How to Travel From JFK Airport to Brooklyn by Train, Bus, and Taxi

JFK International Airport
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The John F. Kennedy International Airport is the largest of New York City's three airports and the nearest one to the hip and populous borough of Brooklyn. It's about 10 miles east of Prospect Park—17 miles from the Brooklyn Bridge—and the distance can be covered in about 30 minutes by taxi. However, taking cabs and rideshares from the airport is expensive (costing up to $75), so many choose to commute by train or bus instead.

  Time Cost Best For
Bus 1 hour, 15 minutes $2.75 Traveling on a budget
Train 45 minutes $10 Taking public transportation on a time crunch
Taxi or Uber 30 minutes from $60 Getting there quickly and comfortably

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From JFK Airport to Brooklyn? 

The bus is the cheapest way to travel into Brooklyn from the airport, with a single ticket costing about $2.75. Route B15 of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus runs from Terminal 5 all the way to Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, making stops in Brownsville on the way. The downfall is that it takes about 1 hour, 15 minutes. The B15 departs from JFK every 15 minutes and can be paid for with a regular MetroCard, which can be purchased for $1 from the airport kiosks.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From JFK Airport to Brooklyn? 

The fastest way to get into Brooklyn is also the most expensive: by taxi. Some (like the lime-green Boro taxi) can even be prearranged so that you won't have to wait in taxi lines. Otherwise, you'll find the official New York Taxis—the yellow ones that read "NYC Taxi" on the side—at designated stands outside of every terminal. Don't trust any taxi driver who approaches you at the baggage claim or who is located outside of the designated carousel, as they are often unlicensed and uninsured. Getting to downtown Brooklyn takes about 30 minutes and starts at around $60 (tip not included). Because the taxis run on meters, heavily trafficked times will be more expensive.

Using a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft is also an option at JFK, but it will cost you about the same. To find your Uber driver, head to the designated rideshare pickup spots outside of Terminals 1 through 4. From Terminal 5, Ubers can be found on the departures level.

Alternatively, you can rent a car for $30 to $65 per day from Enterprise, Budget, Avis, Hertz, or any other major rental company, all located on-site. Just beware of the notoriously aggressive driving, the traffic, and the strict parking laws.

How Long Is the Train Ride? 

The train is a perfect compromise on public transportation. It's much more comfortable and faster than taking the bus, and also wildly cheaper than taking a taxi. Travelers must first take the AirTrain from JFK to Howard Beach or Jamaica Stations, which takes about 12 minutes and costs $8 (payable by MetroCard). The AirTrain departs from JFK every 10 minutes and operates 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

From Howard Beach Station, you can transfer to the subway. The A line departs every 30 minutes and takes about 30 minutes to get to Jay St.-MetroTech Station in the center of Brooklyn. Another option is to take either the J line (local) or Z line (express) from Jamaica Center; the J will get you to the Kosciuszko St. Station (Bushwick) in about 30 minutes. It costs $2.75 for a single ride. Altogether, the trip should take about 45 minutes and cost $10.75. You can use MTA's Trip Planner to see real-time subway and AirTrain schedules and arrivals in real-time.

If you really want to cut down on travel time, you could take the Long Island Railroad, a commuter rail that runs from Jamaica Station to Atlantic Terminal in Downtown Brooklyn. The train ride lasts approximately 18 minutes, with one-way tickets costing $10.75 during peak hours and $7.75 during off-peak. Trains run frequently, around every 15 minutes or so.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to Brooklyn?

When planning your trip to Brooklyn, keep in mind that summer will be the busiest time. July is peak tourism season, followed by August and September. In the spring and fall, the temperature is less hot and humid, but the weather can be more unpredictable (spring rain, autumn snow). During winter, inclement weather can slow New York's public transportation down.

In any case, it's best to depart from the airport outside of rush hour times, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Otherwise, you risk crowded trains and buses that stop every couple of minutes.

What Is There to Do in Brooklyn? 

Brooklyn is known for its art, culture, food, and famous coffee scene. You'll never be too far from a coffee roaster or a brewery. During the summer, you could spend hours just walking around this borough and visiting the sites: the street art, Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This borough is home to the lively boardwalk and beach region known as Coney Island, which is particularly lively (and busy) on summer weekends.

When the weather is not so nice, you can always dip inside to one of the borough's museums: the New York Transit Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Children's Museum, or the Museum of Food and Drink. And when all else fails, you can hop on a subway and go into Manhattan, where the options for entertainment are near endless.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Is it cheaper to take a taxi or Uber from JFK to Brooklyn?

    It's usually cheaper to take a taxi from JFK to Brooklyn. If you're traveling to Downtown Brooklyn, you can expect to pay somewhere between $52 to $55, while those heading to Coney Island will spend $44 to $57. On the other hand, an Uber ride typically starts at around $60, although it can cost more or less depending on the time and day of the week.

  • Is the JFK AirTrain free?

    If you're traveling to or from JFK by Subway, the AirTrain costs $8 to ride. However, if you need to take the AirTrain to get to another terminal, a parking lot, hotel shuttle pick-up area, or rental car center, it's free.

  • Which airport is easiest to get to Brooklyn?

    If you're traveling to Brooklyn, JFK is your best option. It's connected by the AirTrain, an airport shuttle that will take you to either the Howard Beach or Jamaica Subway stations. From Howard Beach, you can ride the A line to downtown Brooklyn. At Jamaica, you can opt between the J and Z lines—both of which run through Bushwick and Williamsburg—and the Long Island Railroad, which will have you in downtown Brooklyn in 18 minutes.