Worried about getting around Brooklyn? Don’t be. It’s a borough with an extensive public transportation system, waterfront ferries, and a fleet of new green taxis. Here are some tips on getting to Brooklyn from the airport, Manhattan, and other BK neighborhoods stress free.

L train – Broadway Junction photo courtesy of Genial 23 via Flickr.

From the airport
The easiest way to get to Brooklyn from New York’s two airports (both located in Queens), is to take a yellow cab. Depending on where you’re going, it’ll cost anywhere between 30 and 50 dollars.

jamaica-center-queens-lirr-long-island-railroad-3641261The LIRR at Jamaica Center, Queens | Jule via Flickr

Public transportation from JFK Airport
If you’re leaving JFK Airport to go to Brooklyn, hop on the JFK AirTrain. The AirTrain stops at the Jamaica station in Queens, where you will exit but not leave the station. Here, you’ll pick up a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train to the Atlantic Terminal stop in Brooklyn. Tickets range from $5 to $10, depending on what time you travel. The Atlantic Terminal stop is right in the heart of Brooklyn and is connected to the Atlantic Ave-Barclays Ctr 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q, and R subway trains. The trip from JFK Airport to Atlantic Terminal takes about half an hour.

Public transportation from LaGuardia Airport
Public transportation from LaGuardia Airport is trickier, as there is no subway or train that goes directly to LaGuardia. You will need to take a bus from LaGuardia and then transfer to a subway. You could take the Q33 or Q47 bus to the Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue stop (in Queens) to pick up the 7, E, F, M, and R subway trains. If this is your first time visiting New York, this option isn’t recommended — it’s probably worth it to take a cab.

atlantic-terminal-brooklyn-lirr-long-island-railroad-nyc-subway-8837659Atlantic Terminal entrance | Benjamin Kabak via Flickr

Taking the subway in Brooklyn
There are numerous subway options to travel within Brooklyn and into Manhattan — you can see an NYC Subway map here. The largest and most central transportation hub in Brooklyn is the Atlantic Ave-Barclays Ctr subway station, where you can catch the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q, R subways as well as the Long Island Railroad. The Atlantic Terminal hub borders the neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Downtown Brooklyn, and North Park Slope.

Should I rent a car?
You can easily rent a car at either airport and drive into Brooklyn yourself. However, the hassle of having a car in New York is likely not worth the trouble. The traffic is bad, the parking is worse, and public transportation in New York is so extensive that you can solely depend on it.

A sea of cabs | Kevin Case via Flickr

Taking a cab
Brooklyn has its very own taxi fleet! The NYC Boro Taxi program places green cabs in the outer boroughs, making travel easier outside of Manhattan. If you are staying in a dense neighborhood of Brooklyn like Downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Park Slope or Fort Greene, you should not have a hard time finding a cab along the main drag of your neighborhood. If you stay in less central neighborhoods like Crown Heights, Bed Stuy or Bushwick, you will have a harder time flagging a cab on the street.

Taking a cab from Manhattan to Brooklyn, especially late at night, can sometimes be tricky. Cab drivers are known to refuse to take riders into Brooklyn, although you should know that it is illegal for them to do so. Instead of telling cabbies your destination while you are standing outside the taxi, get inside the car first and then tell them where you are going. The cab driver is legally obligated to take you where you need to go, no matter the borough.

Livery cabs (usually black cars that are not regulated by the city) are plentiful in Brooklyn, but usually more expensive than a yellow or green cab. Be sure you have a price quoted to you before you decide to take a livery cab. And do note that livery cabs are usually cash only, while yellow and green cabs accept credit cards. It is technically illegal for a livery cab to pick you up on the street — you are supposed to call a car service to pick you up.


Uber and Lyft have become immensely popular options in Brooklyn, helping visitors and residents alike navigate the sometimes confusing mix of taxis and livery cabs peculiar to New York. Now you can use your smartphone to get a car where you want it, when you want it, without having to ask where the nearest car service is or waiting for the rare taxi to pass by.

new-york-water-taxi-pier-11-ikea-brooklyn-9981276New York Water Taxi | Thomás Fano via Flickr

Traveling by boat is an untraditional, fun and scenic way to travel around the Brooklyn waterfront. The East River Ferry stops in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Greenpoint, North Brooklyn, South Brooklyn and Dumbo. Other stops include Midtown Manhattan, Long Island City, Queens, Wall Street and Governors Island. Tickets cost $4 one way on the weekdays and $6 one way on weekends. Be sure to check the ferry schedule before you go, as it changes seasonally.

There’s also the New York Water Taxi, which travels from Pier 11 in downtown Manhattan to Brooklyn’s IKEA location in Red Hook, passing Governors Island and the West Brooklyn shoreline along the way.