NY travel bleg

I’ve been invited for a speaking engagement on the east coast for the 26th of March. I don’t go that way often and when I do, the client arranges everything. This time, I’m going to New Haven CT where they expect adults to figure it out for themselves. Heh, operative word being “adult”, problematic if your not-so-inner child runs the show. As such, I could use some help orienting to where I need to go if you live out that way or travel thereabouts frequently.

My contact is a love but she’s frequently busy. She says:

You can fly into one of 5 airports: JFK, Laguardia, Newark, Bradley (Hartford) or Tweed (New Haven).

If you arrive at one of the 3 NY airports (JFK, Newark, Laguardia), you may wish to taxi to Grand Central, and then take the Metro North train to New Haven. From the New Haven station, you can taxi a very short distance to 241 Elm Street.

She makes it sound so easy but the choices of NY airports are boggling to me; I confuse easily and need the simplest itinerary possible. My question is: if costs are comparable, which is the best airport considering the cost and complexity of getting to Grand Central Station? And is there only one “North” train? I’d think there’d be many. And then I fret about getting back in time to catch a flight. Do the trains leave New Haven regularly? Please couch your responses in terms understandable to a six year old because although I fool everyone, my executive functioning skills are quite poor.

Also, I would be amenable to hanging around in NY an extra day to meet people but I couldn’t possibly arrange the logistics myself.

(Bleg = blog+beg)

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  1. janet says:

    Laguardia is closest to grand central (GCT). The public transport methods from LGA are a bit tricky because they involve bus to subway transfer, so your best bet would be to take an airport shuttle which is about $12 each way — see here:

    On the other hand, JFK directly connects to the subway line, although I think you still have to pay extra for the AirTrain, running you about $5 to $7 total each way? I’m not 100% sure on the price since it’s been a while. You would then take the E train to 51st St/Lexington and switch to the 6 train (downtown) to GCT.

    Outside of weekend and late night hours, the subway is a little more reliable than any bus since you avoid NYC traffic, which can get pretty bad sometimes.

    Once at GCT, you would take the next train to New Haven. You can check train schedules here:

    The ride takes between an hour and a half and two hours, depending on the train. Make sure to buy a ticket before you board! (Either at the ticket counter or at a ticket machine).

    Unfortunately, I know nothing about the CT airports.

    Hope that helps!

  2. Meghan says:

    Hey there — that’s my home turf. My recommendation would be to fly to Hartford, New Haven is about an hour (or less) from there. She should pick you up, plain and simple. If you fly into NYC, Laguardia would be the easiest airports to deal with, but once you land there, you’re looking at easily 3+ hours to make your way to New Haven.

    “Metro North” is the name of the train service, no matter where it’s going. So if you did go to NY, you’d take the “New Haven Line” of the Metro North train. From Grand Central to New Haven it takes close to 2 hours. Email me if you want more specifics. Oh and also, just as a cherry on top, that is spring break week and all plane tickets are obscenely expensive. I’m trying to fly from Portland to NY that same time and it’s making me cry how much it is.

  3. EA says:

    I’m a long time lurker and this is the first time I can add something intelligent to the discussion!

    Grand Central is large and overwhelming; leave yourself plenty of time for getting a cab, getting through traffic, and finding your train. At rush hour it can take as much as two hours to get a cab and get through traffic from JFK or Newark to Grand Central. LaGuardia is physically closer to Grand Central, but there can still be big traffic delays. There are also buses instead of cabs, but they drive in the same traffic.

    There are multiple “Metro North” trains from Grand Central, but they are identitfied sometimes by “line” and sometimes by final stop, what you will want is the “New Haven Line” or the train to New Haven. The trains run many times a day, frequently at rush hour and perhaps once an hour in the middle of the day.
    Metro North info is at: http://www.mta.info/mnr/

    Another option is to fly into Newark airport and take Amtrak to New Haven. It is substantially more expensive than Metro North, but you can take a train directly from the last stop on the airport monorail to the station in New Haven. (Same station for Amtrak and Metro North in New Haven.) That means you have a lot fewer places to get lost/confused/ripped off by cabdrivers/etc. Those trains only run 6 or 8 times a day.

    I don’t know anything about flying into Hartford or New Haven. If you’re good with maps and rental cars, that might be an easy option. Otherwise I’d stick with the train and taxi plan.

