Posted January 16th, 2018, 07:01 PM
... plans are to meet a friend for lunch or something after I disembark the Gem on Feb. 3 ... not sure how Iíll be getting to LGA, subway is not out of the question ... will attend to the 3 hour lead time ...
Are you taking part in your sailing's Roll Call - Pat & Jim are on it (they are running Roll Call's sailing on the Gem later this Spring) & they know the Gem and NYC, inside out and can be a good onboard resources for you, with last minute stretegies on getting out to LGA, ship ran into an iceberg on the Hudson (just kidding), etc.
To maximize time with friend in NYC & a leisure lunch, it sounded like you are packing light enough to do the "Express" self walk-off, which is nice if the ships is running late or just in time. If it is back early like 7:30 or 8 AM - you don't need to rush off but if it's the oppoosite (you should have an idea the night before onboard) - join the big kettle for the rush to get off by 10 AM, allow 30 minutes from the gangway out to 12th Avenue - use the "secret" porter's fast track to get past CBP quicker. Putting you outside by 10:30 or earlier (if early - they will wish to "kick" everyone off the gangway by 10 AM even if you rather hangout in comfort inside
Pax walking off will be leaving the terminal from W. 48th Street & 12th Avenue - if you decided to brave the weather & walk ... and make plans to meet your friend for lunch, depending on where & how s/he is coming from - driving, walking or mass transit ? Time Square North is one possibility - walk over to 7th. Ave/Broadway - around 48th Street and find a place for lunch, maybe one of the nicer hotel's cafe (and, you can leave the bag with the bellhop instead of dragging it around)
Finish off your lunch by 1 or 1:15 PM, 1:30 PM at the latest, walk over to W. 50th Street & 8th Avenue, downstairs into the "E" subway line, express out to Queens for LGA - 74th & Roosevelt Ave. underground station for the free transfer to the Q70 SBS service to the airport (luggage rack equipped) - you will need to use a Metro (fare) Card & get a valid SBS bus ticket printed at 74th & Roosevelt, before boarding the bus. Time Square to Q70 is less than 30 minutes, even on weekend & Q70 to terminal is 15 minutes on average. Cost - $2.75 for the fare + $1 for the MetroCard.
Or, you can hail a taxi (metered fare), Uber (just be mindful of unexpected surge pricing, winter weather being one) or book a car service (Dial 7 or Carmel) to meet & pickup outside the lunch stop - allow 1 hour, weather & road conditions cooperating. Hitting LGA's terminal curbside by 2 PM is good, certainly not later than 2:30 for planning purposes - once you get checked in & beyond TSA to your gate area, you can sit back & relax ... airports are free WiFi enabled these days (Q70 SBS also + subway station's platforms/concourses)