8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

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8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby texasdiver » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:02 pm

I'll be flying back from Santiago Chile to DFW with my wife and 3 girls in early January and or cheapest flight option puts us into an 8 hour layover in JFK from 7:10 a.m until 3:40 pm. It would cost me an extra $1400 to get a direct flight from Santiago to DFW so I figure we can handle 8 hours in JFK

My question is this. I have only rarely ever flown out of JFK and don't know the area. Would an 8 hour layover give us enough time to actually do anything away from the airport in NYC or is that a foolish errand and should we just hunker down and wait it out?

My other question is whether there are any good options for paying for a better place to hang out for 8 hours with 3 girls ages 7, 10, and 15. Maybe a hotel room in the airport or one of the airline lounges where we might be able to pay for a 1-day pass? Have any of the rest of you tried to do something like this so you don't end up waiting 8 hours in uncomfortable terminal waiting area seats?
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby Sheepdog » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:05 pm

Lots of people ask that question for this airport and others. GOOGLE jfk layover things to do to find some ideas.

Also GOOGLE this: jfk airport new york tours which may give you better ideas.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby texasdiver » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:14 pm

Sheepdog wrote:Lots of people ask that question for this airport and others. GOOGLE jfk layover things to do to find some ideas.


What do you know, there's a web site dedicated to answering this exact question for every airport in the world

http://www.layoverguide.com/

Thanks!

Of course for us, we'll be arriving on an overnight flight from Santiago so it will be a question as to whether the kids will be in the mood to actually do anything outside the airport or whether they will just want to vege out and sleep. A 1-day pass to one of the airline clubs might be the best answer where we can find them comfortable couches and internet access for their screens.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby nedsaid » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:37 pm

I was faced with a similar decision on my last vacation. Had a 6 1/2 layover in Amsterdam.

Took the train to the main train station in Amsterdam. Walked around for about 3 hours and took in Dam Square, the floating flower market, and visited the Mint Tower. Wasn't a lot of time, but it sure beat sitting at the airport. The train ride back and forth to the airport was also enjoyable. The downside was that I had to go through security screening all over again but it was worth it.

Certainly with an 8 hour layover you could do something. Having kids in tow makes a huge difference. Come up with a plan and an alternate and make up your mind when you get there. If you all arrive at the airport exhausted, that pretty much makes the decision for you. It your family has some energy and a sense of adventure, a side trip to NYC would be a fun adventure.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby Valuethinker » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:49 pm

That there is no direct rail link to central NYC is one issue-- you have to change to the subway. We have taken cabs, and when timing is good (ie not rush hour) you can do that, it seems, in about 45 minutes (from vague memory). When it's bad, it can take 90 minutes. NYC being NYC, rush hour can be a lengthy thing.

With flights to the USA from other countries eg from London, there are long security delays and 3 hours at the airport is advisable (you can do it in 2, but sometimes you can't, and the cost of missing a flight is usually prohibitive). I don't know how much that applies vis a vis internal flights in the USA.

I am wondering if there is something you could do without going to Manhattan? That would mean, essentially, in Brooklyn or Queens.

If you are sure you have the time then:

- see Ground Zero
- go up Empire State Building
- visit Central Park

Those would be my 'top 3' with kids. Other than the Bronx Zoo, but I am not sure how easy that is (being N by NE) to get to from JFK (being S by SE).
Last edited by Valuethinker on Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby Valuethinker » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:50 pm

nedsaid wrote:I was faced with a similar decision on my last vacation. Had a 6 1/2 layover in Amsterdam.

Took the train to the main train station in Amsterdam. Walked around for about 3 hours and took in Dam Square, the floating flower market, and visited the Mint Tower. Wasn't a lot of time, but it sure beat sitting at the airport. The train ride back and forth to the airport was also enjoyable. The downside was that I had to go through security screening all over again but it was worth it.

