Anyone familiar with NYC subway system?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by WindSpirit, May 6, 2012.

  1. WindSpirit

    WindSpirit OmnipresentAdmeanistrator

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    I'm looking for the fastest way from JFK to the Port Authority Bus Terminal at the 42nd St.

    After studying the subway schedules (as well as reading "An Idiot's Guide to NYC subway" :lol: someone wrote online, as well as AirTrain website), all I got was a headache. ;)

    That's what I've come up with: AirTrain from JFK to either subway stations:

    • Howard Bch-JFK Airport station and A train to the 42nd St.

    • Jamaica (??) station and E train to the 42nd St.

    I'm mainly confused about the E train. AirTrain website says that E, J, Z trains "all stop at the Sutphin Boulevard station where you connect to the AirTrain Jamaica Stop" Connnect how, by what?

    The E train map shows those two stations: Sutphin Blvd-Archer Av-JFK Airport and Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer. The E schedule just says "Jamaica Ctr".

    My questions about the E train:

    1. Does it stop at both Jamaica and Sutphin Boulevard, or just the Sutphin Boulevard station? Is the Jamaica stop for E train and AirTrain two different places and if when I take AirTrain to Jamaica stop I won't be able to take the E train directly from there?

    2. Does it go directly from the Jamaica (or Sutphin) station to the 42nd St? I just want to make sure I won't have to transfer anywhere along the way.

    I will have very little time (95 minutes if my flight arrives on time) to catch my bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, so I don't really have room for any mistakes. I have another bus home 6 hours later (after midnight) and I was thinking of choosing that one and just going on the town for a few hours, but it doesn't seem like the Port Authority Bus Terminal has any storage facilities. I don't feel like going on the town with my luggage in tow, meh. And waiting 6 hours at that horrible bus station doesn't seem great, either.
     
  2. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    According to the schedeule on the mta site it will take you an hour just on the trains alone. If you only have 95 minutes I think you'd better plan on taking the later bus. Both the A and the E go to Port Authority.
     
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  3. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    For Port Authority Bus Terminal I would go with the E train, not the A. I think the E is slightly faster. From the airport you take the AirTrain to Sutphin Blvd/Archer Ave/JFK stop for the E train, which I think is the end of the line for this branch of the Air Train, but I am not 100% certain on that. In any case, get off at Sutphin Blvd/Archer Ave/etc. and just follow the signs for transfer to the subway. Get on the E train heading in the direction of Manhattan and go straight to Part Authority; you will not have to change again. From my subway stop, which is Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike in Queens it takes about 30-35 minutes to get to Port Authority and I would add on another 10 minutes or so for stops between Sutphin Blvd. and Kew Gardens. How long it takes on the Air Train to get to the Sutphin Blvd. stop I do not remember as it has been 5 years since I last did this. I agree with above poster that 95 minutes is not enough time and I would say also to take a later bus.

    Since I live on the E line I am not really familiar at all with the A line version of this which is in a different part of Queens altogether.

    Hope this helps.

    ETA: One reason for allowing extra time is that the NYC subway system is doing a lot of maintenance work at the moment. Trains can be rerouted or going slower depending on what is being done. A lot depends on the time of day you are traveling and also what is happening on the line up ahead. With no warning at all you can suddenly be told that because of an earlier incident your E train is now traveling on the F line into Manhattan; in that case you would have to get out at 42nd Street and walk the two blocks over from 6th Ave to 8th Ave. You cannot rely 100% on the times in the schedule; this is NY, after all and the subway can be a fickle mistress.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
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  4. WindSpirit

    WindSpirit OmnipresentAdmeanistrator

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    Thank you for the replies.

    Yeah, it's cutting it (very) close, but if I wait for the later bus I'll be home around 4:30AM instead of 11PM the previous day. But the worst thing is having to wait 6 hours at the bus station, yuck. Just wasted time if I can't go anywhere. I hate the Port Authority Bus Terminal with the heat of a thousand suns.

    BTW, it would be the funniest thing if I made it there on time but got lost inside (the freaking place is a maze) or there would be too many people in line before me and I wouldn't get on board anyway. A ticket for a specific route/time doesn't guarantee a place on the bus. A line for the bus is starting to form a good 30 minutes before it's scheduled to leave. If there are too many people before you, too bad for you.

    I just realized that it takes only ~20 minutes by LIRR from Jamaica stop to Penn Station. I could probably be at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in 15 minutes on foot, it's only a few blocks away. Maybe that's worth a try.
     
