We are being stationed at Ft. Totten in Queens. Is the buses too far?

we have no idea where to live but my cousin lived in this area and I loved visiting her. everything we needed was always so accessible but it was still rather quiet... as NYC goes. I have no idea how to gauge the commute. we have a car but may want to use publix transport during harsher winter months. by car, Google maps suggests that it's 45 minutes via toll roads at 7am, which is okay. public transit takes an hour and a half. is this accurate? do people li e in Manhattan and work out east in queens? we just need some advice! thanks in advance :)
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