Certainly with an 8 hour layover you could do something. Having kids in tow makes a huge difference. Come up with a plan and an alternate and make up your mind when you get there. If you all arrive at the airport exhausted, that pretty much makes the decision for you. It your family has some energy and a sense of adventure, a side trip to NYC would be a fun adventure.


Amsterdam and Schipol are a lot better configured for this than JFK. There is a direct train downtown, a lot worth seeing right around the Amsterdam Central Station. It's a very small city. NYC lacks those direct rail links. And it has insane traffic. And even in Manhattan things are not *that* close together, when you factor in the traffic and people density (I agree their are 'clusters' eg Central Park, Times Square etc).
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby texasdiver » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:00 pm

I think the best plan will be to be ready for multiple options depending on our condition, the weather, and the timing.

We'll be traveling from Texas where the weather is mild to Chile where it will be mid-summer and hot and so I probably won't want to drag along a lot of bulky winter clothing across 2 continents just for a possible short winter excursion in NYC.

I did find via tripadvisor that there are various small family-oriented tour operators that will pick you up at the airport or wherever you want and give you a guided tour to wherever you want in their car or van and then drop you back off. That seems the best option for an excursion with 3 kids in tow rather than messing with taxis and public transport.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby Pajamas » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:02 pm

You could try to leave the airport and have a nice lunch but you would have to allow PLENTY of time for transportation and have to go through security again in exchange for four solid hours of activity. It really doesn't sound like a pleasant way to end a vacation when you are already flying so much that day.

With that time frame and a 7 year old, why not use an airport lounge such as the new one at JFK? If you have AmEx Platinum, it's free, or it would be $25 or more each without but would include a light meal and unlimited snacks and beverages.

http://www.airspacelounge.com/jfk/

There are some decent places to eat at JFK. Your children would probably enjoy Shake Shack. People line up for 45 minutes at Madison Square Park for Shake Shack.

http://ny.eater.com/archives/2013/05/wh ... _jfk_2.php
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby nedsaid » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:28 pm

I have been to JFK twice. It is a massive airport. And I do realize it is a lot different than Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. Valuethinker, you brought up a lot of great points. Doing a trip to NYC from JFK is more difficult than a trip from Schipol to Amsterdam.

And you are right, in certain areas of NYC one experiences a crush of people. I was in NYC for three nights and two days back in 2010. It was quite an experience. I liked NYC but found it a bit intimidating. Spend my time in Queens and Manhattan. Didn't get to go to the other boroughs.

It does seem that even with all the obstacles, that some sort of outing could be done. I like the idea of having a tour company picking up the family at the airport and dropping them off afterwards. There has got to be someone in business that does something like that. And it would be a nice adventure for the family.

The key would be to be flexible and have some things planned out ahead of time.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby texasdiver » Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:40 pm

nedsaid wrote:I have been to JFK twice. It is a massive airport. And I do realize it is a lot different than Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. Valuethinker, you brought up a lot of great points. Doing a trip to NYC from JFK is more difficult than a trip from Schipol to Amsterdam.

And you are right, in certain areas of NYC one experiences a crush of people. I was in NYC for three nights and two days back in 2010. It was quite an experience. I liked NYC but found it a bit intimidating. Spend my time in Queens and Manhattan. Didn't get to go to the other boroughs.

It does seem that even with all the obstacles, that some sort of outing could be done. I like the idea of having a tour company picking up the family at the airport and dropping them off afterwards. There has got to be someone in business that does something like that. And it would be a nice adventure for the family.

The key would be to be flexible and have some things planned out ahead of time.


Found these folks: http://www.familyinnewyork.com/

I'm sure there are other small scale operators who will do something similar
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby gkaplan » Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:18 pm

Back in February of 1987, I had something like a fifteen hour layover in JFK. I must have just missed the last flight out of JFK to LAX. I hung around the airport for those fifteen hours because I was tapped, and I was severely under the weather. I think I spent about half those fifteen hours dragging my heavy, non-wheeled suitcase going back and forth to the restroom. For the first time in my life, I was overjoyed when we touched down in LAX.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby stan1 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 4:32 pm

You could end up spending a good part of the $1400 savings on this excursion.

