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Help needed figuring out NY Penn Station


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#41 NorthShore

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 08:12 AM

Can ANYBODY really figure out NYP?


When I visited the city last year, I found it funny that I was acting the verbose urbanite part, chomping at tourists to get out of the way. (Hey, I had trains to catch.)

#42 afigg

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 08:45 AM

Can ANYBODY really figure out NYP?

The layout of NYP is somewhat complex, but is not that difficult once you get oriented and familiar with the 2 levels over the platforms & tracks. This website Unofficial Guide to New York Penn Station has useful maps for each level.

 

The expanded West End Concourse is or was supposed to be completed sometime in 2016. Which will provide more access options from 8th Avenue and connecting to the A,C,E subway lines. Hope Mr. Gibbs will update his website map once the expanded concourse opens. 

 

PS. A google search turned up a PDF document from a November, 2015 directors meeting of the Moynihan Station Development Corporation which has an update on the West End concourse expansion project that as of then it was on schedule for a August, 2016 completion. So it won't be open for a June visit to NYC, but by this fall, the expanded West End Concourse may be open for additional options on getting to and from the Amtrak and LIRR platforms.


Edited by afigg, 30 March 2016 - 09:26 AM.


#43 PVD

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 09:29 AM

The above linked maps are very helpful. I think the key to NYP is advance planning:  know where you are coming in from, know where you want to go, ignore everything else. If you are strictly on  Amtrak it isn't bad, connections involving NJT, LIRR, or the subways can muddle things up because of the other level and concourse. On Amtrak, the central information board will have the track assignments, but usually not until the train is fairly close to the station. Orient yourself with the gate numbers while you are waiting.



#44 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 09:32 AM

 

Can ANYBODY really figure out NYP?

 

The layout of NYP is somewhat complex, but is not that difficult once you get oriented and familiar with the 2 levels over the platforms & tracks. This website Unofficial Guide to New York Penn Station has useful maps for each level. The expanded West End Concourse is or was supposed to be completed sometime in 2016. Which will provide more access options from 8th Avenue and connecting to the A,C,E subway lines. Hope Mr. Gibbs will update his website map once the expanded concourse opens. 

 

With enough experience over a long enough timeline almost anyone can figure out NYP.  Many hundreds-of-thousands already have.  It's actually not that complicated in the grand scheme of things.  It's just that as currently built it's no longer possible to see what's going on above and below you.  With sloppy signage and lack of visibility you have to imagine what's going on around you and if you're new to NYP that can be a daunting task on your first visit.  Even if you're the sort of person who takes it upon themselves to arrive early and map out the location on your own time you may find that Amtrak arbitrarily restricts/dissuades the kind of self exploration that would clarify the situation.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 30 March 2016 - 09:34 AM.

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#45 greatcats

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 10:06 AM

I stand by my statements that while NYP certainly leaves much to be desired, it is not the worst place in the world and is better than in the 70s and 80s. As for New Yorkers this observation is offered, strictly my opinion: When I was a tour bus driver at Grand Canyon and Alaska, my favorite customers were New Yorkers. Reasons: With an exception or two, they were friendly, interested, and good tippers. In fact, several years ago at Grand Canyon, a family from Long Island took me out to dinner after the tour at the Arizona Room. The dad was retired from the Long Island Railroad!
I was a commuter railroad employee in NJ for many years until 2002, and have since been a tour guide at Grand Canyon National Park and Ketchikan, Alaska. Also, have been a National Park Volunteer at Hawaii Volcanoes and now Sunset Crater Volcano near my home. If not on Amtrak, also like long road trips, camping some of the time.

#46 Trainmans daughter

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 10:54 AM

Quoting from an article I read recently: "New York Penn Station is like a polished turd, but without the polish". I thought that was pretty funny. Actually, it was a very good article. I wish I could find it again to put a link here.

I was in New York once many years ago, actually in New Jersey where my husband took a class. One day, I went to Manhattan by myself on the ferry boat. When I was ready to come back, I was on the wrong side of the street to catch my bus back to the ferry. I. Must have said something out loud as I saw my bus approach. A man who was walking close to me asked if that was the bus I wanted. Then he walked into the street (a very busy street as you can imagine), put his hands up to stop traffic, and motioned me across. As I was getting into the bus, I stopped to thank him. He yelled, "Just get on the bus, lady"! So I know that New Yorkers can be very helpful. That's one of my favorite memories!

