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steffek2 Mar 8th, 2011 06:35 PM

New York Questions
What is the best way to get from JFK airport to our hotel in Mid-Manhattan? Are there self guided walking tours or should we go with a regular tour. I saw info. on tours on the forum, but were not sure if they were walking. We will be there at the end of April and will go to the museums and plays of course. Any moderate priced restaurants and shopping ideas.
By the way we are in our 60's ,but very active and young at heart,

Austin Mar 8th, 2011 07:11 PM

There are 2 ways to get from JFK to your hotel: Taxi, or subway. the differnece in price is about $50. Taxi's are $60 ($45 = tolls and tip) or subway, wich is about $8. Taxi's are easier. If you do this, just ask where the taxi line is (outside baggage claim). DO NOT accept a ride from someone who comes up and tells you they can get you a cheap ride. (black car) Go to the yellow taxi line.

If you want to take hte subway, you should have light bags or be up to lugging them a bit. Really, it's not that bad. Find the AirTrain, and then the A or E. Ask the people working there which will be best.

What kind of shopping?

ellenem Mar 8th, 2011 07:24 PM

"What is the best way to get from JFK airport to our hotel in Mid-Manhattan?"
How many people are in your party and where is your hotel located. There are a variety of answers and both the number of people and hotel location may influence what is "best." Also, for you does "best" mean cheapest or fastest or easiest?

A beginning answer is that an official taxi from JFK to Manhattan holds 4 people and costs a set rate of $45 plus tip and any tolls--assume a total of $60. There are other less expensive options that might cost less, but will involve making a series of connections between trains, buses, and/or taxis.

(SuperShuttle is not recommended in Manhattan, since you might get stuck driving around and around and around dropping other travelers at their hotels before you ever get to yours.)

"Are there self guided walking tours or should we go with a regular tour."
This depends on your interests. Any reasonable guidebook to NYC will provide self-guided tours of the various neighborhoods. There are guide walking tours available for specific neighborhoods and on specific themes, like food, architecture, photography, movie locations, and so forth. There are also bus tours and hop-on-hop-off buses that circle the city day and night. You know the type of thing you like best.

"Any moderate priced restaurants and shopping ideas."
When speaking of restaurants, what price do you consider "moderate"?
When shopping, what kind of items are you hoping to purchase? It is a standard joke that you can buy ANYTHING in New York, so if we know what you're hoping to purchase we can direct you to the best places.

nytraveler Mar 9th, 2011 05:13 AM

There are actually multiple means of getting from JFK into the city, with the choice depending on how much luggage you have, how much you care about hauling it around and up/downstairs, where your hotel is and how tight your budget is.

Regular taxi is $45 flat fare plus tip and toll - about $60 (you tip about 20% on the fare but not the toll). Easy and convenient. (You can also get a car service for about the same amount - but there is no shortage of cabs at the airport unless you arrive between midnight and 6 am.)

You can take Air Train ($5) to Jamaica and there pick up the Long Island Railroad ($7), which will leave you at Penn Station. From there you need to walk or cab or subway to your hotel. The advantages are cost and speed. the disadvantage is that trains at Jamaica are often already full so you will need to stand with your luggage for the 20 minutes ride - then carry or drag you luggage from the lower platform to the upper level (there are escalators to the street).

You can also take the Air Train to 2 different spots to pick up the subway. Benefit is that it is cheap - less than $8. Disadvantages are that you need to hold or stand over your luggage (there is no place to store it) and, depending on the station you get off at, you may have to carry or haul your luggage up 2 or 4 flights of stairs to get to the street. (Most stations have no elevators or escalators - and those with elevators are often out of order.)

New York has thousands of restaurants. For recos you need to tell us what types of food you like and dislike and your specific price range in dollars and if this is for an entree or for a whole meal (including wine, tax and tip).

SueNYC Mar 9th, 2011 11:11 AM

The last week in April is the Tribeca Open Artist Studio Tour and the Tribeca Film Festival

doug_stallings Mar 9th, 2011 01:26 PM

Where's your hotel? East Side? West Side? Midtown? Downtown? Financial District? Upper West Side? If you can give an intersection, we can probably give you a better sense.

And what day/time are you arriving? That always influences my choice of transportation. As everyone says, you can get into the city for as little as $7 or $8 per person on a weekend or as much as $65 for a taxi.

The only thing I absolutely do NOT recommend is one of the car service guys who solicit at the terminal. They prey on new visitors and might overcharge. But the regular taxi rate is set at $45, though there are extras like tips and tolls.

mclaurie Mar 10th, 2011 06:48 AM

Agree that the "best" way from JFK depends on your budget, your hotel location and how much luggage you'll have. Give us that info and we can help. In addition to regular NYC taxi and trains there's also an Express bus that stops at Grand Central terminal and Port Authority. If your hotel is near one of those, it's a bit easier than the train imo although maybe not as fast. If you decide to do this, do NOT buy tickets in advance. You can buy them when you arrive at the transportation desk or from the driver. What you should NOT do under any circumstances is use Super Shuttle or Airlink which drops each person at their individual hotels. They're both terrible in NYC and not reliable.

There are bus tours like the hop on/off Grayline tours that are popular but these are open topped and require climbing up and down stairs as best seats are up top. They're fine in good weather but not so nice in bad weather. There's that uses a smaller enclosed bus (with heat and a/c) where the guide stays with you and there are walking tours that specialize in a particular area or interest like food or history or architecture. There's also a tour that uses a combination of walking and subways called If you want to do self guided walking tours, there's a pack of cards you can buy called City Walks There's a website I like called that has lots of self guided walks.