Remember clearing through immigration and customs can take up to 2 hours at a busy time and you would want to be back at the airport 2 hours before the connecting flight so now you are down to 4 hours. I'd go for the lounge pass or park the family at a gate that isn't being used and let them plug into electrical outlets to charge up their devices.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby likegarden » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:40 pm

I just came back via JFK from Berlin, Germany. A week ago I flew from JFK to Berlin.
You have to be careful in planning any trip away from JFK. I took the NYC Airporter bus between Penn Station (railroad) on 7th Avenue and JFK, total cost both ways was $29. This trip can take you 2 hours each direction, is very noisy and confusing. I am 73 years old and I would rather stay at JFK and not miss any flight! It actually took me 5 hours between arriving in JFK and leaving Penn Station with a train to Albany, NY.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby tibbitts » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:51 pm

Spend the extra $1400 - assuming you can't find a sale for less - and fly direct, unless you want to spend at least a couple of days on an actual excursion to NYC. However, more than a layover would make for a separate leg for the trip, and might change the savings equation considerably (not in your favor.)

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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby Rob5TCP » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:42 pm

The biggest problem is time. As stated, to/from the city, by taxi can be 45 minutes or over 90 minutes depending on traffic primarily , also road repair crews can slow it down.
If you were there in the spring I might have suggested Jamaica Bay wildlife refuge about 4-5 miles away. In winter, this place would be horrible (unless really prepared).


As mentioned on trip adviser, Flushing is $20 or so from JFK and had some terrific Chinese/Korean food. I am not sure what time they open.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g6 ... _York.html


https://www.google.com/#q=chinese+food%2C+flushing+ny

Queens Museum of Art, Flushing (if the expansion opens on time).
http://www.queensmuseum.org/

Lonelyplanet has some suggestions:
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/t ... ID=2277727

One of their suggestions is the NY Aquarium - at Coney Island (Nathan's is nearby)
it would only be the indoor exhibits because of the cold. Time wise it might be do-able.
You would probably have to take a taxi there and call a taxi service to return to the airport
(call them almost as you arrive and ask them to meet you in 1 1/2 hours or so).

Unfortunately all around JFK is kind of dumpy industrial "parks". Not the nicest of areas by any means.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby Rainier » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:42 pm

You don't need to be back at jfk two hours early. That is just armatuer hour. You will already be checked in and have seats to the connecting flight.

Honestly though, I would never consider jfk as a stopover from Chile to DFW.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby texasdiver » Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:18 pm

Rainier wrote:You don't need to be back at jfk two hours early. That is just armatuer hour. You will already be checked in and have seats to the connecting flight.

Honestly though, I would never consider jfk as a stopover from Chile to DFW.


Yeah. Seems weird. But it comes out much cheaper to fly the code-shared LAN Chile flight from Santiago to JFK and then connect to an American flight back to DFW than it would be to fly the nonstop from Santiago to DFW. Plus, LAN Chile is a FAR FAR Superior airline to deal with than American in my experience. In any event, with some more messing around with the flight options it looks like I can bring the JFK layover down to about 3 hours so that will probably be the best option. All of this is via the American Airlines web site so I'm not even doing anything creative like book different legs through different airlines.

When one is traveling solo then these sorts of cost issues seem less significant. But paying an extra $300 for a more direct connection comes out to $1500 when you are traveling with 5 and it starts to be real money.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby livesoft » Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:22 pm

I had a layover in Washington, DC, so I went to the Mall. Easy though with the Metro. Nevertheless, I got held up in security and didn't make it to my flight until after they had closed the plane door. Since my luggage was on the plane, they opened the door and let me on. I'm not sure they would do that nowadays.

