New York's public transport system is relatively good and cheap, including buses and the subway. There are also the ever-present, although more expensive, yellow cabs. Unlicensed gypsy cabs should be avoided. It is possible to get around the city using a combination of these, or simply on foot. Walking is often the best way to experience the city, and during rush hours, when buses and taxis are caught up in the gridlock and the subway is overcrowded or delayed, it can also be the fastest way to get around. Generally though, the most efficient way to get around is the 24-hour underground system, especially as most of Manhattan's sights are near subway stations, although it can be confusing at first. Much simpler but slower, is the bus system, which is a good option for shorter distances or for travelling across town. The subway and bus fare are standard ($2.50); note that buses require the exact change in coins, not dollar bills. Driving in New York is not recommended as traffic is heavy, drivers aggressive and parking exorbitant.
GMT -5 (GMT -4 from March to November).
120 volts, 60Hz. Plugs are mainly the type with two flat pins, though three-pin plugs are also widely used. European appliances without dual-voltage capabilities will require an adapter.
The official currency is the US Dollar (USD), which is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards are widely accepted. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
The international country dialling code for the United States is +1. Mobile networks cover most of the country, including all urban areas, however unless you have a tri-band phone it is likely your cellular phone from home will not work in the United States. Internet cafes are prevalent in most towns and cities.
Ground Transportation Information is available in the baggage claim/arrival areas of all terminals and provides information on buses, shared-ride vans and limousines. The AirTrain links the airport to the subway, train and bus system, which go to the city centre. 'SuperShuttle Manhattan' is a 24-hour, shared, door-to-door service to anywhere between Battery Park and 227th including all hotels, and the service also operates to Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island.
Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, Enterprise and National are represented at all terminals. The AirTrain shuttles passengers between the terminals and the car rental offices.
Taxis are available in front of all six terminals, and the journey time to Manhattan is 40-60 minutes. There is generally a $52 flat fare to Manhattan (excluding tolls), other approximate fares include Brooklyn $59-$64, Bronx $48-$57, Queens $24-$33, Staten Island $67-$79, La Guardia Airport $34-$39, and Newark Airport $97-$102 (with a $17.50 surcharge). Tipping 15 percent is customary for good service. Only use taxis from the taxi dispatch booth and refuse offers from others.
Passengers can travel between JFK's six terminals on the free AirTrain. The entire loop takes eight minutes.
All terminals have ATMs, bureaux de change, bars, restaurants and a wide selection of shops. Travellers will be able to find most services in the terminals, including wifi, medical facilities, information counters, shoe-shiners and conference facilities.
There are two kinds of public parking at JFK. The long-term parking is four miles (6km) from the terminals and is served by the free AirTrain. Passengers are advised to allow 30 minutes to reach their terminal. The Central Terminal Area (CTA) parking is adjacent to the terminals and provides for daily parking needs. Signs to the parking facilities are colour-coded to indicate their proximity to the terminals. A Cell Phone Lot waiting area is located near the airport's entrance for drivers to wait for disembarking passengers.
Wifi is available through Boingo for $4.95 per hour or $7.95 per day.