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5 hr layover at EWR with two teenagers

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May 9th, 2009, 04:36 PM
  #1
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5 hr layover at EWR with two teenagers

We're headed to Rome from Utah with a five hour layover in Newark with our two teenage daughters ages 17 and 18. We arrive Sunday May 24th at 5 PM and head to FCO at 10 PM for an overnight flight. We've never been to Newark so have no idea what's there. Does anyone have any suggestions. Thanks for your help and thanks to Fodor's for this wonderful forum.
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May 9th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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How comfortable would you be taking a quick trip to NYC?
I haven't been at EWR in a couple of years, but aside from the airport ... nothing!
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May 9th, 2009, 05:16 PM
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Bring a book. There is nothing in Newark outside the airport, and you don't have enough time to go into NYC (you don't have 5 hours if your Rome flight leaves at 10 p.m. -more like 3-1/2 hours, since you'll have to be back by 8 or so, which becomes more like 1-1/2 after you factor in transportation to and from NY)
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May 9th, 2009, 05:47 PM
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granted, not much time in NY, but had I never been there, a little taste would be a bonus for me.

40 minutes from EWR to Penn Station (7th ave/34th st), walk around a bit, if nothing else Macy's is right across the street. The Thanksgiving Day Parade spot marked on the street would be a neat sight for me (one long block from Penn - 6th Ave/34th st).
The Empire State Building is only another block away (5th ave/34th st) ... seeing it all lit up, in person ... would be worth my (rushed) time in NYC and you don't have to walk to it - the view from Macy's is just fine.

And one could be back at EWR in plenty of time to go through security.

That's why I asked: "how comfortable are you" doing this?

In early January, DH and I flew from Rome to Florence, but because of fog plane couldn't landin Florence and went to Pisa instead. We took a cab ride, went around Pisa, got our picture taken with the Tower in the background and went back to the airport. True, I have not "been" to Pisa, but I saw the Tower! And I will never forget that.
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May 9th, 2009, 06:09 PM
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You have 5 hours only if your plane lands on time. If it's late - fairly likely - you have 4.5 hours. You need to check in for an international flight 2 hours in advance - so you now have 2.5 hours. this is time to get to and from the city - by train if there are no delays and dragging you carry-ons with you (checking them will take more time out of your schedule) - so you have perhaps 45 minutes in Manhattan.

If your in bound flight is more than 30 minutes late (check to see the usual on-time record) you have 15 or 20 minutes.

IMHO leaving the airport would be a massive frustration and waste of time. I would concentrate on finding a decent meal in the airport.
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May 9th, 2009, 06:47 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I might risk NYC but my husband would be way too nervous to try it. I think we're stuck at the airport. I was thinking of maybe going to the Mariott Hotel for a couple hours since it's at the airport. I also noticed on the airport web site that they have a spa at the airport but I couldn't find out anything about it. If we just stay at the airport can you recommend a nice restaurant?
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May 9th, 2009, 07:33 PM
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Thanks screen.... I've already been to those sites. That's how I found out about the spas but it didn't give any detail (that I could see) about them. What do they offer, how much are they, etc. On the restaurants, I printed out the list and even looked up a few of them independently to find out about them, but didn't find much. I'm really hoping someone can recommend a restaurant at the airport that they've been to and enjoyed. The same for the spa. Anyone???
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May 9th, 2009, 08:09 PM
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My sympathies and good luck!
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May 9th, 2009, 08:30 PM
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Okay pdx, you're making me nervous. What do you know about EWR?
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May 9th, 2009, 09:20 PM
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All real restaurants are airside at EWR. I believe you're taking the late CO flight to FCO, so you'll be in Terminal C. The best restaurant there is the Gallagher's steak house, but some find its food mediocre and overpriced. For cheaper alternative, Garden State Diner.
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May 10th, 2009, 10:03 AM
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Unless you elect to go to the on-airport Marriott for spa services, your options at EWR are somewhat limited. The restaurants in the terminals are mediocre, to be charitable, and the "spas" are more like little kiosks offering back rubs.