For JFK, you could rent a car and go east on Long Island, say to the beach. January will be chilly though.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby Rainier » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:03 pm

You canbookthe tickets on AA, but at least play around with kayak first to check all the options.

Connecting through JFK in January is another risk in itself....snow storms. Chances are you wil be fine, but maybe not.

I'd try to cut the layover time, if not, get a premium lounge day pass.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby stan1 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:12 pm

A three hour layover on an international to domestic connection at JFK is the MINIMUM you would want. International flights arrive an hour late often due to winds, weather delays, and mechanical delays (or they can be an hour early). There are unexplained delays at immigration, baggage claim, customs, and rescreening all the time. There really is no way to know whether the whole re-entry process will take 45 minutes or 2 hours. I've been on the same flight where one month I breeze through TSA in 10 minutes and the next month there are thousands of people in line with me. Rebooking -- especially for a family of 5 with 3 kids lacking top tier frequent flier status -- could take days. Better to sit in the airport for an extra hour than risk missing a connection.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby grayfox » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:50 am

texasdiver wrote:I'll be flying back from Santiago Chile to DFW with my wife and 3 girls in early January and or cheapest flight option puts us into an 8 hour layover in JFK from 7:10 a.m until 3:40 pm. It would cost me an extra $1400 to get a direct flight from Santiago to DFW so I figure we can handle 8 hours in JFK

My question is this. I have only rarely ever flown out of JFK and don't know the area. Would an 8 hour layover give us enough time to actually do anything away from the airport in NYC or is that a foolish errand and should we just hunker down and wait it out?

My other question is whether there are any good options for paying for a better place to hang out for 8 hours with 3 girls ages 7, 10, and 15. Maybe a hotel room in the airport or one of the airline lounges where we might be able to pay for a 1-day pass? Have any of the rest of you tried to do something like this so you don't end up waiting 8 hours in uncomfortable terminal waiting area seats?


One time I had a flight from BOSTON to HOUSTON that connected in La Guardia. When I got off the plane in La Guardia I decided to visit NYC so I went up to the ticket agent and changed my ticket to a flight the next morning. There was no charge back then to change your flight. That was the good old days of air travel before they ruined it.

Then I took the a bus to mid-town Manhattan, checked into a hotel. I went to dinner and then saw a Broadway play.

Anyway, if I had 8 hours layover in JFK. I would take the Airtrain to Howard Beach Station and catch the A-train to 34th Street-Penn Station. It is about an hour ride, so I would plan on 1-1/2 hours each way. Then I would go to Pizza Supreme on 8th Ave and 31st St and get a slice of New York pizza. Plain cheese slice is $2.50 I would also get a slice of Sicilian pizza.

With a 3:40PM flight, I would try to catch the A-train at Penn Station back to JFK by about 12PM
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby 22twain » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:58 am

texasdiver wrote:8 hour layover in JFK from 7:10 a.m until 3:40 pm.


Customs and immigration upon arrival, and check-in and security screening (if you leave the secure area) on departure will eat up a lot of that time. I agree with other posters that you'd have only about 4 to 4.5 hours "in the clear." To get to Manhattan and have any usable time there, you'd probably have to shell out for taxis. You'd end up with maybe 1.5 to 2 hours in Manhattan if you're lucky.

As a train/subway buff, I would take the Airtrain to Howard Beach, then the A train to Manhattan, and emerge for a few minutes for pizza. Then the E or F trains to Jamaica and the Airtrain back to JFK. But there would be no time for anything else. I wouldn't do that with my wife or with kids.

Your kids might be interested in an Airtrain excursion to Jamaica and back. It's fairly quick, maybe 20 minutes each way. The route is elevated, so you get to see some of Queens, for whatever that's worth. You can probably find someplace to eat (not fancy!) in Jamaica, although I've never gone outside the station so I don't know firsthand what the neighborhood is like.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby tibbitts » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:38 am

Unless I'm missing something, at the point you get to jfk, you'll have already been awake for 14+ hours, most of it with you and your family stuffed into coach-class seats. Then you're wanting to do a NYC tour during the next 8 hours, and then stuff the family back into those same coach-class seats for another 4 hours for the trip back to dfw. Ugh.

