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JFK Airport: Driving Directions

How to Get to JFK by Car From NYC, Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey

By

AirTrain

AirTrain at Jamaica

Photo (c) John Roleke
Driving to JFK Airport can be a breeze or an unrelenting hassle. Go prepared.

DIRECTIONS FOR DRIVING TO JFK

Directions From Manhattan

  • Midtown Tunnel: Take the LIE east to the Grand Central east to the Van Wyck south. The Van Wyck leads directly to JFK.
  • Triborough Bridge: Take the Grand Central east to the Van Wyck south. The Van Wyck leads directly to JFK.
  • Williamsburg, Manhattan, or Brooklyn Bridges: Go south on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) to the Belt Parkway east. At exit 19 take the Nassau Expressway (NY-878), which leads directly to the airport.

Directions From Brooklyn

  • Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE): Take the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) south to the Belt Parkway east. At exit 19 take the Nassau Expressway (NY-878), which leads directly to the airport.
  • Jackie Robinson Parkway: Take the Jackie Robinson Parkway (Interboro Parkway) east to the Van Wyck south, which leads directly to JFK.

Directions From the East (Long Island)

  • Southern State: Go west on the Southern State. The highway's name changes to the Belt Parkway. Follow the signs for JFK at exit 20.
  • LIE or Northern State: Drive west on the Long Island Expressway (LIE) or Grand Central/Northern State to the Cross Island Parkway (or the Meadowbrook Parkway) and go south to the Southern State Parkway/Belt Parkway. Then drive west to exit 20 for JFK Airport.

Directions From the North (the Bronx, Connecticut, and Upstate New York)

  • I-87 (NY Thruway): Drive south on the Thruway to the Major Deegan Expressway, and then to the Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95). Then go east on the Cross Bronx to I-678 south across the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge to the Van Wyck Expressway south. The Van Wyck goes straight to the airport.
  • I-95 (New England Thruway): Go south on the New England Thruway (I-95) to the Bruckner Expressway. Take the exit for I-678 south across the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge to the Van Wyck Expressway south (I-678), which goes straight to the airport.
  • I-84/I-684: Go south on I-684 to I-287 and then west on I-287 to I-87 NY Thruway to the Major Deegan Expressway. Switch to the Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95) east, and then follow I-678 south across the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge. From the bridge take the Van Wyck Expressway (I-678), which goes directly to JFK.
  • Alternate Route from the North: Listen to the traffic report on 1010 Wins radio as soon as you approach the Bronx. If there are delays on the Whitestone Bridge, follow signs for the Throgs Neck Bridge. From the bridge, follow the Cross Island Parkway south to the Belt Parkway/Southern State west. Follow to exit 20 for JFK.

Directions From the West and South (New Jersey)

  • I-78: Go east on I-78 to the New Jersey Turnpike south to Exit 13. Cross the Goethals Bridge to Staten Island, and follow Staten Island Expressway (I-278) to the Verrazano Bridge. Exit the bridge to take the Belt Parkway east. At exit 19 take the Nassau Expressway (NY-878), which leads directly to the airport.
  • I-80/I-280: Go east on I-80 to I-280 east to the NJ Turnpike south to Exit 13 for the Goethals Bridge. Take the bridge east to Staten Island, and follow Staten Island Expressway (I-278) to the Verrazano Bridge. Exit the bridge to take the Belt Parkway east. At exit 19 take the Nassau Expressway (NY-878), which leads directly to the airport.
  • Alternate Route from New Jersey: Just after the Verrazano Bridge, exit to Ft. Hamilton Parkway (east) to Linden Boulevard (NY 27). Take Linden Boulevard to the Nassau Expressway directly to the airport. Note: Linden Boulevard is not a highway, but a thoroughfare through the heart of Brooklyn.
Driving Times and Traffic Conditions Because traffic conditions in NYC, especially routes involving bridges or tunnels, can be unpredictable, it is best to allow yourself extra time to reach JFK and your flight. From Manhattan it takes a minimum of 30 minutes to reach JFK by car, but if there is heavy traffic, it could take two hours. Consider the many public transportation options.

Tip on Avoiding the Van Wyck
Driving north from JFK, taxi drivers often skirt the Van Wyck's southern lanes by driving on the access road through South Jamaica. This road is a great alternative. Just make sure to rejoin the Van Wyck before you reach Atlantic Avenue, where local traffic can get nasty.

If at all possible, avoid the Van Wyck during the day. This highway is so bad that it was a running joke on Seinfeld: "You took the Van Wyck? What were you thinking?" The AirTrain to JFK now runs silently above the Van Wyck casting jealousy on all drivers below.


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