We stayed in Cranford, NJ for the night after a show in nearby Scotch Plains, originally we were going to drop the car off at the Newark airport and carry our backpacks all day but then I won a guitar, and who, besides the Naked Cowboy, lugs a guitar around New York? So we asked at the hotel desk and they said we should drive to Linden and take the train from there.
It's a different line but it's still NJ Transit, the same as from Newark airport, and we stopped at the airport both directions. It was $8.50 one way, $17 round trip so even though we were further away it was cheaper than the airport, partially because of the cost of the Air Train from the airport to the NJ Transit station. The ride was about 40 minutes. There was a $5 charge for parking, on a Sunday there was no problem finding a spot.
There are multiple options to get to and from Newark Airport into Manhattan but NJ Transit sounded like the best for us. From the airport you have to take the Air Train which is the interterminal transit system to the Newark Airport Rail Station, from there you take the train to New York Penn Station. It takes 30 minutes and the trains ran on time both ways.
The ticket is $13 each way, at EWR we bought round trip tickets in a machine, I remembered from the last visit that the lines NY Penn Station were long. Watch the screens for the next train, at NY Penn Station the airport train had a plane on it.
On the Newark airport website it says the Air Train is $5.50, it's part of the $13 ticket price we paid, there isn't an extra ticket or fare that you need to get. The Air Train is free if you are changing terminals, going to parking lots or picking up a rental car.
Make sure when you come back from Penn Station that you take your tickets off the train, you need them to get out!
To go to New Jersey you have several options.
You can get the bus at Port Authority 40th St and 8th Ave. 2nd floor where it is connected to the A,C,D,E trains.
You can also take the Path train at 34th st and 6th Ave which hooks up to the B,D,F,N,R,W,V trains.
These trains and buses often link directly with various outlet malls.
Since our hotel was located in New Jersey, we went to Manhattan by bus every morning. There was a bus stop right across the street from our hotel and Bus 320 to Manhattan ran every 10-15 minutes. The buses were quite comfortable and the 20-25 min bus ride to New York City only cost $3.15 (way to save on parking!), and it included a wonderful view of the Manhattan cityscape! New Jersey Transit buses stop at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, which is located at 625 8th Avenue (corner of 42nd St), just a few steps away from Times Square. Buses run until about 1:00 am, making it possible to enjoy a good night out in the city!
New Jersey is easily reached by going to the Port Authority bus station in NYC. If you are planning on going to a sports game or match in New Jersey then look no further. Walk inside the PA from the main entrance and go to the 1 to 10 ticket booths down the hall on the left side. They will sell you a 10$ US return ticket for the bus leaving from the bus station to Jersey to the Meadowlands Sports Complex. You will leave from the 3rd floor at gate 305 and the first bus leaves at 545pm. They leave often. The bus takes you from Manhattan to the sports complex and drops you off outside the stadium. As soon the game ends, the buses line up to take you back to Manhattan. Easy as pie and the journey only takes about 25 minutes. Enjoy :)
Since we were just coming in for the day from the Philadelphia area, we decided not to drive and took the New Jersey Transit instead. It took about 1 1/2 hours from Trenton NJ to New York's Penn Station, the train ride was comfortable. It was $21.50 off peak for the adults, $10.75 for children so it probably didn't save us any money but it did alleviate the stress of driving into the traffic mess of New York City.
A note about the Trenton train station, at night it becomes a little scary and the parking garage we were in closed it's main gate so I opted to wait near the station for them to pick me up since I had overdid it walking in my cast. No sooner than the rest of my family disappeared out of sight did someone approach me with the "my car is out of gas and I need a few bucks" story, he was polite and didn't come too close to me but it unsettled me all the same until a squad car arrived.
The NJ Transit commuter trains are by far the best way to travel into NYC from the Jersey 'burbs. Buses are also available in various counties and both train and bus are air conditioned (phew!) The bus was slightly more expensive than the train and ends up at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd. The train ends at Penn Station underneath Madison Square Garden.
All schedules and trip planners are available at their website..
Commuter Trains. Thank God for them. Ever since I was a kid, I loved taking the train into the city more than the bus or the car. The bus sucked cuz ... it was the bus. Car's sucked simply because of the typical hold up at the bridge or at the tunnels. But the train was steady and reliable. Plus, back in da day, after concerts at the Garden, me and my hoodlum friends would light up and drink on the train. Sometimes we'd get a conductor to join us. Those were the days!