The Long Island Railroad, or LIRR, has terminal stations at Penn Station in Manhattan, Long Island City in Queens, and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. If you don't have a car and want to explore Long Island, this train service can be a useful option. It is also a convenient way to get to JFK Airport. You can connect to the AirTrain JFK at Jamaica station on the LIRR (cost from Jamaica to JFK: $5). While the cost of using the LIRR is significantly more than using the Subway on weekdays ($9.50 during peak commuting times, $7 off-peak), a weekends-only special "City Ticket" can get you to Jamaica from anywhere in New York City on LIRR (cost $4, purchase the same day from touch-screen machines), and can be quite a time-saver for just a little more money spent.
If you are returning to New York from Long Island, Jamaica is also a useful stop to change trains. Normally, you are able to change among Express (nonstop) trains to Penn Station, Local trains (stopping at Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, and Woodside), and Local trains to Brooklyn (East New York, Nostrand Avenue, and Flatbush Avenue). Be sure to listen to announcements carefully when arriving in Jamaica. If you do change trains, be sure to take your ticket with you.
One final note: Those who wish to fly out of Islip's MacArthur Airport (Airport Code: ISP) can take the LIRR to Ronkonkoma, then change to either a public bus or a private shuttle. Check the website for details.
We took the LIRR (Long Island Railroad) from JFK to Penn Station on Manhattan - via the JFK Airtrain - when heading for Washington.
The Airtrain takes you from the terminal to Jamaica Station. $5 fare,which you pay as you leave. (The Airtrain is free if you’re just moving around the airport). At the same machine where you buy your Airtrain release ticket, you get your LIRR ticket to Penn Station. $8 one way at peak hours.
I takes about 20 minutes on the express. It was busy - as you’d expect at 9am - but not a problem. At Jamaica they have friendly staff on hand to help idiot touroids work the ticket machine and barrier. I needed both.
To visit places in Long Island, use the LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD.
Good trains and service, affordable prices. And you'll discover another great places of New York.
Trains departs from Penn St. in Manhattan
For those weekend trips to Long Island, there is nothing like the Long Island Rail Road service. Check them out at the Metropolitan Transport Authority's Long Island Rail Road information webpage at http://www.mta.nyc.ny.us/lirr/.