Statue of Liberty

Old Aug 21st, 2008, 04:02 AM
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Statue of Liberty

I have a 9 hour layover in NYC before I fly out of JFK to Europe. I would like to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island while in NY. I think I should have enough time and would like to find out the best public transportation route from JFK to Statue of Liberty. I was reading that there is a free ferry. Does it stop to let passengers off at the Statue and Ellis Island or is it just a ferry across to the other side. So which subway or bus route would be best or if cab is the best way, any idea how much that would cost.

Also what would be the timeframe for travel to/from and amount of time I should allow to see both sites.

I get into JFK at around noon and have a 9:30 p.m. flight out.

Lastly does anyone know if there are lockers in the International terminal where I can leave my bags.
galeforce is offline  
Old Aug 21st, 2008, 04:21 AM
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Sorry -

You will not have enough time to do that.

First a 9 hour layover isn;t actually 9 hours. Most planes into JFK are late, it will take you an hour each way in and out of the city and you ned to be back at the airport 2 hours before boarding time. You will also have to find someplace in the airport to check your carry-on, unless you plan on toting it all over hell and gone.

So - if you're lucky you will have something like 4 or 5 hours free.

And doing the Statue of Liberty is very time-consuming - never mind Ellis Island as well. If you buy your ferry tickets in advance (for a specific time) you will not have to stand in a long ticket buyers line. But, there is also a security line to get on the ferry (like airline security) and a further line on Liberty Island to see the Statue. So - at best, all of your 4.5 hours would be eaten up with that - with no time for Ellis Island.

If you really want to see the SOL you can ride the (free) Staten Island ferry. It doesn;t go to the Statue - bur fairly close and you get to see the front on the way back (it faces away from Manhattan - since the purpose was to welcome immigrants arriving be sea).

The ferry runs every 15 or 20 minutes - no waiting - and you also get a good view of the Manhattan skyline on the way back.

If you go to and put in JFK and South Ferry it will show you how to get there.

BUT - if your plane is late you may not have time even for that - so you'll have to play it by ear.
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Old Aug 21st, 2008, 04:25 AM
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There used to be a left luggage place in T4 near the gates - not sure if it's still there.

Ever since the LaGuardia bombing eons ago, long before 9-11, there haven't been lockers in NYC airports, at least not in the unsecure area.

Which airline are you flying? There are international departures out of 5 or 6 different/completely separate terminals at JFK.

You also cannot take anything larger than a purse or perhaps small backpack on the SoL Ferry.
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Old Aug 21st, 2008, 05:07 AM
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Actually, you might be able to physically do the trip, it would not be a worthwhile experience, in my opinion. However, you have left out very important information. When are you coming? If it's soon, the lines are just wild this summer, and I might be more pessimistic. If it's in the winter, yes you could do it.

As a thought experiment, I've tried to consider what you have to go through in order to accomplish this.

Here's the deal. The only way this might be possible is if you book your ticket in advance. You have to arrive at the ferry at least 60 to 90 minutes before your reservation.

So that means leaving the airport asap, taking 1) the Airtrain to Jamaica and then jumping on a Long Island Railroad Train to Penn Station (total of 45 to 60 minutes, cost $10). 2) Taking the 1 train downtown (20 to 25 minutes, $2). 3) Walking to ferry (5 minutes). 4) Waiting in line and going through security (30 to 60 minutes). This puts you on the island no earlier than 3:30.

5) Spend 20 minutes on Libery Island then take the ferry to Ellis Island. 6) Spend 30 to 40 minutes on Ellis Island and take the last ferry back at 5pm. 7) Do the return trip to the airport (60+ minutes) during RUSH HOUR (cost goes up significantly, but I'm not sure how much). And you would probably be standing for this trip. 8) Arrive at the airport exhausted and frazzled at about 7 or 7:30. 9) Go through security at the busiest time of the day (20 minutes).

10) Wait for flight, having spent 3 times more time traveling to and from the statue than you spent there.

Of course, you might have unforeseen difficulties that make it a less happy trip.

By the way, I doubt you'd want to check your large bags straight through and just bring a small carry-on. If you have a large carry-on, this simply won't work.
doug_stallings is offline  
Old Aug 21st, 2008, 05:37 AM
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There is luggage storage in terminal 1 & 4. 4 is the Int'l terminal.

If you were arriving in the morning, you could do this easily, but arriving at noon, I agree with the assessment that it's not enough time to visit both SOL and Ellis Island given possibility for delays, long lines for security, the time for travel from JFK and the fact that the last boat of the day leaves at 3. You MIGHT have time to visit one if you buy tickets in advance online.

Waiting online for security can take 1-2 hrs. at that time of day. So if you were to get into Manhattan 1-2 pm, you could probably get onto the last boat.

The free ferry you mention is the Staten Island ferry which only passes from a distance. There is time to do that certainly. You would also have time to do some other kind of cruise (without actually getting off at SOL/Ellis Island) to get closer.

If budget isn't an issue and you're not familiar with NYC, I'd just hop into a taxi at JFK and get the taxi to take you to whichever boat dock you chose. It's a flat fare of $45 plus tip and toll (or total $60) to anywhere in Manhattan (and same on return).

If you want to do a cheaper option, you can use for alternate directions by train. There are also Express buses that go to Grand Central and Port Authority for $15/person or ~ $27 roundtrip. The trip is about an hour each way. Just be warned for Int'l flights they usually want you there 2 hrs. in advance which would put you at 7:30. Leave NYC by 6 pm since it's rush hour.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2008, 05:32 PM
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Thanks so much for all of your replies. I really appreciated the candid comments. I didn't realize how much time everything would take.
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