America's largest city is the heart of what is called the Northeast Megalopolis, a swath of heavily urban civilization extending from Greater Boston to Washington DC (map) boasting 50 million inhabitants.
For many visitors, New York City is the gateway to New England, as many major airline, train and bus routes and Interstate highways go right through greater New York.
If you plan to fly to New England from some distant city, it's sometimes cheaper to fly via New York City, stopping in the city for a few days to see the sights, shop, and enjoy its cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Here's information on travel between New York City and Boston MA by car, bus, train and plane, and how to choose the mode that's right for you.
New York City Airports
Biggest and busiest, JFK in Queens NY on Long Island, 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Midtown Manhattan (map), is connected to Manhattan by train, bus and taxi.
As of 2023, major construction is under way on a $19-billion remake of JFK airport—much needed, long overdue. The construction will no doubt affect airport operations for years. Check here for updates.
If you have a choice for your flight to New England, you may want to fly instead to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), TF Green Airport (PRO) in Providence RI, or Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) in Manchester NH.
JFK Ground Transportation
AirTrain JFK, operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, connects all terminals, parking lots, etc. at JFK to one another and to the Jamaica and Howard Beach train stations. At these stations you can board the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) or the New York City Transit (subway) system to travel to and from Manhattan.
From Manhattan to JFK
Coming from Midtown Manhattan, go to the Moynihan Train Hall, 421 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd streets, to take a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train to the Jamaica station (20 to 30 minutes), where you transfer to AirTrain JFK, the train to all airport terminals. You pay two fares: the first for the LIRR train, and the second for the AirTrain. The total of the two fares is less than $12, one-way.
At Jamaica station, follow the signs to the AirTrain JFK boarding area, use your chosen payment method to pay the fare, pass through the turnstile, and walk aboard.
AirTrains operate 24 hours a day, every day, departing every two to 12 minutes, depending upon the number of passengers anticipated, by time of day.
The AirTrain will take you right to your terminal at JFK in only a few minutes. AirTrains also stop at the car rental facilities, hotel shuttle stops, and airport parking lots. It's free of charge within the airport.
Warning! Luggage & Taxi Scams!
Important note: after arrival at JFK, do not hand your luggage to anyone except a uniformed airline employee or Skycap (uniformed porter), and do not accept a "taxi," "limo" or rideshare app ride from anyone who approaches you. Solicitation for ride passengers is illegal! Your luggage may disappear never to be seen again, and your taxi ride may end up being an unpleasant, extraordinarily expensive or even dangerous experience.
For taxis, limos and buses, apply to the Port Authority Welcome Center, or the Ground Transportation counter, and/or to the uniformed taxi dispatchers outside the terminal.
Sixteen miles (26 km) southwest of Manhattan in northern New Jersey (map), Newark Liberty also handles lots of transatlantic flights.
The easiest and least-expensive way to travel between Newark Liberty International Airport and Midtown Manhattan is by train:
Take a New Jersey Transit Northeast Corridor or North Jersey Coast Line train from Penn Station, 8th Avenue and 33rd Street in Midtown Manhattan, to Newark Liberty International Airport train station (EWR). These are the most frequent trains from Midtown Manhattan to Newark Airport, running six times each hour from 6:00am to 9:00pm, with four trains per hour from 9:00pm to 12:00 midnight. The train trip takes less than an hour.
Purchase your ticket (less than $9, one-way) from ticket vending machines in Penn Station or at the airport, or via the NJTransit smartphone app. The fare for the AirTrain EWR connection from the airport train station to the airport terminals is already included in your NJTransit fare.
Take an Amtrak train departing from the Moynihan Train Hall (NYP; next to Penn Station), 421 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd streets, that stops at Newark Liberty International Airport station (EWR).
The AirTrain station at Newark Airport can be entered only on a NJ Transit or Amtrak train. You cannot walk or drive to the airport station and enter it.
Once you're in the AirTrain EWR station you can board an AirTrain to take you directly to all the airport terminals., parking lots, and hotel shuttle bus stops.
To travel from Newark Airport to New York City, take an AirTrain EWR to the Newark Airport train station (EWR), then a NJ Transit or Amtrak train into the city at Penn Station (NJ Transit) or Moynihan Train Hall (Amtrak).
From Penn Station/Moynihan Train Hall you can walk or taxi to New York's Port Authority Midtown Bus Terminal (buses to anywhere) or to Grand Central Terminal (Metro-North trains up the Hudson Valley, and New Haven Line trains to the Connecticut Shoreline).
However, if you're going from Newark Airport directly to New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal (for buses to New England) or Grand Central Terminal (for trains to southern Connecticut), you may prefer CoachUSA's Newark Liberty Airport Express bus service, which goes right to those two destinations. More...
For taxis, see the uniformed taxi dispatcher at the airport. The journey to Midtown Manhattan takes about 30 minutes in light traffic.
If you're driving, the airport is accessible by the New Jersey Turnpike (Exits 13A and 14), US Routes 1 and 9, and Interstate 78.
Airport to Airport
To travel from Newark Airport to John F Kennedy Airport or Laguardia Airport inexpensively, take the AirTrain from the airport to the train into the city to Penn Station/Moynihan Train Hall or Grand Central Terminal, then continue from there by train and AirTrain to your destination airport.
Taxi or rideshare app car between airports may be suitable for groups of three or four travelers, if traffic is not heavy.
LaGuardia Airport, in New York's City's borough of Queens, is 10 miles (16 km) east of Midtown Manhattan (map). It's the closest of New York City's three major airports to the center of Manhattan.