  5. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    I think you have a better shot of making the earlier bus if you walk from Penn Station. It's a tight schedule but who knows you could get lucky and make it.
     
  6. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    At the Jamaica stop, you have to walk through the LIRR station on the way to the elevators that take you to the subway where you walk to the E train anyway. It's about a 10 minute walk from the AirTrain to the subway, and only 5 minutes to the LIRR platforms. There's always some train heading to Penn Station from Jamaica. If you buy the ticket on the train, there's a surcharge, but it's probably worth it to avoid six hours in Midtown, unless you want to see a movie (or two).

    You should be able to make it from Penn Station to the Port Authority building in 15 minutes on foot. I used to commute into Port Authority and walk to the SkyRink building (a few blocks west of Penn Sta.) every day.
     
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  7. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    When exactly are you coming in? What day and what time?
     
  8. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    I think the bigger problem is at the front end of this, at the airport. It's going to take a while just to deboard and collect your luggage. Assuming your flight is even on time. And port authority could be problematic if you aren't terribly familiar with it.
     
  9. Lara

    Lara Well-Known Member

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    I agree it's going to be tight. There's actually a shuttle bus that my Dad and I took from JFK to Port Authority this January. It's simpler, but if there's any wait or extensive traffic 95 minutes won't be enough (I think it was 2 hours for us).

    Any chance you could take Amtrak instead? If you have a ticket they'll store your bags, so you could have some time in the city.
     
  10. WindSpirit

    WindSpirit OmnipresentAdmeanistrator

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    I might be a tad too familiar with it. There are specific reasons why I hate it. :mad:

    Sunday, May 20. My flight is scheduled to arrive at 4:25pm at JFK. The bus I'm hoping to catch leaves at 6:00pm.

    The next bus leaves after midnight. If I didn't try to catch the earlier one, I would just take a shuttle from the airport and not bother with public transport at all.
     
  11. WindSpirit

    WindSpirit OmnipresentAdmeanistrator

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    Unfortunately, no. The train I would need to get onto leaves NYC at 11am, waay before I even land. And then I would have a layover of 3 hours in another town, eek.
     
  12. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    There is a thread on the Flyertalk forums about storing luggage in or near Penn Station, and there were three suggestions:

    1. Check it at a hotel nearby, like the New Yorker Hotel or Hotel Pennsylvania.

    2. Check it at a private storage place. One guy writing in January 2009 said he used this service regularly ($7-$10/bag):
    http://www.schwartztravel.com/
    Amtrak was $4.50 bag a few years ago, for comparison, plus tip (either "deeply appreciated" or expected, depending on the poster there or on Trip Advisor forums)

    3. It used to be that anyone with an Amtrak or NJ Transit* ticket could use Amtrak baggage storage ("behind the gate for tracks 1 thru 4"), but in Jan 2011 someone wrote that they had to escalate to two supervisors to do this without a long-distance Amtrak ticket, as there were changing company policies and the bag check person wasn't going to accept it.

    *The cheapest NJT ticket from Penn Sta is Secaucus Junction now $4
     
  13. HisWeirness

    HisWeirness Toes. You gotta keep 'em separated.

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    I second the recommendation for the LIRR; you will definitely have a better chance to catch your preferred bus taking the LIRR.

    Also, you can walk from Penn Station to Port Authority or you can take the A, C, or E subway (inside of Penn Station) one stop uptown to Port Authority/42nd St. Also, if I recall correctly, if you board towards the front of the LIRR train this will place you closer to the 8th Avenue side of Penn Station (also, the side where the A,C,E is located).

    Here is a map of the LIRR portion of Penn Station.
    Here is a map of all of Penn Station.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
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  14. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Well, on Sundays subway slows down a bit - longer time between trains, sometimes an express running on the local track and making all local stops, certain lines not running or being diverted onto other routes because of maintenance work, etc. I am sorry, but I don't think you have nearly enough time.

    OT: I don't get all the Port Authority hate here. I go in and out of there all the time and I don't have any problem with it at all.
     
  15. WindSpirit

    WindSpirit OmnipresentAdmeanistrator

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    Great find, thank you! :)

    Thanks to HisWeirness for the great info and links!

    If I try to make it I'll use LIRR. If not, Southpaw and I will just go to a male strip club, get drunk and forget about my luggage and the fact that my next bus is leaving after midnight altogether. :rofl:

    Oh, it's a long personal story. Two stories actually. One tied to a New Year's Eve FROM HELL and involving every drug dealer around the bus terminal knowing my face and an NYPD officer calling me on my cell phone. And that was the better one of the two. :lol: