My mom and I decided to try out going to the JFK airport by public transportation. Getting on the Long Island Railroad to Jamaica from Penn Station at 5pm on Fridays is always crowded, however, it is really hectic when you have two backpacks (one being a video camera), three large bags, and a skateboard.
From Jamaica station, we got on to the Airtrain and THAT was a comfortable ride. Taking public transportation to the airport beats being stuck on traffic during rush hour and it is a lot cheaper than car service fees. It was also great to experience being in a modern train, something local New Yorkers are not used to.
At the airport, things were the usual, including taking my shoes off on security check in line.
For information on taking the train from Manhattan to JFK, visit: http://www.mta.info/mta/airtrain.htm