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Penn Station (cutting it close)

Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
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3,103 posts
101 reviews
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Penn Station (cutting it close)

Hi all,

A question for locals and tourists alike who have experience with Penn Station. Next wednesday is the first time I am taking the Northeast Regional home to Washington DC. However, this is more of a logistics question than anything else:

Yes, I realize this is stupid but I am seeing Beautiful at 7:00pm. Considering its runtime is 2 hours and 20 minutes, including intermission, I expect to be out of there by 9:30pm (the theatre is on 43rd between 6th and Broadway). However, my train departs at 10:05pm from Penn Station and, to make it, I really need to have everything planned out.

If you were me, what would you do? Taxi/Uber or walk? And when I get there, does the NE Regional always depart from the same area or how do I find it quickly?

Regarding luggage, I'm only in town for 2 nights and I'm a pro packer so I think I can live out of my oversized Tumi Backpack so I can take that to the theatre. However, if I wind up needing to take a carry on, will I totally miss my train to stop by the hotel (Chatwal on 44th street) and get it en route to the station? Is there any way that you think that could be done?

Thanks for any advice...I have some free time the day before so I may clock it all out then based on your suggestions!

Best wishes,

AM13

Sydney, Australia
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for New York City
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15,152 posts
14 reviews
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1. Re: Penn Station (cutting it close)

This might not help, but you did ask, so if it was me I'd probably leave the show early. Especially if you'll be putting your backpack in the coat check. I found Penn Station to be very confusing and you never know what traffic or train delays there'll be.

Hope someone else can offer better solutions!

Edited: 10 July 2014, 06:21
DC
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1 review
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2. Re: Penn Station (cutting it close)

This doesn't make sense. Even if you take your bag into the theater (which you shouldn't), you'd have to be the jerk shoving people out of the way to exit quickly and then push through people on the street to have any chance to make the train. Take a later train

Queens, NY
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7,821 posts
14 reviews
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3. Re: Penn Station (cutting it close)

It's a brisk 10-minute walk to the station (definitely walk), but the bigger issue is that it'll take 15 minutes to clear the hall and at LEAST another 15 minutes to wait in the coat check line. That's your issue, so the best idea, alas, would be to leave the show 20 minutes early or to just hang around town and take the 3AM train.

Penn Station is chaos. The tracks aren't announced until 10 minutes before a train leaves (unlike at Union Station) so there's just a great muddle of people milling about that coalesce into a huge line at the last minute. You'd want to enter at 32nd Street and 7th Avenue for the Amtrak concourse, which is straight ahead.

Flushing, New York
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5,316 posts
71 reviews
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4. Re: Penn Station (cutting it close)

Perhaps this diagram may help you if you are unfamiliar with the maze of Penn Station:

http://jasongibbs.com/pennstation/

Quebec
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for Mont Tremblant
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10,848 posts
32 reviews
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5. Re: Penn Station (cutting it close)

Penn Station was actually like entering hell. Hot, confusing and very disorienting.

Leave early or change your tickets.

Houston, Texas
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3,815 posts
20 reviews
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6. Re: Penn Station (cutting it close)

You need to take a later train, or leave the show early (which would be kind of a waste for you, and kind of rude to the people seated around you.)

Eugene, Oregon
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26,786 posts
18 reviews
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7. Re: Penn Station (cutting it close)

Here's an outside the box the thought you might not like.

The Chatwal. A lovely hotel, and I know what it costs.

Is there any way you can switch to a less pricey hotel (even if using Starwood points), stay a 3rd night, and return home at your leisure the next day?

Brooklyn, NY
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for New York City
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23,413 posts
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8. Re: Penn Station (cutting it close)

Well, I disagree with everyone else. You can make your train with time to spare if you leave straight from the theater and walk. You won't need to push anyone. Try to visit the station from the closest entrance at some point before doing this so you don't get lost once you're there, but I don't think you're going to have an issue, it's not THAT complicated.

You don't have time to stop for your bag, though, so if you think you'll need to pack a larger bag than will fit comfortably under your seat without impinging on the people around you, you need a later train. (Please don't leave the theater early. That's ruder to the people around you than a large bag.)

Portland, Maine
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10,764 posts
30 reviews
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9. Re: Penn Station (cutting it close)

I don't think you can make this separate and apart from the luggage issue.

But for the luggage, if you can do without your things until the morning, and you live close enough to Union Station so you could go back there for your bags, you could take them to Penn Station anytime earlier in the day. With your ticket, it's free to check your bags and they'll probably be put on the overnight train that has checked baggage.

You would need to go back to Union Station baggage claim the next day in order not to be charged for this.

Arlington, Virginia
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for Washington DC
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101 reviews
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10. Re: Penn Station (cutting it close)

Thanks for your help, everyone.

Unfortunately I have a work commitment in Washington DC the following day so staying an extra night in NY just isn't an option. I need to make that 10:05 train.

I am right by a door at Beautiful so I'm sure I can exit the theatre and be on the street within 5 minutes of the performance end. Which, if it's a 10 minute brisk walk, means I can get there 20-30 minutes before my train leaves (dependent on whether the show actually starts on time) ...which seems more doable, don't you think?

Realize it is tight but I will clock it all out the day before--and thanks for that helpful map!

AM13

Edited: 10 July 2014, 17:00