There is a new way to get from midtown Manhattan to JFK

There is a new way to get from midtown Manhattan to JFK
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Savvy travelers on a budget know that one of the cheapest ways to travel to New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is via the Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station. However, for those who live or work on the East Side of Manhattan, commuting to Penn Station and then JFK can be a hassle.

Fortunately, that commute will soon be gone for some: The Metropolitan Transit Authority plans to launch LIRR service from the new Grand Central Madison station, located below Grand Central Terminal, to Jamaica, Queens, on January 1. 25. The Jamaica stop is approximately 15 minutes from JFK via the AirTrain.

This new service will be added to the existing trains from Penn Station.

The first train is scheduled to leave Jamaica at 10:45 a.m. and arrive at Grand Central Madison at 11:07 a.m. For at least the next three weeks, the MTA said it plans to operate limited service between Jamaica and Grand Central Madison. so that passengers can familiarize themselves with the new terminal.


During this trial period, the MTA said customers can use Penn Station tickets to ride the LIRR from Grand Central Madison.

The trains will initially operate from 6:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. Trains will run every 30 minutes between Grand Central Madison and Jamaica during weekday noon periods and weekends. Trains will also run once an hour during peak periods. MTA said it will likely increase frequencies after launch, though they did not disclose further details.

TPG’s Scott Mayerowitz found that Jamaica Station could be reached from midtown Manhattan in just 21 minutes.

Grand Central to Jamaica in just 21 minutes. MTA

The MTA eventually plans to begin full LIRR service from Grand Central Madison to Jamaica, hoping to increase overall LIRR service by 41%.

The new route can be as cheap as $15.75 each way.

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An “off-peak” city ticket on the LIRR from Grand Central to Jamaica is $7.75 and the AirTrain from Jamaica to the airport terminals is another $8, if you already have an MTA MetroCard. It’s an extra $1 to buy a reloadable MetroCard for those who don’t have them.

Prices as low as $5 off-peak for new service. MTA

During peak hours, the LIRR fare goes up to $10.75, bringing the price of the entire trip to $18.75.

Peak prices for new services. MTA

The Grand Central Madison LIRR service offers an affordable alternative to traveling to JFK for those who live on or near the East Side of Manhattan.

To save time, many New Yorkers take Uber or Lyft to JFK, but these services can cost $100 or more.

An Uber ride from JFK to the West Side of Manhattan in 2022. UBER

Taxis start at $74 for a flat rate; However, tips and tolls can easily bring the price to $100.

Airport taxi fares in New York City. NYC.GOV

The other problem with traveling by car is traffic. On a good day, you can get to JFK in as little as 35-40 minutes, but add in New York’s notorious traffic and you could be looking at up to an hour and a half.

Before the new option, you’d have to take a subway or bus to Penn Station and then take the LIRR to Jamaica, a time-consuming and arduous journey depending on where you’re coming from. A route like that could easily add over a half hour to the trip.

News of the LIRR’s debut at Grand Central Madison was greeted with much fanfare. About an hour before the first train left Grand Central Madison for Jamaica, Queens, passersby hovered near Luke’s Lobster in the train station’s dining hall, waiting for the MTA to officially open the red doors of the newer terminal. from LIRR.

Once the gates to Grand Central Madison officially opened around 11 a.m., the crowds cheered and all poured into the new terminal. LIRR customer ambassadors handed out souvenirs such as pins, baseball caps and stickers to visitors. And those who took the first train from Jamaica to Grand Central Madison at 10:45 am received “golden tickets” for taking the train’s maiden journey to the new terminal.

Seas of phones recording Grand Central Madison flooded the halls as visitors snapped selfies, some enthusiastically exclaiming that they felt like they were seeing history.

MTA officials such as Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber and the Governor of New York. Kathy Hochul also attended the grand opening of Grand Central Madison. Hochul emphasized how the project would better connect millions of Long Islanders to New York City, as the MTA estimates that about 45% of LIRR riders will now go to Grand Central instead of Penn Station.

“Infrastructure is all about connections, and this project is an extraordinary step forward to better connect millions of New Yorkers to their homes, their families and their jobs,” Hochul said in a news release.

Penelope Weinhart, a real estate agent, was visiting New York City from Atlanta and taking the first train out of Grand Central Madison to catch the AirTrain to JFK from Jamaica Station. She said that she was initially unaware of the Grand Central Madison LIRR service, but then she decided to take the train to Jamaica once she heard the news.

“It’s kind of exciting,” Weinhart said. “We didn’t even know…it just happened.”

Taking the train to Jamaica and then the AirTrain to JFK was a seamless process. While Grand Central Madison itself was quite full, the first LIRR to Jamaica, Queens was not. Track signs at the new terminal were easy to find: the Metro North app and timetables at Grand Central Madison updated the track information accordingly.

The first train to Jamaica was supposed to leave at 11:59 pm, but it was about two minutes late. Once the train started moving, the passengers cheered enthusiastically. The train also made stops at Woodside, Forrest Hills and Kew Gardens before landing in Jamaica. Even though this was the first train out of Grand Central Madison, it felt like this route had been done a million times before, with no hiccups.

From Grand Central Madison, the train took about 25 minutes to reach Jamaica. Once the train stopped in Jamaica it didn’t take long to find the AirTrain, it was easy to spot the bright yellow signs pointing to the AirTrain. The only problem with taking the AirTrain was that it required an MTA card, which feels outdated considering that all subways in New York City now accept Apple Pay.

But the train from Grand Central Madison to Jamaica proved to be not only an affordable but also an easy alternative to JFK for residents of the East Side of Manhattan. The trains were on time and each train ride to and from Jamaica took no more than 30 minutes; otherwise, driving to JFK from Manhattan can easily take over an hour with traffic.

Grand Central Madison’s long-awaited opening came as construction delays and financial problems hampered the project for decades. Also known as the east side access station project, construction of Grand Central Madison began in the 1960s. However, rising costs and a citywide fiscal crisis caused New York City to quickly halt construction.

Construction then resumed in the 1990s, but construction delays, mismanagement, and cost overruns stagnant the project. The MTA initially destined to open the new terminal by the end of 2022, but when an area of ​​the terminal needed “additional work”, he pushed the date back.

Last week, the MTA tested 40 empty trains to and from the new station, according to the gothamist.

There is also a separate entrance to the new station. As the name implies, you can enter the building through separate entrances from Madison Avenue. (In fact, the actual entrances are at what would be Vanderbilt Avenue and East 43rd, East 44th, East 45th, East 46th, East 47th, and East 48th streets.)

Map of Grand Central Madison. MTA.INFO

The sprawling Grand Central Madison Terminal cost roughly a whopping $11 billion to build and it’s one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects in the United States in recent years. Grand Central Madison also represents the LIRR’s first expansion in 100 years.

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