Jump to content
Trainmans daughter

Help needed figuring out NY Penn Station

Recommended Posts

Yep. Betty is right. One of my sons lives in Fredericksberg so after leaving NY we will go directly there and use it for a home base during the rest of our stay. I got reduced fare cards for us--hers for being young, mine for being old--so we can ride on VRE half fare.

 

You've all given me great tips for handling NYP. The 8th Ave/31st St entrance was mentioned. Isn't that the one close the pizza place that some were raving about recently? Maybe we'll try some NY style pizza there and compare it to Giordanos Chicago style pizza we'll be having during our layover there. Yum!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While Broadway Shows are the thing in New York, if you are into classical music at all, try to see a performance in Carnegie Hall or even at the Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center, the home of the New York Philharmonic. If you like classical Opera try something at the Metropolitan Opera next door to Avery Fisher Hall, and if it is chamber music that rocks your boat try something at the Alice Tully Hall in the same complex. Sometimes in the summer the New York Philharmonic performs at the various city parks in their free Concert in the Park series too.

 

Technically that concert hall has been renamed. You know, paid naming rights and all.

 

http://nyphil.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Avery Fisher Hall is now David Geffen Hall, 100 million dollars

Thanks for the correction. Old habits die hard :-/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are walkers, do what I did (recommendation by my ex-New Yorker old Landlord), walk up Broadway from Battery Park to Midtown and watch the age of the city get younger - it was really a fun walk, lot of things to see, both buildings, shops, people, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 8th Ave/31st St entrance was mentioned. Isn't that the one close the pizza place that some were raving about recently? Maybe we'll try some NY style pizza there and compare it to Giordanos Chicago style pizza we'll be having during our layover there. Yum!

Yes, NY Pizza Suprema is on 8th Avenue just south of 31st Street.

 

If you do end up having both, you may find it hard to believe that they're both considered "pizza."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Avery Fisher Hall is now David Geffen Hall, 100 million dollars

Thanks for the correction. Old habits die hard :-/

 

For the right amount of money you can buy a new habit and name it whatever you like.

 

In fact Avery Fisher put up $10 million back in the 70s to get his name there. The symphony actually put up the naming rights for bid, so it's not as if it was Geffen's idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will Geffen get "Trumped" if the Donald decides to outbid that measly 100 mil?😕

 

Old saying: "Money doesn't talk, it swears!"😑

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep. Betty is right. One of my sons lives in Fredericksberg so after leaving NY we will go directly there and use it for a home base during the rest of our stay. I got reduced fare cards for us--hers for being young, mine for being old--so we can ride on VRE half fare.

 

You've all given me great tips for handling NYP. The 8th Ave/31st St entrance was mentioned. Isn't that the one close the pizza place that some were raving about recently? Maybe we'll try some NY style pizza there and compare it to Giordanos Chicago style pizza we'll be having during our layover there. Yum!

Sorry to go off topic but my daughter will be starting at Mary Washington in the fall and I'm looking forward to Goolricks's and Carr's. The first place I want to try is Brock's Riverside Grill mainly because it sits next to the river and the CSX bridge over the river. My only time in FBG, prior to the UMW visits, was the short dwell times at the station when riding a Regional. I'm really looking forward to getting to know that city better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My granddaughter and I will be off on another train adventure in June. We will spend a couple of days in NY city before heading down to FBG. From there we will take VRE to and from DC for a few more days.

 

After checking out of our NY hotel, we want to store our luggage for a few hours while we finish up our sightseeing. My first question is, can we store our bags at NYP? If so, where and how much?

 

Question #2 is, how complicated is it to get to our train? I've done lots of reading about the station, and it is very intimidating. It would simplify things if we got a red cap to take us and our bags to the train, but I understand that they are nearly invisible. I have a one day lounge pass thanks to the generosity if fellow AUer Ben_G, but am saving it to use in DC to avoid paying $60-$70 in bag storage fees there on the day we head home.

 

#3- How much time should we allow to retrieve our bags, search for the elusive red cap, and get to our train. It leaves NYP at 3:05 (train #85)?

 

Thanks so much for any help and advice you can give me. Be sure to keep it simple and use small words!

 

Re: #2, Penn Station is very complicated but if I had to direct someone who had never been there to the Amtrak area, I would say to enter at the main entrance on 7th Avenue and 32nd St (32nd dead ends into it). Go down the escalator. Go straight and keep on going straight and you will find yourself there. I am on 85 every other Friday (I alternate with the one after, 173), but not during the summer; otherwise I'd be happy to direct you personally if it were a Friday!

 

Re: New Yorkers, I would say we are just very direct and no-nonsense and some take this as rudeness. Also, there is little personal space and we adapt to this by methods such as not looking people in the eye. But we are super nice to tourists for the most part.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NY Supreme is the best I've had in NYC. And i've tried several. I've never gotten to try the "coal-oven" original places where you have to buy the whole pie... too many great buy-the-slice places in NYC (not-so in Chicago :(.

 

Not to get in a "food fight" but Giordanos is highly over rates. Geno's East is my favorite in Chicago with the Original UNO (not the chains), and Lou Malnatis tied in second place. (Lou's has slightly better pizza, UNO and DUE have the atmosphere and history.).

 

NY Penn is a bit of a maze.. but the Amtrak part is pretty easy to figure out. You may find it easier than Chicago Union Station... after all these years I still get turned around in Chicago, but I know NYP pretty well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are into American dining, there is a restaurant called Skylight Diner just a block west on 34th Street from Penn Station. It is on 34th street and 9th Ave. They have a huge selection of classic diner fare, 24 hour service, friendly staff and large portion sizes for the price.

 

As for Penn Station, I would definitely recommend getting redcap assistance. They will take you and your luggage down to the train before the crowd makes a mad dash for it. It worked very well when I rode the Adirondack back in 2012, as that train was pretty full. We were able to get to sit where we wanted, and since my mother has knee problems they took us in the elevator. Be sure to give them a nice tip--$5 is nice, but if they're very nice and helpful I would tip more.

 

Might I also suggest a hotel? Stay at

the Homewood Suites on 37th street between 8th and 9th Aves. It is just a 3 block walk from Penn Station, and they will gladly stow your bags until you leave for the station. Very nice hotel with kitchens in all rooms and a free breakfast that's decent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Catholic High School Hockey League, which I work with, plays every weekend (in season) at Abe Stark Rink in Coney Island, and my father was from Brighton Beach, so I used to go out their every summer weekend growing up, and now every winter weekend as an adult. Soft spot in my heart for Nathan's, and for pizza, Totonno's with it's ancient coal oven is still something special. The minor league ballpark next to the rink (down the block from Nathan's) is actually a lot of fun to watch a game at, in the summer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Penn Station is very complicated but if I had to direct someone who had never been there to the Amtrak area, I would say to enter at the main entrance on 7th Avenue and 32nd St (32nd dead ends into it).

I wouldn't say that NYP is "complicated" so much as needlessly confusing. In its current form it's one of the ugliest train stations I've ever seen and it seems rather poorly designed for the current traffic levels and usage patterns. Amtrak probably can't do anything substantive about the structure and platforms but I see no reason why they couldn't make some better maps and fix the nearly incomprehensible signage.

 

 

Re: New Yorkers, I would say we are just very direct and no-nonsense and some take this as rudeness. Also, there is little personal space and we adapt to this by methods such as not looking people in the eye. But we are super nice to tourists for the most part.

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.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×