#47 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 11:01 AM

I stand by my statements that while NYP certainly leaves much to be desired, it is not the worst place in the world and is better than in the 70s and 80s. As for New Yorkers this observation is offered, strictly my opinion: When I was a tour bus driver at Grand Canyon and Alaska, my favorite customers were New Yorkers. Reasons: With an exception or two, they were friendly, interested, and good tippers. In fact, several years ago at Grand Canyon, a family from Long Island took me out to dinner after the tour at the Arizona Room. The dad was retired from the Long Island Railroad!

 

That should be their tagline.

 

New York Penn Station:  Not the worst place in the world.

 

It doesn't surprise me that New Yorkers are friendly when they're far away from New York.


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#48 Bex

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 11:48 AM

In my experience Mexico is nice to tourists. Japan is super nice to tourists. Thailand is super duper nice to tourists. Compared to places like that New York is fairly cold and indifferent to tourists. That doesn't mean New York is a bad place to visit. In fact I'd say the New York attitude remains a core part of the overall experience. I'll never forget my first time asking a New York City police officer for help with directions. Two officers turned and looked at me like I was on drugs and motioned for me to sod off before rolling their eyes and resuming their conversation.


If we're just going by anecdotal evidence, I spent most of my life in NY and am still there about 50% of the time. Every day, literally every day, I see people chatting up tourists on the subway to ask them where they're from, offer to show lost people where they need to go, etc. Yes, I would call that super nice.

 

NYPD officers, well, recent news events will show you that they have never been super nice to anyone. But now I am moving even farther away from the topic....



#49 BCL

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 01:19 PM

I stand by my statements that while NYP certainly leaves much to be desired, it is not the worst place in the world and is better than in the 70s and 80s. As for New Yorkers this observation is offered, strictly my opinion: When I was a tour bus driver at Grand Canyon and Alaska, my favorite customers were New Yorkers. Reasons: With an exception or two, they were friendly, interested, and good tippers. In fact, several years ago at Grand Canyon, a family from Long Island took me out to dinner after the tour at the Arizona Room. The dad was retired from the Long Island Railroad!

 

I've heard New Yorkers described more as in a hurry.  Most really aren't beyond helping someone who needs help.  I suppose the best word I'd use to describe New Yorkers is "brusque".  They might not seem outwardly friendly, but it's more about mannerisms than anything else.

 

In any case, there are so many transplants in NYC that there's a good chance you meet someone from the midwest or the south who might act differently.



#50 Thirdrail7

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 06:14 PM

tumblr_lyle6dDSL51qduy16o1_500.gif

 

 

 

 

 

Lost in Penn Station? Amtrak Has an App to Guide You

 

 


 

Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan is such a confusing, multilevel maze of corridors lined with pizza parlors and coffee shops that even veteran commuters occasionally get lost.

Starting on Wednesday, Amtrak, the national railroad that serves as the station’s landlord, will offer a guiding light in the form of a smartphone app. The free app, FindYourWay, was designed to help travelers navigate the labyrinthine station and to avoid the crowds that form around the electronic boards that provide train information.

“The experience in Penn Station, if you’re not there every day, can be daunting,” said Bob Dorsch, an Amtrak executive who oversaw the creation of the app. “We know that a ton of our customers stand at that big board and wait for the train gate to come up and scurry off to the ramp.”

 

 


 

Initially, the app will provide real-time information only about Amtrak’s trains, but Mr. Dorsch said Amtrak hoped eventually to include information about the commuter trains as well. And Ms. Hennessy said Amtrak hoped to add other stations around the country to the app.

“If we’re able to implement something here, doing it in Boston, doing it in Chicago, doing it in Philadelphia is almost a piece of cake,” she said, alluding to the bewildering complexity of Penn Station and the 650,000 people who pass through it on a typical weekday.


They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#51 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 08:43 PM

 

tumblr_lyle6dDSL51qduy16o1_500.gif

 

 

 

 

 

Lost in Penn Station? Amtrak Has an App to Guide You

 

 


 

Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan is such a confusing, multilevel maze of corridors lined with pizza parlors and coffee shops that even veteran commuters occasionally get lost.