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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby Rob5TCP » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:57 am

I usually change at Howard Beach but one time ended up at Jamaica. It was the afternoon and it seemed ok - nothing worth a trip for. Office buildings somewhat old, and the Long Island Rail road - as for eating, mostly fast food and nondescript places. This would be a waste of time.

The Howard Beach stop is a bit more interesting - near the water, a few local restaurants, but mostly a middle class
(with expensively priced homes) neighborhood.

One subway stop up from Howard beach is a large casino. I have never been there, so I do not know (and I don't gamble);
whether it's any good, or if there are things for the kids.

I hate to admit it, but there are not great alternatives in the time you have.
Air-train could be fun for 20-30 minutes and if you did not have to carry your luggage. Plus checking out the Howard
Beach stop for lunch, I just did a walk around via Google and there is one bar and grill plus a Chinese restaurant.
Probably ok quality since it caters to commuters.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby reggiesimpson » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:51 pm

Get a driver and cruise some sightseeing spots. Dont bother getting out except for a few quick photos.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby texasdiver » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:57 pm

Think you guys are right. We'll just get an Admiral Club pass and go chill out there for the duration. Let the kids crash and spend time on their screens playing games and watching movies. The fact that they have showers is almost worth the price of the pass alone.

From looking online it looks like the American Airlines admiral clubs get the worst reviews. Wondering if it might be worth switching terminals to get a one-day pass to another better airline club if we are going to be there for 5+ hours. Does one have to exit the secure area to change terminals and go back through screening like at LAX (or at least the LAX I remember) or can one get quick train access between terminals without leaving the secure area of the airport like DFW?
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby livesoft » Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:03 pm

Sign up for a United MileagePlus master card and get 2 free passes.

Also, you might consider splitting up in JFK. One gung-ho person goes to the Intrepid + SpaceShuttle by taxi. The others hang out in the club.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby sperry8 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:50 pm

With the kids, hire a driver and take them to Coney Island in Brooklyn. It's a 30 minute drive. You can play some games, ride some rides, have a Nathan's hot dog, and then head back to JFK. If you haven't already, sign up for Global Entry - you'll breeze right through customs (best $100 I ever spent). That'll give you more time to make sure you get back in time.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby DualIncomeNoDebt » Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:52 pm

texasdiver wrote:Think you guys are right. We'll just get an Admiral Club pass and go chill out there for the duration. Let the kids crash and spend time on their screens playing games and watching movies. The fact that they have showers is almost worth the price of the pass alone.


This is the right decision. This is pure insanity: arrive from long international flight, attempt Manhattan excursion, including to and from NYC via cab and massive traffic, accomplish it all within eight hours with kids in tow. Nightmare.

From looking online it looks like the American Airlines admiral clubs get the worst reviews. Wondering if it might be worth switching terminals to get a one-day pass to another better airline club if we are going to be there for 5+ hours.


No. I've been to JFK lots, and am an Admiral's Club member. The JFK AA Club is fine, and if I recall correctly, there is a seating area with a big screen TV usually showing sports, some side rooms, and rows of chairs facing the airport windows where it is pretty quiet. Free water, snacks, cookies. You'll have to pay for food more substantive, and it isn't great, but it is better than most terminal food.

Also, check pricing, whether you need one or two passes, and whether you can get the kids in. I don't know, don't have kids.

Does one have to exit the secure area to change terminals and go back through screening like at LAX (or at least the LAX I remember) or can one get quick train access between terminals without leaving the secure area of the airport like DFW?


