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Why is taking public transportation to NYC airports so soul-crushing?

Hannah Streck

Summer is almost upon us. That means it’s time for epic rooftop parties, long afternoons spent in the park and the need to GTFO of Gotham as fast as possible to escape the swarm of tourists invading the city. Unfortunately, there’s one massive hurdle to jump through in order to do that: the shit show that is taking public transportation to the airport.

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I’m starting to think the MTA, knowing how bad subway service is these days, decided the only way to ensure riders continue using the system is to literally trap them in the city. There are three major airports within a 20-mile radius of Manhattan, so why does it still take me upwards of three hours to get to the actual terminal? No matter how early I leave, I always feel like I need to pull a Sam from Love Actually and run through security.

Unlike basically every other major airport in the country, there’s no direct rail link to LaGuardia, so you have to take the bus. During my journey home for Christmas last year, after an hour train ride and being stuck on a bus on Grand Central Parkway for 45 minutes, my bus collided with another bus in front of the airport. (Almost made it.) Another time, the bus I was on accidentally skipped the airport stop and then made the passengers get out and walk across Grand Central Parkway in the dead of winter.

Meanwhile, the line for the AirTrain to JFK is sometimes so long, it’s as if you’re trying to board a Titanic lifeboat rather than an inconveniently located rail link to one of the world’s busiest travel hubs. LGA and JFK are undergoing major renovations, and there are plans to give Newark a slight face-lift in the near future. Maybe one day I’ll be able to reach one of the three without feeling that my trip should be over before it’s even started.


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