and show the kids New York, lunch, etc., get back to JFK for the 7pm out, is the major focus, so is it:

"The E will take you to 5th Avenue and 53rd, or somewhere within a few blocks, depending on which exit you use. It's a very short walk to Rockefeller Center from there- no need to transfer to the B/D/F/V."

Or:

"I regularly take a different route from Manhattan to JFK via the AirTrain, using the A instead of the E train, which, from Midtown Manhattan (42nd St./8th Ave.) runs as an express south to Brooklyn and Queens, where it connects with the AirTrain at the Howard Beach Station (located at the edge of JFK itself"
:)

ablarc
March 16th, 2007, 08:08 AM
The E has it.

(The A is for downtown.)

The E leaves from Jamaica; the A leaves from Howard Beach. Be sure you take the right AirTrain!

ManhattanKnight
March 16th, 2007, 10:42 AM
Apologies if I introduced needless complexity by mentioning the A train as another way to get to the AirTrain from Manhattan. I'll only add that if you're closer to Times Square than Rockefeller Center when you're ready to head back to JFK, you'll probably save time by catching the E train at the 42nd St./Port Authority station instead of walking or cabbing it back up and over to the 5th Ave./53 St. station. This map shows the relative positions of those stations (though the map isn't to scale). (At either station be sure to take the Uptown/Queen-bound E train, not the one marked "World Trade Center.")

http://img136.imageshack.us/img136/9116/map7zh7.jpg

Punzie
March 16th, 2007, 07:35 PM
A flight from Atlanta, a hurried romp through Times Square and Rockefeller Center, then off to an overnight trans-Atlantic trip straight to Germany -- your poor daughters have no idea what they're in for. I hope that 'Aunt Flo' is not visiting that day. (Well, somebody had to say it.)

I hope that I'm wrong and everything is fun.

ablarc
March 16th, 2007, 08:20 PM
Sleep it off on the plane.

cydspal
March 16th, 2007, 10:27 PM
Isn't funny in life how some people focus on the postive and some on the negative? I mean, read these responses...Everything from yes to no, to hoping its not that time of the month? You people are a blast!

ZippyTheChimp
March 16th, 2007, 10:39 PM
Sleep it off on the plane.Dead tired - best way to fly over the ocean.

Schadenfrau
March 17th, 2007, 12:41 AM
Isn't funny in life how some people focus on the postive and some on the negative? I mean, read these responses...Everything from yes to no, to hoping its not that time of the month? You people are a blast!

No kidding. I hope that your children don't have some sort of debilitating menstrual disorder that prevents them from enjoying the views of the Manhattan skyline.

cydspal
March 20th, 2007, 08:56 AM
Me too! Any suggestions on the best, hassle free way to get our subway tokens/passes for Airtrain and the Subway for both ways?

ManhattanKnight
March 20th, 2007, 09:21 AM
Tokens are no longer in use and were replaced by the Metrocard, which is good for travel on both subways and the AirTrain. There are Metrocard vending machines at the JFK AirTrain terminals and all subway stations. There are several different flavors; just decide which one suits your needs. About the Metrocard:



http://www.mta.info/metrocard/mcgtreng.htm

cydspal
March 20th, 2007, 09:27 AM
Is the metro card good on Airtrain? So, looks like I might be best buying the one day unlimited for the 4 of us with 4 legs on the subway?

ManhattanKnight
March 20th, 2007, 09:36 AM
Yes, as I said, it's good on both subways and the AirTrain, but the "unlimited" rides feature that works on the subways doesn't apply to the AirTrain. Look here (under "Cost and Tickets"):




http://panynj.com/airtrain/

ablarc
April 1st, 2007, 09:46 AM
So, how did it go, cydspal?

cydspal
April 8th, 2007, 04:45 AM
Well...we made it! Getting off onto the Air Train and switching to the E was no problem. We had plenty of time to go to the top of the rock, watch the ice skaters and have a nice lunch!

Thank you so much for all of your help, it was a much better choice than sitting at JFK for 7 hours and I would suggest it to anyone with a long layover!! Thanks again!!

ablarc
April 8th, 2007, 07:53 AM
We had plenty of time to go to the top of the rock, watch the ice skaters and have a nice lunch! ... it was a much better choice than sitting at JFK for 7 hours and I would suggest it to anyone with a long layover!!
Glad it turned out! Where did you have lunch?

cydspal
April 8th, 2007, 08:01 AM
A nice deli on the bottom floor!

lisa123414
September 13th, 2008, 11:10 PM
found this thread by googlin' - I am a former new yorker from way back (two years in the 80s). I will have a five hour layover at JFK next friday, and want to meet with a friend. Any suggestions? I will need to leave the airport, he will be coming from either LI or Brooklyn. We need a nice quiet restaurant to catch up.

ciao
Lisa

TheFivePoints
September 26th, 2008, 05:23 PM
Well I know of several but I think I'm a bit late.....Howard Beach is nearby with some nice places to eat.