Newark Liberty Airport is located 16 miles from midtown Manhattan in Essex and Union Counties between the New Jersey Turnpike, U.S. Routes 1 and 9 and I-78. EWR was opened in 1928 and quickly became one of the world’s busiest commercial airports.
Imagine us arriving late at the hotel by Newark Airport, with a flight back home the next day, in the afternoon. How to use the morning? Here it goes:
Leave the hotel early, and drive to the Liberty State Park. Visit the park, while waiting for the first boat to Ellis Island.
Visit Ellis Island museum, and take a picture of Liberty statue, without leaving the boat, to proceed immediately to Manhattan. Exit at Battery park, wander a while around Wall Street and City Hall, do our shopping at JR's, swallow a pizza in 2.45 minutes, watch gound zero works, and run to World Financial Center to take a Water Taxi back to Liberty State Park by $5. Get the car and drive to the airport, to deliver it at 3 PM. Easy, isn't it?
But... would it be possible to do driving to New York?
The first time I flew out of Newark was when I went to Puerto Rico in 2007. I had to catch a really early flight, 6:00, so I arrived at about 4:30 AM. Much to my amazement, loads of people take those early morning flights, which made navigating the airport terminals interesting. Anyway, I used the economy parking lot which turned out to not be very economical, over $140 for 7 days of parking. They did have a courtesy shuttle which picked me up in my no man's land parking lot and brought me to the correct terminal. I made sure to tip the driver a couple of buck because he helped me on and off with my luggage. There are over 20 different airlines which fly in and out of Newark and there is a Marriot for those unlucky travelers who either miss their flights or their flights get canceled. If you are having a bad day, you can visit the spa at terminals A, B or C for a little bit of pampering.
See the website for directions on how to get here, it can be confusing.
My sister said she would NEVER go to JFK. So we flew from EWR (Newark). She off loaded us about 3:30 (photo 2). I had printed out boarding passes, but the website told me that I still had to check in. I knew there was a fast drop for baggage, if you didn't need to check in and I went there - I figured the worst it could be is that they'd tell us we couldn't do it.
The man at the counter was effusive - he said OF COURSE we were checked in - we had boarding passes. So he took our suitcases and checked them through to SNN (Shannon). Then he tagged our boarding passes with a green sticker for a wheelchair. He did not ask to see my authorization for my grandson.
The sign at the gate said there was wi-fi, so I found a plug to plug the computer in and tried it. But you had to pay. So I just sat and edited photos (photo 3). I sent my grandson to see if there was anything to eat. He said there was just a bar. I bought a turkey sandwich ($8.29) and a smoothie ($3.39). We each ate half of the sandwich. But the smoothie was too dense and sweet.
The plane was loaded and ready to leave early (1815). However the pilot told us that Newark ATC was really screwed up and told us that we couldn't leave for a hour or so. After an hour he came on again and said that ATC didn't know when we would leave.
About 2100, they decided to go ahead and feed us dinner - the problem being that if a call came to take off, they'd have to take up the dinner and we wouldn't get any. Then as soon as everyone got their dinner the pilot announced that we were moving "off the stand" which I guess is the same as pulling away from the gate, and I told my grandson to eat fast, and eat the hot stuff first. He'd already finished his. We went out to the taxiway, and sat there. The pilot announced that they just wanted us 'off the stand' - we weren't going anywhere. I could feel my ankles swelling, but there wasn't anything I could do about it.
Finally about 11:30 or a little after, we were told to get back to our seats, and we took off (photo 5).
EWR is a well run airport, one of three that serve New York City. However on a reason trip I learned how crazy it is for International travellers to depart: You park in the garage, then take an elevator up. Then you walk across a pathway and take another elevator down. Then you walk along the ground floor and take another elevator up. However this elevator only goes to the 3rd floor so you have to walk to another elevator and take it one more floor up to the 4th floor departure area. I can't believe that anyone with much luggage would have ever designed this system!
Easiest way to get to Newark is from New York's Penn Station to New Jersey's Penn Station...indeed there are two of them...one in Newark and one in Manhattan..so don't get confused.
There's a train about every ten minutes. Just be careful as your New York Transit tourist ticket won't cover a trip to Newark...pay seperately at the the station at the New Jersey Transit Booth or Ticket Machines.
Newark is no different than any other New Jersey city when it come to driving to and around it. When on the highways, make sure you pay attention to the signs, the toll booths and the speed limit. It has been my experience that New Jersey folks tend to be a tad bit on the lead footed side. If you don't have an easy pass, make sure you have small bills for the tolls, otherwise you hold up the line and people honk at you in disgust while you wait for your change.
Newark is easily accessible from New York City. Trains run regularly from Penn Station in New York (31st and 8th Avenue in Manhattan) to Pennsylvania Station in Newark. In addition, PATH (subway) trains service Newark from Manhattan via Jersey City.
I wouldn't really recommend driving in Newark. Driving in a city your are unfamiliar is never a good idea, and New Jersey drivers are notoriously agressive. Newark has good public transpo to and around. You can take the train and it will drop you off any place you need or want to be. If the train doesn't go there, you probably don't have any business being there.
'THE LOOP' It's an exotic little purple van that takes you around 'the loop' of Newark for only a $1. We took over an entire LOOP vehicle with a screaming drunken crowd of 10, and told jokes to the driver and saw the vivacious downtown Newark from the comfort of solarized plexiglass windows