As has been mentioned, your time is limited, and you really don't have enough time to go to NYC, a logical choice otherwise. And, while the city of Newark itself has little to offer you, you might want to consider simply going off-airport to a relatively close-by place for a good Italian dinner, something New Jersey can offer in abundance.

I'd suggest Casa Dante in nearby Jersey City, about 15 minutes from the airport by cab. Here's a little information about them: http://www.casadante.com/aboutus/

You can make a 6:00-or-so online reservation at www.opentable.com, but I think you might want to call them to let them know that you might be a little late because of flight delays and that you must leave them by about 8:00 to be back at EWR in time for the security checkpoints. They can call you a cab for your return trip.
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May 10th, 2009, 10:52 AM
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pdx
 
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Sorry, didn't mean to inspire fear. I'm just sympathizing with a 5 hour layover, about which I would whine myself. But you have two teenagers to hang around and tell you how bored they are and there isn't anything to do and can I have some money and there's nothing to eat and why is this taking so long and, and, and....
A laptop and Netflix watch instantly might kill a couple hours.
I like bspielman's advice about taking a cab to a nearby italian restaurant. Get a few glasses of wine in you and sleep away the long stretch on the plane.
Again, my sympathies and good luck!
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May 10th, 2009, 11:50 AM
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You will be at Continental's "fortress hub" and here are several Presidents Club locations. If you are not a member the cost is $45 per person for a one day pass, not sure you would want to spend $180 for the four of you. You can usually find passes for sale on ebay for half of that or less. If you are top tier elite on a Sky Team airline or are traveling in BusinessFirst you get free club access when traveling internationally, or if you have an AmEx platinum that gets you access as well (do not know how many guests you can take with you using the AmEx).
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May 10th, 2009, 12:12 PM
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What about the Marriott hotel at the airport. Does anyone know anything about their restaurants?
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May 10th, 2009, 01:03 PM
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Marriott restaurants as a rule are mediocre. I don't know anyone, other than someone stuck at a Marriott hotel, who would go out of his/her way to eat there.

The AMEX Platinum card permits the holder club access with one guest.
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May 10th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I really like the idea of going to an Italian restaurant in New Jersey and will look into that. Do you know what we're looking at in the way of costs for a taxi? Also, I do have an American Express Optima Platinum that I've never used but is still good so will check that as well. Does anyone know if both my husband and I have the AMEX Platinum if we can each bring a guest, thus allowing us the two teenager - or how would I find out about that. Thanks again, this has been very helpful You're the best Fodor people!
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May 10th, 2009, 02:11 PM
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Aside from dinner in a nearby town, a couple of hours at an airport hotel would be nice. You could rest, order room service, and order a movie.

At most you'd have about 2 hours.

The Air Train stops at The Marriott.

A cab will be about $50 to Jersey City.
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May 10th, 2009, 02:53 PM
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Re AMEX, I'd suggest you call American Express. In the way of food, the Continental President's Club offers little more than on-board snacks: crackers, cheese, and so on.

You can get a limo from EWR to Jersey City for $39. A cab could be less.
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May 10th, 2009, 03:59 PM
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The Air Train does NOT stop at the Marriott at EWR, and the hotel shuttle is notoriously unreliable.
If you are considering a taxi to a restaurant in Newark think about one of the Portuguese places. I don't recall the name of the place we ate but it was great. Maybe another Fodorite can suggest a place.

To your other question - yes, if you and our husband each have a separate qualifying AmEx card you can use them to get yourself and one guest into the P club - which I really think is your best bet. Though five hours sounds like a lot of time, you have to allow round trip transit which will be at least an hour (probably a little more) as well as time to re-clear security on your return (which can be nasty at EWR.) The P Club has free drinks (alcoholic and non) and snacks, wireless internet, TV lounge, and comfortable seating.
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