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I'll be arriving to JFK airport in New York fairly late at night - flight arrival time is 23:10, so with passport control and luggage reclaim, I'm guessing it'll be about midnight by the time I get out of the terminal.

I will need to get to a friend's house in Downtown Manhattan where I'll be staying. Were it in the morning, I'd take the air-train connecting to subway. Uber quotes $85 (don't know whether that includes tolls). I suspect a regular taxi will be even more expensive.

What's the best way (on a balance of cost and time) to get there? I'm willing to spend a bit more to get their quicker/easier. I will have at most one piece of luggage (a small cabin size suitcase).

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    Obvious question: can your friend -- or one of their friends -- drive out and pick you up? (I'm assuming you've already thought of this and the answer is no but I figure it's worth asking just in case a facepalm follows.) – David Richerby Jun 28 at 14:31
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    @DavidRicherby Well, that would have been the easiest thing, but, no, he won't have a car that weekend. – Aleks G Jun 28 at 14:36
  • There needn't be tolls if your taxi takes the Brooklyn Bridge or the Manhattan Bridge. Also, what day of the week will you be arriving, and how far downtown is your friend's place? And why would the air train and subway be acceptable in the morning but not at night? – phoog Jun 28 at 14:42
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    Good point on bridges. He lives all the way down - near Battery Park. – Aleks G Jun 28 at 14:47
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If you're willing to spend a little more to save time, you should probably take a yellow taxi, especially if you're tired. The fare from JFK to Manhattan is flat; these days it is about $56 plus tips and tolls. If you tell the driver to take the Brooklyn Bridge, which has good access from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and to the FDR Drive, there will be no toll.

The air train and subway will be about 80 or 90 minutes (plus up to 20 minutes of waiting for the train) if everything goes well and there are no construction delays (which there often are on weekends and during late nights). The total fare is $7.75.

The taxi should be 40 to 60 minutes.

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    Thanks! Even if there are tolls, the yellow taxi ends up significantly cheaper than uber - I wonder why. $60 is not a deal breaker - sounds like the best solution to me. – Aleks G Jun 28 at 14:59
  • Do the airtrain and subway run all through the night or do the stop after a certain time. – Willeke Jun 28 at 14:59
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    @Willeke they both run all night. In the overnight hours, most subway lines run every 20 minutes, but the Howard Beach A train runs with that frequency more or less all the time except rush hours (because half of the A trains do not serve that line and the non-rush-hour service on the main part of the route is mostly every ten minutes). – phoog Jun 28 at 15:02
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    @AleksG I don't have much experience with Uber but I do know that their prices vary with demand. Perhaps you'd get a cheaper quote after you step off the plane. Taxis are normally very convenient at the airport, though; you just go to the taxi stand and there are a bunch waiting there. You might have to wait late at night, though; I have had to on one or two occasions, but I don't normally arrive at JFK at that time of day, so I don't know what it's likely to be like there. Some terminals' taxi stands are farther away, though, which might change the analysis. – phoog Jun 28 at 15:10
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    In the end I took a regular taxi. With tolls and tips came to $60 - cheaper than $70 that Uber wanted :) – Aleks G Aug 27 at 14:08

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