New York Stewart International Airport (SWF) in New Windsor NY, 70 miles (113 km) north of Midtown Manhattan (map), serves smaller domestic and international airlines (Allegiant Air, Faroe Atlantic Airways, Breeze Airways, Play airlines) with flights to Florida and other southern East Coast destinations; and to Iceland and the Faroe Islands, with connections to other European destinations. More...
Megabus sells tickets for the Coach USA Stewart Airport Express shuttle bus service between 1131 1st Street, New Windsor NY, and the Coach USA curbside bus stop on 41st Street between 8th and 9th Avenues (map). The journey takes about 1-3/4 hours, one-way.
Other NYC Airports
Smaller airports near New York City include:
New York City Train Stations
New York City's old Pennsylvania Station beneath Madison Square Garden on the east side of Eighth Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets (map), is still in service for New Jersey Transit trains, but the station for Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak trains is now Moynihan Train Hall (NYP), 421 Eighth Avenue, on the west side of Eighth Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets—right across from Penn Station.
Moynihan Train Hall, 8th Avenue & 33rd Street.
It's open from 5:00am to 1:00am. When it's closed (1:00am to 5:00am), use the old Penn Station entrances for access to trains.
This two-building complex is the busiest train station in the USA, by far. (Here's info on trains to Boston.)
Formerly the James A Farley Post Office building (1914), Moynihan Train Hall serves 17 tracks for Long Island Rail Road suburban and regional trains from Manhattan to Long Island, and for Amtrak intercity and interstate trains to New England and other US regions.
Amtrak Ticket Office & Baggage Check-In
Shops, snack stands, a bar and restaurant are on the sides of the concourse.
Numerous MTA subway lines can be accessed beneath Moynihan Train Hall.
The Waiting Room for ticketed passengers.
The mezzanine lounge (top of photo).
From Moynihan Train Hall to Grand Central Terminal
You can walk from Moynihan Train Hall and Penn Station to Grand Central Terminal in about 45 minutes, 35 if you have no luggage and you walk fast. A taxi or rideshare-app car (Uber, Lyft, etc.) might take 15 minutes once you actually get in the car (there may be a wait for a taxi or ride-app car).
A Bit of History
Pennsylvania Station was once a grand Doric-temple monument to 20th-century progress, but the imposing original station, designed by McKim, Mead and White, was razed in 1963 to make way for a new Madison Square Garden sports and show arena, and an office tower, with the charmless but functional station beneath.
Penn Station entrance: no glory here....
The Moynihan Train Hall (2021) revives some of the glory of the original grand Penn Station, and brings much-needed convenience to passengers.
The new (2023) Grand Central Madison section is where you board Long Island Rail Road trains to Long Island and JFK Airport via a connection at the Jamaica station with the AirTrain JFK.
Grand Central Terminal at night.
It's located at 89 East 42nd Street, at Park Avenue (map), 13 blocks (1.5 miles/2.41 km) northeast of Penn Station/Moynihan Train Hall: walk east on 31st Street for 3-1/2 blocks, turn left (north) onto 5th Avenue, walk 11 blocks north then turn right (east) on 42nd Street and walk two blocks to the terminal's 42nd Street entrance.
The terminal is open from 5:15am to 2:00am.
Even if you're not taking a train, it's worth entering the terminal just to experience the Grand Hall with its star-lit ceiling of astronomical constellations.
The Grand Hall.
A circular train information kiosk is at the center of the main concourse beneath a spherical bronze clock. This is where you stand if someone has suggested that you "meet beneath the clock in Grand Central."
"Meet me by the Grand Central Clock...."
The first window in the eastern bank of ticket windows on the main concourse is a tourist information window, open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm, Sunday from 9:30 am to 6 pm.
Boarding platforms are on three levels: Main Concourse Level platforms have two-digit numbers; Lower Level platforms have three-digit numbers.
Long Island Rail Road trains operate from the new (2023) station called Grand Central Madison below the Lower Level; a passageway on Grand Central's lowest level allows access to Grand Central Madison. The direct entrance to the new station is at 383 Madison Avenue, at 47th Street.
The Dining Concourse on the Lower Level has a food court with a wide variety of eateries, from the Grand Central Oyster Bar-Restaurant, to hot dog shops.
New York City's Port Authority Midtown Bus Terminal (PAMBT), a block west of Times Square at 625 Eighth Avenue, bounded by 40th and 42nd Streets and 8th and 9th Avenues (map), is the busiest bus terminal in the USA, and perhaps in the world.
Port Authority Midtown Bus Terminal
It is also the ugliest, of poor design, and woefully outdated. Plans are being made to replace it...by 2032, a deadline that only the credulous believe.
With 223 gates serving 10,000 buses daily, it sees 260,000 commuters pass through on any weekday, and serves about 2.8 million bus departures each year.
Note that some of the most popular companies running buses between New York City and Boston do not use the PAMBT—they load and unload at other locations.
Greyhound and Peter Pan run buses from the PAMBT to New England.
Here's information for travel between New York City and Boston MA by car, bus, train and plane, and how to choose the mode that's right for you.
Here's information for travel from New York City to Cape Cod by bus, by Amtrak train and bus, and by plane. More...
Concord Coach Lines's Dartmouth Coach division operates buses between New York City and Lebanon and Hanover in New Hampshire's Upper Connecticut River Valley. The New York bus stop is at 150 East 42nd Street (between Lexington and 3rd Avenue; map).
Everybody loves New York. As one who grew up not too far from New York, I can say that it's great for any visitor, at least for a few days. You can find your desired accommodations using this handy Hotel Map with Prices.