Starting on Wednesday, Amtrak, the national railroad that serves as the station’s landlord, will offer a guiding light in the form of a smartphone app. The free app, FindYourWay, was designed to help travelers navigate the labyrinthine station and to avoid the crowds that form around the electronic boards that provide train information.

“The experience in Penn Station, if you’re not there every day, can be daunting,” said Bob Dorsch, an Amtrak executive who oversaw the creation of the app. “We know that a ton of our customers stand at that big board and wait for the train gate to come up and scurry off to the ramp.”

 

 


 

Initially, the app will provide real-time information only about Amtrak’s trains, but Mr. Dorsch said Amtrak hoped eventually to include information about the commuter trains as well. And Ms. Hennessy said Amtrak hoped to add other stations around the country to the app.

“If we’re able to implement something here, doing it in Boston, doing it in Chicago, doing it in Philadelphia is almost a piece of cake,” she said, alluding to the bewildering complexity of Penn Station and the 650,000 people who pass through it on a typical weekday.

 

Downloaded it.  Probably won't get around to using it till next year's gathering.  :P



#52 willem

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 10:53 AM

Downloaded it.

 

I wonder why I need to provide a name and phone number just to see what the app can do. Yes, I could give it a fake name and phone number, but then I apparently couldn't use the app fully when I'm actually in Penn Station and want to take advantage of its alleged features. Would the app really be worthless to an anonymous individual?



#53 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 01:00 PM

NYP needs improved physical signage more than anything else.  Benefits everyone, difficult to hack, doesn't require updates every few months, and has the potential to help anyone.   But no, let's ignore that problem and make yet another single purpose app in a sea of millions of other single purpose apps.


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#54 HP_Lovecraft

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 02:38 PM

NYP needs improved physical signage more than anything else.  Benefits everyone, difficult to hack, doesn't require updates every few months, and has the potential to help anyone.   But no, let's ignore that problem and make yet another single purpose app in a sea of millions of other single purpose apps.

 

I agree about the signs.  I've been lost plenty of times with my kids.  The layout is not really that confusing, but there are plenty of intersections without proper signage. At least once I've found myself doing a complete circle while trying to find the 8th ave exit.

 

Earlier this year, coming down from Boston, we thought it would be fun to get off in New Haven, then take the Metro into Grand Central.  It was such a dramatically more pleasant experience.



#55 Ziv

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 09:41 AM

I would agree about New Yorkers being decent people. I wouldn't jump in their face, mind you, but when my girlfriend & I were lost and  I was trying to surreptitiously figure out where I was on a map, I had a delivery truck driver stop and jump out to help me. I had a similar a similar situation when I was at Delmonico's Market and mentioned that I was going to drop off my groceries at my hotel and then walk to Sarge's Deli. The counter man drew me a map just to make sure I didn't get lost, not that it was hard to find Sarge's. They are kind of competitors, so it was doubly welcome. New Yorkers are proud of their city and many of them like to share their favorite delis or stores with visitors. 

 

 

...but some of the things I find on Google make me worry a bit. Don't make eye contact with New Yorkers, don't smile at them, don't engage in conversation beyond asking directions and then quickly move away. This should be interesting!


I don't know where those horror stories are coming from. In my experience, New Yorkers are just fine, and I think a grandmother and granddaughter shouldn't have any problems with the people.

 



#56 jis

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 10:01 AM

NYP needs improved physical signage more than anything else.  Benefits everyone, difficult to hack, doesn't require updates every few months, and has the potential to help anyone.   But no, let's ignore that problem and make yet another single purpose app in a sea of millions of other single purpose apps.

I agree completely. An App is a very poor substitute for covering the failure to provide adequate signage.

 

Personally, I have NYP completely figured out, having used it regularly for forty years now. But yeah, with the poor signage it can be pretty mind boggling for the infrequent user, even though I dare say that inherently it is much less complex than say Shinjuku in Tokyo, or even the Kings Cross - St. Pancras complex in London or the Gare de l'Est - Gare du Nord - Magenta (RER-E) complex in Paris.






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