Terminals are totally separate, and it's such a major hike that you will have to pay a cab to take you -- if you can find one, because those drivers want to get back to the city, not load you up and take you to another terminal for a three minute, low-fair ride. Totally not worth it, just camp at your terminal. JFK is horribly designed, its location sucks too. I don't like many of the employees either, many are loud and obnoxious, that "attitude" thing. All around, JFK is a really bad airport and I hate going there.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby stan1 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:59 pm

texasdiver wrote:Think you guys are right. We'll just get an Admiral Club pass and go chill out there for the duration. Let the kids crash and spend time on their screens playing games and watching movies. The fact that they have showers is almost worth the price of the pass alone.

From looking online it looks like the American Airlines admiral clubs get the worst reviews. Wondering if it might be worth switching terminals to get a one-day pass to another better airline club if we are going to be there for 5+ hours. Does one have to exit the secure area to change terminals and go back through screening like at LAX (or at least the LAX I remember) or can one get quick train access between terminals without leaving the secure area of the airport like DFW?


The AirTrain is outside security so you would have to exit and come back through. I would make the decision on the day you are at the airport. If you get through customs and have more than 2 hours I'd consider the day pass at the Admiral Club (less than that I don't think it would be worth $50). If the kids are hungry you'll want to eat outside the Admiral's Club anyways. If you have more than 4 hours you might get more creative and see if you can get a day pass at another airline's lounge HOWEVER you'd want to make sure they would even sell you a day pass if you aren't ticketed on their airline or if the airline even offers day passes. For example unless something has changed recently British Airways does not sell day passes. Check on FlyerTalk for specifics about the showers (number, typical availability) in the JFK Admirals Club (different than the Flagship Lounge, which you would not have access to with a day pass).
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby freebeer » Mon Sep 02, 2013 3:04 pm

texasdiver wrote:I'll be flying back from Santiago Chile to DFW with my wife and 3 girls in early January and or cheapest flight option puts us into an 8 hour layover in JFK from 7:10 a.m until 3:40 pm. ...


I would not go into Manhattan with 7 hours (if you take an hour to clear customs), you would have only 3 hours on the ground and some traffic risk. Since January will favor indoor activities, I would take the family to Park Slope and have breakfast somewhere , then walk over to the Brooklyn Museum as soon as it opens, have lunch at the cafe there, and then head back. Doing one way by taxi and the other by train (airtrain -> chg at Jamaica -> Atlantic & walk up the hill - or subway up) or both ways taxi if bad weather.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby Auream » Mon Sep 02, 2013 3:40 pm

Did you look into earlier flights from JFK? I was in a similar situation a couple years ago coming back from New Zealand, looking at a 10+ hour layover in LAX before making it home to SYR. Turns out I was able to pay the $50 same-day change fee (on American) and get right on a flight with almost no layover. Obviously, this only applies if there is actually an earlier flight available that has empty seats at the time you get into JFK. I believe most airlines offer a much lower priced same-day change fee (sometimes even free) vs the normal ridiculous $150+ fees they charge to change a flight in advance.

Personally, I would rather get home as soon as possible after being up that long rather than going on another excursion.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby protagonist » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:29 am

I don't know why people are discouraging you. It's New York!

As somebody remarked above, you are already checked in, have your boarding passes, bags checked, and have passed customs, so you only have to go through security on the way back.

Assuming you make it through customs efficiently, you could either take a taxi or public transportation...the subway involves one change in Jamaica and probably takes 1 hr- 1 1/2 hrs and would cost about $7.50 each way. Taxi would be faster if there is not much traffic, but if you are traveling in January in inclement weather during morning rush hour that may not be the case. Places in Brooklyn (Park Slope, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights) or lower Manhattan (eg Greenwich Village, Soho, Little Italy, Chinatown, Union Sq) may be a little closer than midtown and are great for eating and walking around. If you are with your daughters and they have never been to NYC it would be worth the experience for them and if you want to be in the thick of things you may want to go to midtown, which is more New York overwhelming though it is in many ways less fun. Or if you are museum types you could pick one museum and check it out.

