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How long from Manhattan and Brooklyn to JFK?

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I will be going from Grand Central to JFK on Saturday. Looks like the most direct way is to take the 6 to the E and then the E to the airtrain. I have done that in the past but can't remember how long it took. The MTA trip planner tells me to take the 7 to LIRR or to take the 4 to the A. Any idea why they are giving me those routes when the 6 to the E seems the most straightforward? How long should I allow (including Airtrain)?

At the same time my daughter will be taking the subway from Park Slope - about how long does that take. She's lived in Brooklyn for a couple years but has never taken the subway to JFK.

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