  4. Anir says:

    If I were flying into NYC and had to go North, in order of preference I would choose
    (LaGuadia is in NW Queen, JFK is in SE Queens, Newark in NJ–you’d pay more to get into the city from Newark because of tolls)

    LaGuardia is closest physically and ligistically to Grand Central. You should know that Grand Central has a number of levels–maybe five–I don’t know and full of shops, restaurants, subway stations on at least one level, commuter trains on another. Busy, can be crazy but quite pleasant in some ways. Here’s the website for Metro-North
    http://www.mta.info/mnr/ where you can check schedules and fares OW and RT. If you could figure out which entrance that would make it easiest to get to the trains, you might ask your taxi driver to drop you off there–I’ve never tried that myself. One things that is wonderful about New York public transportation is that signage is very good–that is once you figure out where you need to go there will be signs directing you there.
    If I remember right about the trains you buy your ticket in one area. Then go to a big lobby with lots of ‘gates’ and then wait for that train to come into the station–once it’s there they call it–but don’t depend on that. Then you can walk down a flight of stairs at your gate to get on the train. I believe you can also buy your ticket on the train. Obviously the busiest time to go north would be at the end of the business day–rush hour–with the am being the busiest time to come back to the city.

    Note 1: You could catch Metro North at 125th ST in Harlem–which is a much less busy crazy place. Here’s a map that shows the stops.
    Note 2: you can take a bus from LaGuardia to the Harlem 125th ST stop. It’s the M60. That would cost $2 correct change rather than $30 or so taxi. And it’s not that much more complicated unless you have a lot of luggage. You just follow the signs in the airport to ground transportation–then look for stop for city buses or ask someone.
    Note 3: Metro-North will stop at every stop. You can also take an express bus like Peter Pan which would probably be faster–but that would mean you’d need to go the Port Authority. Here’s Peter Pan’s info

    Is that enough information? sorry if I’ve provided so much it’s confusing.

  5. Dana says:

    As you can see, quite a number of options, probably too many. If it were me and I needed to fly into one of the NYC airports without knowing the city, I’d fly into LaGuardia and pay the extra $ to take a cab from LGA directly to Grand Central. Skip the hassle. LGA is the closest to New Haven and closest to Manhattan.

    Public transportation from LGA and Kennedy are not as easy as they should be. Newark has an easy train into Manhattan but it goes to Penn Station.

    Once at Grand Central, there is an information kiosk that can direct you to the correct line.

    Sorry I won’t be around the week you’re in, would have loved a get-together.

  6. J C Sprowls says:

    As it happens that I’ll be in Union, NJ the week of 03/26 thru 03/28 for dayjob. If you’re planning to do something in the city on Saturday and return home that evening, I’m happy to extend my stay and come back to Denver on Saturday, too. I’ll be flying in and out of Newark.

    Sadly, the business trips I’ve taken to NYC were always rush, rush, rush. I’ve only ever seen the city from a cab or hired car. As such, I have no bearings beyond reading maps and blogs. As far as telling which public transit will help you, I’m also at a loss.

    From what I understand, the NYC Garment District is a strict Monday thru Friday 8: to 4: type of adventure. So, a Saturday sourcing trip is likely to be uneventful. A shame, too. I really need to get to Beckenstein’s to look over suit fabrics and buy sample lengths.

  7. Alice says:

    Kathleen!!! NYC & Yale – both my stomping grounds. My rec, clean and simple –

    1) fly to JFK, exit to ground transportation

    2) take NY Airport Service limousine bus to Grand Central
    http://www.nyairportservice.com/ – EASY- usually one waiting or on its way at 1st ground transportation kiosk, pay cash at time of boarding $15

    3) walk across the street to the main entrance of Grand Central, buy ticket to New Haven from friendly machine – take Metro North to New Haven. You will see the “big clock” in the middle of the lobby – you can find train schedules here or look to your right for the big board. All New Haven lines go to New Haven – you are going to the very last stop so limited/express is best. Your track will be either to your left or downstairs.

    4) if you have time get a snack from food court downstairs

    5) have your host pick you up at the train station – I’m surprised she didn’t offer. It’s just five mins away from campus.

    Call me for more details if you need them (where to eat, places to eat/checkout at Yale)! It’s tooooo painful for me to type – RSI really bad. Fingertips tingling.

  8. If you would like to fly into Hartford, I will pick you up and deliver you to New Haven. I would love to meet you. The NY thing can be overwhelming and frustrating. Email me. What is the speaking engagement? Can blog readers go?