Remember it will likely be colder than a bucket of penguin poop, so whether or not you are dressed for the weather may make a difference (coming from Chile to DFW).

YOu won't have much time in NYC but at least you can get a decent meal, stretch your legs, get the city vibe and walk around a little and it beats hanging out all day in the airport, even if your connections are terrible and you just have an hour or two in the city, assuming you are not carrying much baggage.

(If the idea is more hitting all the sights in record time- like you want to make sure your daughters get a 2 second glimpse at the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Bldg, Central Park, etc, a tour could work as well...but you would be stuck on a bus for hours and that is not my idea of fun, Might be perfect for others however. I'd rather pick a neighborhood and just scout it out).
Last edited by protagonist on Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby protagonist » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:55 am

A nice place to get a delicious meal, do some gourmet shopping, people-watch, maybe pick up some gifts for the folks back in Texas, and get some great gelato and pastries for the kids is Eataly on 23d and 5th. It is also well-positioned within walking distance of Times Sq, Empire State Bldg etc (midtown) to the north, and Union Sq and Greenwich Village/ Washington Sq Park to the south. And across the street from Eataly (if my memory serves me well) is the Flatiron Building, which, IMHO, is the most beautiful building in NYC (that or the Chrysler building).
Last edited by protagonist on Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:36 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby Valuethinker » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:33 am

freebeer wrote:
texasdiver wrote:I'll be flying back from Santiago Chile to DFW with my wife and 3 girls in early January and or cheapest flight option puts us into an 8 hour layover in JFK from 7:10 a.m until 3:40 pm. ...


I would not go into Manhattan with 7 hours (if you take an hour to clear customs), you would have only 3 hours on the ground and some traffic risk. Since January will favor indoor activities, I would take the family to Park Slope and have breakfast somewhere , then walk over to the Brooklyn Museum as soon as it opens, have lunch at the cafe there, and then head back. Doing one way by taxi and the other by train (airtrain -> chg at Jamaica -> Atlantic & walk up the hill - or subway up) or both ways taxi if bad weather.



I can vouch for the pleasantness of Park Slope (kind of Upper West Side, but in Brooklyn) and for the Brooklyn Museum-- which for example has a fine fine collection of Egyptology. If the BM were in any other city but NYC it would be a major museum, it just happens to be in NYC.

The park itself is also nice but perhaps less so in January.

I think the main issue is traffic risk which is fairly random in NYC it seems. So either OP books a minivan and has a quick tour (where you don't really get out and see anything, you just drive by it) or you focus on one destination-- BM would not be a bad one (depending on children's tolerance for adult museums).

I am thinking that companies that offer minivan tours must have an idea of what can be seen and done. Book one of those, and let the guide show you what it is possible to see of NYC in that time?
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby Aptenodytes » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:19 pm

There is a train to Manhattan, the Long Island Rail Road. Quick and easy. Takes you to Penn station. Walk around Times Square and maybe see a movie if you are tired. Several museums to choose from too.

The New York Hall of Science is about a 15 minute cab ride and might be appropriate for the age range you have. On the site of the 1964 world fair.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby bowest » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:43 pm

Eight hours would be tight. 7 am is rush hour for arriving flights from South America and parts of the Mideast. You could easily spend 90 minutes to clear immigration and customs at JFK unless you get lucky (or have the whole family on Clear). You will also have to claim and recheck bags for the flight to DFW since it's the first stop in the US, which will add even more time.

If the weather is mild (say above 40 F), the Coney Island suggestion is not a bad one. The Coney Island boardwalk and fishing pier (and Nathan's) are great even in winter if the sun is shining. Nathan's for breakfast and then Totonno's pizza for lunch! If it's the weekend it's a 25 minute cab ride. Weekday rush hour could run upwards of an hour. You can take a cab there but I'd arrange for car back. Skip Flushing. It's more like $45-50 each way by cab and there is nothing worth seeing there apart from some Chinese restaurants.

