Traveling to Columbia and New York City

Airport Codes:

  • LaGuardia: LGA
  • Newark Liberty International Airport: EWR
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport: JFK

Maps:
The maps are useful for showing the general layout of New York and the location of Columbia University relative to each of the three major area airports.

Columbia has an interactive map of the campus.

Here is a Google Map of the area of Manhattan around Columbia University.

Another Google Map showing a car route from Newark Airport to Columbia.

Another Google Map showing a car or bus route from LaGuardia to Columbia. The M60 bus run by the New York City MTA follows this route exactly from LaGuardia to Columbia University.

A Google Map of JFK's location relative to Manhattan.

Summary:
There are a number of ways to get to New York City from the major area airports. Traveling to Manhattan is slightly easier from LaGuardia Airport and Newark Airport than from JFK. The CS Department has a page with slightly outdated information about getting to Columbia. The rest of this page contains our current advice for getting here.

For traveling within Manhattan itself, subway or taxi are the two easiest methods of transport. To ride the subway, you need to purchase a Metrocard. Taxi cabs accept only US cash (not Metrocards). The New York City Metro Transit Authority (MTA) has more information on subways, including a complete subway map. Please note that the subway station on line number 1 (the red line on the extreme West side or left of the aforementioned map) named "116th St. Columbia University" is the right destination when you take the subway to the Columbia campus.

Newark Liberty International Airport -> New York Penn Station:
One good way to get from Newark Airport to Manhattan is to take New Jersey Transit, which has detailed instructions on getting from Newark Airport to New York Penn Station. Please keep in mind that you should purchase your combined ticket for the AirTrain (the monorail service between the train station and the airport itself) and New Jersey Transit ahead of time at one of the NJ Transit ticket vending machines. Note that there is also a Newark Penn Station -- this stop is not what you want. New York Penn Station is the last stop on eastbound trains and is station code 000 on the NJ Transit ticket machines. The fare for traveling from Newark Liberty International Airport to Penn Station New York is $15.00 USD and includes both the AirTrain fee and the NJ Transit ticket to Penn Station. You can also use the NJ Transit Station to Station tool to plan your trip. Both the Northeast Corridor and New Jersey Coast line routes stop at Newark Liberty International Airport. When planning to catch one of these trains, you should budget at least 20 minutes after you have cleared customs and picked up your luggage to travel on the AirTrain to the actual NJ Transit train station. From NY Penn Station, you should take either a cab to your hotel or take the number 1 subway to 116th Street ("116th St. Columbia University"). To ride the subway, you will need to purchase a Metrocard.

The enterprising traveler can also take the AirTran from Newark Airport to Newark Penn Station and transfer to the PATH train to the newly opened WTC PATH station. You can then walk a few short blocks to the Chamber's Street subway stop for the 1, 2, and 3 trains.

LaGuardia Airport -> Columbia University:
The New York City MTA runs the M60 bus from the airport to Manhattan and stops at 116th Street, right in front of Columbia. MTA has more information. This is a fairly straightforward ride, but takes about 40 minutes (sometimes an hour in rush hour traffic). To ride the bus, you can buy a Metrocard. A Metrocard is also used to ride the subway. One way fares on the bus or subway are $2.00 USD (more fare information). Metrocards are not accepted by taxi cabs.

JFK -> Columbia University:
The MTA also runs service from JFK via the A subway line. Take the JFK AirTrain to Howard Beach station. Then take the A subway into Manhattan. Change to the 1 train at 59th Street. Take the 1 to 116th Street ("116th St. Columbia University"). For more information, including fare information, see the MTA's site on airport service (scroll down if you need to).

Blue Van Super Shuttle:
The shuttle is available at JFK and LaGuardia. It collects passengers and then continues to hotels, etc. It costs about $22.00 USD per person, so if you are traveling in a party, it is cheaper to take a taxi cab. You can contact them at: 1-800-blue-van (1-800-258-3826).

Useful Links:

Misc. Advice:

  • The Carmel car service can be reached at 1 800 922 7635 or +1 212 666 6666.
  • The tolls mentioned on the CS department's webpage are old. Some updated toll information is available for MTA-managed bridges and tunnels. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has other toll information [pdf].
  • *AVOID* people aggressively offering rides at the airport. This practice is actually illegal. Use only a yellow taxi cab. There are no legitimate parties that barter or act as a go-between. If you feel uncomfortable, you can always call a car service (see above).
  • If you are taking the 1 train from Penn Station, make sure that you are on the 1 (the local), not the 2 or 3 train (express), as they diverge after 96th Street. Please note that the subway station on line number 1 (the red line on the extreme West side or left of the aforementioned map) named "116th St. Columbia University" is the right destination when you take the subway to the Columbia campus.
  • Many of the instructions above assume the end destination are the main gates of Columbia University. You may wish to go to your hotel and relax first. In that case, you can take a cab from 116th or Penn Station. If you are comfortable, you can just take the subway to a nearby station and walk the rest of the way.