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I have a layover on a Sunday from 9:00 am to about 5:30 pm (the first leg is a domestic flight with AA arriving at LGA, the second leg is an international flight with Finnair departing from JFK). So I'll have an 8-hour window. I'm thinking about spending a couple of hours in Manhattan, just walking around (I think I'll only have a backpack). What is the best way in terms of transportation? (I don't consider Uber since it'll be too expensive.)

Let's say I want to go to the area near the Carnegie Hall and I don't want to spend more than $20-25 each way. (But even if I land at a different area of Manhattan, I think I can walk to another its part - as noted below, I'll have 4 hours.) At some point, I considered a shuttle, but the one I found starts operating at noon or something (on Sundays).

  • @choster Let's say I want to go to the area near the Carnegie Hall and I don't want to spend more than $20-25 each way. (But even if I land at a different area of Manhattan, I think I can walk to another its part - as noted below, I'll have 4 hours.) At some point I considered a shuttle, but the one I found starts operating at noon or something (on Sundays). – user76396 Dec 12 '18 at 20:49
  • Carnegie Hall is in Midtown so my Answer is the same though I noted this specifically. – Johns-305 Dec 12 '18 at 22:14
  • Do not take the M60. It doesn't go anywhere near Carnegie Hall and, let's be honest, there's nothing to see that far uptown. – Johns-305 Dec 13 '18 at 12:49
  • @Johns-305 the Q70 doesn't go anywhere near Carnegie Hall, either. In both cases you take the bus to a subway to get to midtown. And there are many interesting things to see and do in Harlem and Morningside Heights. Some people might even find them more interesting than midtown. – phoog Dec 13 '18 at 16:20
  • @phoog I Said, clearly, take the Q70 to Roosevelt Ave. One Answer says "LGA to Manhattan: M60 bus from LGA to Manhattan." Which is waayyy out of the way. I've walked and ridden through these areas, they're interesting for locals as something different, but it's like telling tourists to visit Orlando Premium Outlets instead of Disney Springs. – Johns-305 Dec 13 '18 at 16:29
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The Q70 doesn't go to Manhattan. You take the Q70 from LGA to Roosevelt Ave.

Then take either the E or F to Midtown (Carnegie Hall is on W57th Street) or near Times Square or further Downtown.

To get back, take the E to Sutphin Boulevard, then take the AirTrain to JFK. The AirTrain is $5 more but much faster then the bus.

You can substitute the Long Island Rail Road (faster, somewhat nicer but more expensive) for the subway by taking the Q70 to Woodside. Coming back from Penn Station, any train that stops in Jamaica where the AirTrain is.

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    It seems like the M60 might actually be the best option: web.mta.info/nyct/bus/schedule/manh/m060scur.pdf I've updated my answer. – neubert Dec 13 '18 at 3:45
  • @neubert No, definitely not. The M60 takes you way uptown, via 125th Street and ends somewhere near Central Park North. Nowhere near Carnegie Hall. – Johns-305 Dec 13 '18 at 12:48
  • "The M60 takes you way uptown": for the M60 to be the best option, you have to get off the M60 at the N train in Queens, which is 15 minutes from Carnegie hall, not take it into Manhattan. The F train station at 57th and 6th is currently closed for a long-term renovation project, but since the second avenue subway opened there is a cross-platform transfer to the Q at 63rd and Lexington. The Q stops at 57th and 6th. @neubert: which route is best depends on which terminal you're leaving from. – phoog Dec 13 '18 at 16:01
  • @phoog And I've commuted to/from various parts of Manhattan and CT 200+ times. Tried all of these. With the Q70 now, the easiest route is via the F to 57th Street which Express most of the way. – Johns-305 Dec 13 '18 at 16:07
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    @Johns-305 you cannot go to 57th street on the F for several months now (since July), although the MTA does say that the station is expected to open in December 2018. Google says the difference in travel time is ten minutes or less, so if I were at LGA I'd take the M60 or Q70, whichever came first. – phoog Dec 13 '18 at 16:12
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LGA to Manhattan: M60 bus from LGA to Manhattan.

Manhattan to JFK: Take the E line from Manhattan to the Jamaica-179th Station and then the Q2 bus to JFK.

Each one will take about an hour. It looks like you're already deducting the 2h early you're supposed to get to the airport from the window (9am to 5:30pm is 8h30m) so I guess doing it this way would give you about 4h in Manhattan.

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    Another plus for the M60 is that it goes over the Triborough Bridge, affording a glimpse of the skyline as you enter the city, whereas E/F/R/M take the tunnel, Some would argue Jackson Heights is more "real New York," showing hustle and bustle where ordinary people live and not just glitzy Manhattan. But on a 4-hour and presumably first-time visit, I say go with the glitz. There's a hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurant district in every town, but only one ESB or Times Square or 9/11 Memorial. – choster Dec 13 '18 at 6:05
  • @choster but to get to Carnegie Hall it makes most sense to change from the M60 to the N subway line at Astoria Boulevard, immediately before the bridge. The N goes right to Carnegie Hall. – phoog Dec 13 '18 at 7:19
  • @phoog The M60 takes forever. The F to 57th Street is half the stops. – Johns-305 Dec 13 '18 at 12:55
  • @Johns-305 I lived for nearly ten years one block from the Astoria Boulevard eastbound stop of the M60. It does not take forever to get to Astoria Boulevard, more like 20 minutes. From there it's 15 minutes to 57th and 6th. It might be worse these days with the construction at LGA, however. – phoog Dec 13 '18 at 15:56
  • Is the OP heading to Carnegie Hall, or just to Midtown? On a Sunday morning, I would take my chances with 4/5/6 frequency over the N. Admittedly, I haven't made this trek since the 2nd Avenue subway opened, and I've been avoiding LGA due to the construction. – choster Dec 13 '18 at 19:01

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