  9. Marketa says:

    As a someone that lives in NY, drives in NY and flies in and out of NY (all 3 airports under my belt), I strongly recommend you fly into Hartford if you can. The airport is much smaller, less crowded and easier to navigate. And the added bonus is NOT having to take the train, which can be a royal pain. Just think about how many times you’d have to carry your bags around if you’re hoping from one form of transportation to the other.

    Trust me, go the most direct route. It will be quicker, smoother and less stressful.

    Good luck :)

  10. Like several of the previous speakers said, your best bets are probably LaGuardia or Hartford. Having someone pick you up at Hartford is probably a good idea. There may even be shuttle services to the New Haven area.

    On the other hand, Newark Airport to Amtrak is doable. (There’s a monorail that goes directly from the terminals to the train station.) It’s about 2 hours or so on the train from the airport to New Haven.

    Forget JFK; it may connect directly to the subway, but it’s just too far. And believe me, you don’t want to be lugging suitcases on the subway.

    If you do stay an extra day in the city, what would you like to do or see? As one blogger to another, I’d love to meet you.

  11. marialexandra garcia says:

    HI Kathleen, I was going to suggest flying to LAG. I see its a popular suggestion. I have a trip planned to NY the week before, I will try to see if I can arrange my dates see if we can meet up. I would love to finally meet in person.

  12. Kelly says:

    Hi Kathleen,
    Is your speaking engagement open to the public? I’d really like to come and listen, and meet you. I’m a student at Yale and your blog has helped me very much. Please let us know details if we can come.

  13. Kathleen says:

    Is your speaking engagement open to the public? I’d really like to come and listen, and meet you. I’m a student at Yale

    Actually, I think this event is *only* open to Yale students since it’s the university who’s sent for me. I doubt the public can attend. So sure, plan on coming, Thursday March 27th, 4:00 PM at the Master’s house of Trumbull College. If you’re not allowed to each other’s events, get a message to Lina Chen (my student liaison) or the Master’s office. It’d be great to meet Yale students regardless of which college.

    Afterward, the students are taking me out to dinner, I don’t see why you couldn’t tag along but I’m not the boss of it (ask Lina). I’m sure Lina would be happy to meet other F-I people on campus.

  14. colleen says:

    I, too, would suggest flying into Bradley (in Windsor Locks, CT) or Hartford. The plane, train, cab…gets tiring! Perhaps you can visit NYC for a few days after you’ve wrapped up your talk/Yale visit. After a few busy NYC days, you’ll be happy to relax on the Amtrak/Metro North ride to catch your return flight.

    Loro Piana (produces camel hair, cashmere) has a manufacturing facility in Stafford Springs, CT. Their phone number is (860) 684-2766 (press O for Operator to connect with an actual person). They used to offer tours of the manufacturing facility and sell fabric. If you’re interested, call to confirm. Also nearby was an antique shop that used to house a shell button company. Although I bought some of the vintage buttons, I don’t have the contact info. The driveway was “sparkly” because the poor quality shells were tossed out of a second story window! I remember it being right around the corner from Loro Piana, but…it’s been years.

    Pack a snack (or several). I moved to CT after living in NYC for 10 years and it was culture shock! It seemed that everytime I ordered a salad, I’d get a pile of iceberg lettuce topped with a tasteless tomato.

  15. Marie-Christine Mahe says:

    Forget the Grand Central nonsense – fly (cheaply) into JFK or La Guardia (I second ‘Newark is a mess’ post) and then… take a shuttle directly to New Haven http://www.ctlimo.com/ MUCH easier! Directly to downtown New Haven, in less than half the time. But do have someone from Yale pick you up at the limo station, because you’ll be swindled thoroughly by any taxi you can get a hold of, if you can get one. And that’s the least they can do, they’re used to it so don’t take no for an answer.

    Mind you, you can also go back by train to Grand Central, and take an airport shuttle from there. Allowing for some of the best fabric shopping in the world (and cheapest). You haven’t lived till you’ve seen Peron, and you really should come with a plan, so you don’t get totally overwhelmed. Spandex House is great too. I’m sure you can get plenty of advice about -that- :-).

    Bradley is a nice little airport, if big ones stress you out. And having an admirer provide the ride is always nice :-). But you’ll probably pay a lot more for your plane ticket.

    And don’t forget to bring a big coat and snow-worthy boots! You’ll be shocked by the weather difference.

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