I think this question is based on:
a) The misinformed perception that JFK is the more desireable, flagship airport of NYC (popularized by many movies, etc.).
Hang on, there.
This perception is real and not just some bizarre creation of "movies, etc." (What movie takes a stance on this question, for that matter?) You're welcome to argue the perception is misinformed; personally, I tend to think that debate boils down to "East Side folks+Queens" versus "West Side folks+NJ." Neither airport is particularly desirable or user-friendly, in my view.
Yes! As an East Sider, there is now way I want to use EWR. It would take me twice as long to get there just due to having to get over to the West Side through tons of traffic and congestion at the Lincoln/Holland Tunnels. The Van Wyck is a nightmare, but I feel I can predict that better. If I lived or worked in the West Village or Tribeca, I'd probably feel different. Nobody in Queens, Brooklyn, or LI would prefer EWR vs. JFK. Nobody in N.J. wants to go to JFK. I'm not sure how people in the Bronx or Westchester feel--they might be 50/50.
The bottom line is that the NYC metropolitan area is huge, both in population and geography--one of the largest in the world. We are actually quite fortunate to have a choice here. It means a lot of people don't need to schlepp twice as far to the airport if we only had one "mega airport"--especially when considering our history of poor investment in public transportation (thank you Robert Moses). In my case, it's UA's loss and DL & AA's gain. But UA wins for West Siders and New Jersey residents.
And once and for all, no we aren't going to close LGA!
That was my point. I'm well aware, as are both of you, that the balance between the three major airports in terms of preference has nothing to with how nice they are or how much catchet they carry, but where they are physically placed and what routes they offer. The perception exists, and it does so within the minds of people not from NYC, because they don't think as much about the geographic realities of the place.
I'm not sure why both of these posts are calling me out when you're both supporting my statement.
As for movies? Lots of popular culture features mention/depiction of JFK. It's the 8th most featured airport worldwide in film (EWR doesn't even make the top 20, obviously, while DTW does), and has been a major setting in Catch Me If You Can, When Harry Met Sally, Goodfellas, Live and Let Die, The Terminal, etc. The list goes on. JFK was named and "featured" (it wasn't really JFK) in Crazy Rich Asians too, if you want a more recent example. EWR can make no such claims. It's biggest role was perhaps in Scent of a Woman - where it was filling in for Logan International. Like it or not, these pop culture references help push the idea that NYC has one major, desireable airport. That is part of the reason questions like these come up, and why the context is so useful.