If you can somehow get access to another terminal, T4 (Delta) has a Shake Shack.

A brief trip to Manhattan is possible via AirTrain and LIRR commuter railroad (allow 60-90 minutes each way). Macy's is right across Penn Station on the LIRR. You could walk around, get some food and head back out on the train.

If you didn't have young children, I'd suggest Aqueduct Racetrack. It's a few minutes from JFK and you could catch the first 3 races and then head back to JFK. There is a racino there now, too, but it's awful and the children would only be allowed in the food court.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby Valuethinker » Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:55 pm

bowest wrote:Eight hours would be tight. 7 am is rush hour for arriving flights from South America and parts of the Mideast. You could easily spend 90 minutes to clear immigration and customs at JFK unless you get lucky (or have the whole family on Clear). You will also have to claim and recheck bags for the flight to DFW since it's the first stop in the US, which will add even more time.

If the weather is mild (say above 40 F), the Coney Island suggestion is not a bad one. The Coney Island boardwalk and fishing pier (and Nathan's) are great even in winter if the sun is shining. Nathan's for breakfast and then Totonno's pizza for lunch! If it's the weekend it's a 25 minute cab ride. Weekday rush hour could run upwards of an hour. You can take a cab there but I'd arrange for car back. Skip Flushing. It's more like $45-50 each way by cab and there is nothing worth seeing there apart from some Chinese restaurants.

If you can somehow get access to another terminal, T4 (Delta) has a Shake Shack.

A brief trip to Manhattan is possible via AirTrain and LIRR commuter railroad (allow 60-90 minutes each way). Macy's is right across Penn Station on the LIRR. You could walk around, get some food and head back out on the train.

If you didn't have young children, I'd suggest Aqueduct Racetrack. It's a few minutes from JFK and you could catch the first 3 races and then head back to JFK. There is a racino there now, too, but it's awful and the children would only be allowed in the food court.


This I think is my concern.

And you are through customs at 8.30 by which time NYC rush hour is in full bloom. You struggle into Manhattan by rail or road, and then you turn round and come back. 7 hours is an awkward time and missing flight a significant risk.

So maybe better (weather permitting) to go to Coney Island-- there is also a marine life museum there which is nice. At least from map (I've only ever visited that part of NYC by subway from the centre) that *is* doable.

Question? How much was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy? Is Coney Island still there? The marine life museum?

Really the only other thing I can think of (and I am guessing that it would be OK getting back-- but maybe you need to book transport in advance, how common are cabs in Brooklyn?) is to do Brooklyn Museum of Art/ Prospect Park (behind it).

The last thing is to get a minivan and have the driver drive you round Manhattan and back-- the best view of lower Manhattan is actually from Brooklyn Heights (right across the Brooklyn Bridge, and then overlooks it on the right ie to the south). You won't really have time to stop anywhere I don't think.
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby grabiner » Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:10 am

Valuethinker wrote:Question? How much was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy? Is Coney Island still there? The marine life museum?


Yes, the aquarium has reopened. http://www.nyaquarium.com/
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Re: 8 hour layover in JFK can we do anything?

Postby protagonist » Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:24 am

Valuethinker wrote: 7 hours is an awkward time and missing flight a significant risk.



Assuming they have a 7 hour window after clearing customs- Even if it took them 2 hours in each direction to get to NYC (which is pretty unlikely- trains run more often during rush hour and an hour to 1 1/2 hrs by subway each way I think is more realistic), and they allowed an hour upon return, that still leaves two hours in NYC. I think it is very doable- given the value of the experience, even an hour in the city would be worth the effort, especially if the kids have never been to NYC. Do they have skating in Rockefeller Center in January like I seem to remember from years ago, and do you need your own skates? (thinking about something potentially for the kids). Whether they want to save a little time and go to Brooklyn or go to Manhattan, I think would depend on what they want to do.
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