There's shopping at every price point. What do you want to shop for? is a good place to look for restaurants. If you give us an idea of where you're staying or what kinds of food you like, it's easier to advise you. There are just too many restaurants!

steffek Mar 31st, 2011 12:37 PM

I'm sorry it me so long to reply. here is a lot more information. It is just my wife and I. (This was my Christmas present.) We have been to N.Y. before, but it has been a while.
We are staying at the Manhattan Club on 56th St. April 26th to April 30th. If there are reasonable walking tours about History,Art,including wall art, off-beat, but not frightening tours,and architecture. Types of food, I'm sure I will look at yelp and Zagats,but thought I would see about other in sights. Probably no more than $40 per person for dinner, not including drinks. Any food except Thai and Indian. For breakfast(my favorite) I would like places with character and of course great food. Shopping? Just fun stuff we can easily take home to Ca. on the plane. I hope all of this info. helps to give us more info.

Deb15July Mar 31st, 2011 04:23 PM

The hop on hop off buses are a great way see a lot of the city and get interesting narrative to boot. As mentioned, the weather can be a factor, but the price usually includes two days and runs into the night. Tours are divided by area.

Menupages is a great way to check out restaurants since you can search by very specific boundaries. Then you can also check yelp, chowhound, etc.

steffek Apr 3rd, 2011 03:26 PM

Thanks for the info. I hope to get more replies since I have posted more explicit information.

Aduchamp1 Apr 3rd, 2011 06:04 PM

For breakfast during the week, I would go to the Clinton Street Bakery. It is a zoo on the weekends. They have table service and some of the best scones, biscuits, and pancakes in the city.

It is out of the way, but after you walk to the Tenement Museum.

The restaurants in the residential areas are better food bargains than those in midtown.

And there are,however, great, great prix fixe lunches at Gotham Bar, Nougatine, and Tocqueville. Dinner will cost three times the amount.

Another wonderful lunch is Mary's Fish Camp in the West Village. No reservations.

cathies Apr 3rd, 2011 06:50 PM

Hi, can I jump in here and ask a transport question? We are arriving in NYC on a Thursday night at about 5.30pm at JFK. Our accommodation is on the corner of 23rd and 8th. We are planning on catching a taxi although there will be 4 of us plus luggage (1 rollalong and 1 piece of hand luggage), so I don't know if it's practical. Also, will peak hour traffic be dreadful at that time of night? Plus we will be really tired after our non stop flight from Sydney. We don't mind subways etc.

I would love some advice about this.

maxima Apr 3rd, 2011 07:04 PM

For Walking tours, other than self guided ones that you will find in tour books..most are given on weekends

Big Onion gives different types of walking tours, the prices are reasonable and the guides are graduate students at Columbia University. These tours are taken by NYers and visitors. they have a website.

Municipal Art Society of NY, has walking tours that are reasonable, mainly on weekends. they have a website you can check for the dates etc

The NY Times lists walking tours as well on Fridays.

There are walking tours given by park rangers inside central park.. check the park's website.

and many of the museums have gallery tours included in the admissions

if the weather is nice.. take a walk on the high line on the west side..

maxima Apr 3rd, 2011 07:15 PM

For all things NY you can shop at the City Store located in the Municipal Building, its near City Hall..check out their website.. and then take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

twinkle60 Apr 3rd, 2011 09:45 PM

Walking Tours in NYC - I can really recommend Michell Nevius -
Have recomended her to otehrs who have been likewise impressed

mclaurie Apr 4th, 2011 06:49 AM

steffek, from the airport either take a taxi (ONLY an official yellow NYC from the taxi line) for $45 plus tip and toll or ~ $60 total OR you can use the AirTrain to Sutphin Blvd. and transfer to the E train subway and get out at 7th ave. & 50th st. and walk.

If by wall art you mean graffitti, I found this website

The municipal art society does very good walking tours but unfortunately none during your visit other than their usual Wed. Grand Central terminal tour.

There are lots of walking tour cos. including and have heard Michelle Nevius is very good.

If you just want places to have breakfast near your hotel, look on in the west 50's at either diners and coffee shops or select breakfast from the drop down menu. You should also know there's a big Whole Foods market in the basement of the Time Warner building at Columbus Circle with all sorts of take out food as well as tables to sit down. Also in the building, Bouchon Bakery has great pastry but not sure how early it opens. Not sure if by "character" you mean greasy spoon diner type places or something else.

There are just too many restaurants to even begin to recommend for dinners but I will say heading over to 8th & 9th ave. you will find lots of smaller local ethnic places.

cathies, you would have been much better starting your own thread (it's almost rude to pop into someone else's) but I will say there are some minivan taxis that will fit 4 people but whether it will be comfortable with all that luggage, I don't know. Your other options are to get 2 taxis or to order a larger vehicle from a private company like for a bit more money.

hazel1 Apr 4th, 2011 08:18 AM

Is a pre-arranged car service not recommended (i.e. not from those who prowl the airport for pick-ups)? I thought I'd read that this was a good option, and from what I've gleaned from the website, for 2 people in a sedan, it's cheaper than a cab ($40 plus tolls).

vjpblovesitaly Apr 4th, 2011 08:22 AM

Dial7 is recommended regularly here and on TripAdvisor

hazel1 Apr 4th, 2011 08:35 AM

Steffek - I also found a discount coupon available from Carmel Limo (, $4 off an airport pickup, good until 12/12/11, so that gets it down to $36 + tolls + tip.

jroth Apr 4th, 2011 10:31 AM

Steffek - If you take a cab from JFK - tell him to use the 59 St. Bridge - it is the most direct routing to your hotel and there is no toll.
For inexpensive dining - the East Village has all kinds of choices.

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