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JFK to midtown/Times Square (47th & 7th)

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My son (college age) is meeting us in NYC for a vacation - he is flying into JFK in late March , around 3:30pm.

I think he should take the Airtrain to either the LIRR (Jamaica) to Penn Station, OR take a subway at Sutphlin Station, E express. If he takes the LIRR, is it an easy walk to 47th st or should he take a taxi or get on the subway at Penn station?

If he takes the subway , (it's cheaper), does he still get off at Penn Station and transfer to some other line or does the same subway line continue to Times Square area or is it an easy walk - looks like Penn station is around 34th St.. It looks to me like the E line would continue and he could get off at Grand Central or 50th St, but I have never done this.

Does this sound right. If so, sounds like it might be cheaper and easier (albeit longer) to take the subway.

He will have a carry on suitcase 21", and possibly a daypack with him. He is used to public transport and metros in Seattle, but they are quite different from NYC subways.

Also, we are flying in from EWR and planning to take the train is as well. A good choice?

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