Flying to New York City is a breeze compared to the hassle of journeying from any of its three airports to Manhattan. Some advice:
John F. Kennedy and Newark Airports: The new AirTrain rail links are your best option if you're arriving during freeway rush hour. But this is not a good option if you're carrying unwieldy luggage, since the journey requires maneuvering it on and off trains. Both AirTrain-JFK and AirTrain-Newark require you to take a short monorail ride from the airport to a nearby train station, where you board a train to Manhattan's Penn Station. Total fare is about $12 to $15 each way to/from both airports. See airtrainjfk.com or airtrainnewark.com.
LaGuardia Airport: There's no train from LaGuardia, so the fastest way into the city is by taxi. Fares run $20 to $30, plus about a $5 tip and tolls. To avoid getting ripped off, be sure the driver turns on the meter when you get in. Be prepared to wait in lengthy taxi queues at peak arrival times. On the bright side, you can cut your fare in half by finding someone in line to share the ride with you.
Limos: Many frequent travelers (and locals) prefer car services. The upside: no queues, and the cars are newer, cleaner and more comfortable than cabs. However, they're subject to the same traffic delays and, of course, cost more. Ask your hotel concierge or travel agent for recommendations. Reservations are required. Rates can be as low as $30 to $40 each way, but prices vary based on demand and type of car requested. And never accept rides from drivers soliciting rides at the baggage claim area.
Chris McGinnis is author of The Unofficial Business Travelers' Pocket Guide.