Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   United States (
-   -   So many many questions - Budget NYC experience (

girl_from_africa Apr 19th, 2009 01:10 PM

So many many questions - Budget NYC experience
My husband and I are planning a month long tour of the US from east to west, starting in New York., we have a tight budget.

We have the floowing questions:
1. Best and cheapest way from JFK to Manhattan.
2. Some good quality affordable eating options.
3. We are planning to buy a city pass... is this a good idea?
4. We need to get to Newark for a flight out to Buffallo... but we have to at the airport at 05:40... now how long does it take to travel to the airport? And how do we get to the airport from 850 W Ave? What is the most affordable option?
5. We want to Brad Paisley show tickets for Aug 14th, Darien Lake Centre, where is the best place to buy? His site says the tickets aren't on sale yet, when can we expect to see them go on sale?

ellenem Apr 19th, 2009 01:38 PM

1. Best and cheapest way from JFK to Manhattan.
$7 per person on AirTrain to subway. Without knowing your destination we can't advise on which subway line.

2. Some good quality affordable eating options.
Get away from midtown. The East Village has a lot of less expensive, interesting dining options.

3. We are planning to buy a city pass... is this a good idea?
If by City Pass you mean one of those combination tickets for museums, most people don't think it's a good idea. Do a careful analysis of which of those sights you really want to see and how much they really cost. Some featured museums have free nights or suggested admissions (pay what you wish at all times) so that could be less expensive than buying a pass.
If you mean an unlimited ride MetroCard transportation pass, then, yes, those are a good idea.

4. We need to get to Newark for a flight out to Buffallo... but we have to at the airport at 05:40... now how long does it take to travel to the airport? And how do we get to the airport from 850 W Ave? What is the most affordable option?

There is no W Ave in NYC.

If you mean 5:40AM, then you're options are a bit limited, as the cheapest transport options are not running at that hour. The first Olympia bus of the day (dep Manhattan 4:45-5:00AM) would get our there at 5:20-5:35AM, depending on the terminal.

5. We want to Brad Paisley show tickets for Aug 14th, Darien Lake Centre, where is the best place to buy? His site says the tickets aren't on sale yet, when can we expect to see them go on sale?
I have no idea . . . check

Michael Apr 19th, 2009 05:07 PM

Not the best but the cheapest way to NYC from JFK is to take the NYC Transit bus from the international terminal to the subway and the subway to the center of the city. Count on 2 hours.

girl_from_africa Apr 19th, 2009 08:53 PM

We will be staying at the WEST END STUDIOS, 85 West End Ave.

girl_from_africa Apr 19th, 2009 09:41 PM

Another question... what is the weather like early August?

Aduchamp1 Apr 20th, 2009 12:49 AM

Pizza, Chinese, and Indian are three of the cheaper more satisfying foods in New York.

August is usually oppressively humid and hot. Some subway stations will be over 100 degrees.

nytraveler Apr 20th, 2009 03:39 AM

August is hot and humid. Subways and buses have AC - subway platforms do not and all the hot air from the trains ends up there - so they're incredibly hot.

I would take the AirTrain and subway (you must get a Metro Card in the airport - it doesn't take cash) into the city. the bus mentioned is really for people who work at the airport and live not too far away - and will take forever to get into the city.

Do not buy a pass except the MetroPass for subways and bus. they generally include a lot of things you don;t want and won;t get to - and don;t pay for themselves.

If your trip back to EWR is at 5:40 AM you need to check the web site of NJ Transit to see how early the trains go from NYC Penn Station to the Newark area stop. YOu may be too early and have to take a car service (try Carmel or Dial 7 web site for coupons). If it's 5:40 pm the train to AirTrain is your best choice.

You should know that West End Studios is a hostel that gets lots of very bad reviews and you may want to consider staying elsewhere. The Hosteling International hostel on 103rd & Amsterdam gets generally good reviews - and charges only about $40 per night for a bed in a dorm room plus locker. I suggest you look at the reviews on Also, there was a report on this board not too long ago from people who had booked West End Studios, and when they arrived found it so awful that they walked out immediately and had to hunt up another place to stay.

The area you're in is great for inexpensive dining - with tons of choices of all different ethnicities. Do realize that the prices on the menu do not include tax (8.25%) or tip (15-20%). If you take out prepared food from a deli or market you still have to pay the tax, but no tip is required.

Anonymous Apr 20th, 2009 05:18 AM

If that's $40 per person, you might do better bidding for a regular hotel room on Priceline, especially since August is usually a very slow month for hotels. Or book the hostel (or other cancelable bargain spot) and then try PL as the travel date approaches.

bspielman Apr 20th, 2009 05:27 AM

Looking at Continental's current schedule, their earliest EWR-BUF nonstop leaves at 6:40, accounting for your need to be at EWR by 5:40 a.m. NJTransit currently (could change by August) has four trains that arrive at the Newark Airport station by 5:48, after a 22- to 25-minute trip from New York Penn Station (one intermediate stop at Newark Penn Station--no change of trains). The earliest weekday train leaves NYPenn at 4:20, arriving at the airport station at 4:45. Add ten minutes or so to get the AirTrain to EWR Terminal C, your Continental departure location.

bspielman Apr 20th, 2009 05:33 AM

Re ticket availability for your 14Aug concert, look here:

mclaurie Apr 20th, 2009 06:05 AM

West End studios are terrible! Do you know about the hotel reviews on is a good place to look for restaurants by area and by type of cuise (and get reviews and prices). will help you get from point a to point b. (While AirTrain/subway from JFK to Manhattan is cheapest at $7/person it sure isn't always "best."

If you haven't already booked your flight to Buffalo, there are flights from both LGA and JFK that should be the same price or less. If you have to keep the EWR flight, I'd stay out at an airport hotel or the Hilton Newark Penn station the night before.

suze Apr 20th, 2009 06:35 AM

How are you getting from New York to Seattle? I'm curious only because I just wrote a long post for you, answering questions about camping in Seattle in August???

girl_from_africa Apr 20th, 2009 10:35 AM

Hi everyone, thank you for all the info!

I didn't know that West End Studios are awfull, am going to try and change our reservation, thanks!

We are flying to Buffalo at 6.40AM. And we are flying to Seattle. Our flights are all already booked and paid.

You have really helped alot!

Austin Apr 20th, 2009 11:02 AM

As a last resort, can she take a cab from NYC to Newark? I'm just curious. I know it will be expensive, but it is possible, correct?

doug_stallings Apr 20th, 2009 11:28 AM

I don't think I'd chance anything other than a car-service for a 6:40 am flight out of Newark; there are just too many issues with public transit that hour. But definitely NEVER take a regular taxi to or from Newark airport. Always take a car service. This is simply arranged in advance for the trip from Manhattan to EWR and called for at baggage claim for the trip into Manhattan from EWR. It's virtually always going to be $10 to $15 cheaper per trip.

Chances are that NJ Transit has a train that would connect to the Airtrain at the EWR station and offer a more budget-friendly trip (about $15 per person rather than $35 per person for a car service). I'd do this over the bus since it's about the same price and more reliable. Also, the first bus might be tight in terms of getting to EWR in time to check in for the flight (you really have to be there at least an hour in advance even if you aren't checking a bag).

If I were you, for your hotel in Manhattan, I'd book a shared-bath room with bunk beds at the Pod Hotel. I'd always prefer that to the awful West End Studios, and it might be a good deal in July/August.

girl_from_africa Apr 20th, 2009 12:02 PM

So I can't sleep... The West End Studios deal bugging me.. I did mail to enquire about cancelations, so I also did some research on and spotted "The Pod".

If I am able to cancell, I am only going to book 2 nights in Manhattan and the other close to the airport to cancel out the travel issues early in the morning.

So, except for the Pod, any other recommendations? And any cheap lodging close to Newark?

West End was real cheap, but I would rather pay more than stay in a slum or catch some kind of a disease!

GoTravel Apr 20th, 2009 01:26 PM

I still wouldn't stay at the airport even though you have a 6:40 am flight.

The decent hotels at Newark are expensive. The affordable ones also rent by the hours.

There really isn't a decently priced good hotel at Newark.

Stay at The Pod Hotel and book at 4:30 AM car service pick up. Car service to Newark is about $45 if I remember correctly.

doug_stallings Apr 20th, 2009 01:29 PM

I'm with Go Travel on this one. Stay in Manhattan and get up really early. Do you really want to spend your last night in NYC in Newark or out on the town in Manhattan?

lincasanova Apr 20th, 2009 02:24 PM

Definitely try ( name your own price) after reading it and understanding it. On a month long trip/(which we also do almost every August) this is where you can save the most money.

We are staying in NYC at a 3.5* in May for $99.

You should be able to do something similar or cheaper.

Visit or and really read the FAQs before bidding. No cancellations. No changes. No refunds.But a real money saver.

girl_from_africa Apr 21st, 2009 01:04 PM

Thanks all... you are great!!!!! If you ever come to South Africa, go to Mozambique, ZAnzibar, Singapore or Thailand, I will be glad to assist you as well! Be blessed!:)

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:36 PM.