Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Field Trip!: New York City!!

That's right, I took a field trip! Two weekends ago my family and I headed out on our annual family vacation. This year our destination was The Big Apple! We have been to New York a few times over the past few years and each time we discover something new and exciting. This year, just like I expected, was full of those wonderful discoveries.

The Solari  board at Route-128 Station
Just like in years past we took the Amtrak Northeast Regional right into Penn Station in Manhattan. Personally, and not just because I love rail transit, I believe this is one of the most convenient, and stress free ways to get into the city. Well other than Mega Bus and Fungwah  (YEAH RIGHT!). We purchased Business Class tickets ( I get a 15% discount with my College ID!) and departed at 6:30 am on Amtrak Regional # 95 out of Route-128 station in Westwood. You're probably wondering why we chose not to go out of South Station. Well other than the fact that it is a little cheaper its also a bit more convenient, driving wise, from Lowell. A quick side note about the Route-128 station, it is one of only ten stations in the United States that still has an operating Split-flap Display departure board manufactured by Solari Udine (More info about these miraculous boards from Tyler at iRIDEtheT)!
It was a little rainy on the way in

Now back to the trip! The train ride into the city is about four hours and twenty five minutes but it truly does not seem that long. Before I knew it we were rolling right into the underground tunnels of New York's Penn Station.
My dad trying to figure out
how to buy a Metro Card

Inside a "Blue Bird"
After we got to the hotel and unpacked (we stayed at the Marriott Marques Hotel right in the center of Times Square) we all headed out for our first stop on the trip, The New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn! We caught the 2 train at 42nd Street station and took it to Borough Hall in Brooklyn. The museum, which displays artifacts and pictures of the New York City Subway, commuter rail, bus, bridge, and tunnel systems, is located in the now defunct Court St. Subway Station in Brooklyn Heights. My favorite part of the entire museum was how many restored subway cars they had on display. The museum has 18 cars displayed on the their two functioning subway tracks. They also have a total of 32 cars in their collection. The museum also features two cut out busses, plenty of subway wall art, and hundreds of fair collection machines. Overall, the museum was an incredible experience!

Automated stop display on the 2 train
The rest of our trip we rode the subway to a bunch of different parts of the city. We went to Little Italy, Chinatown, and SOHO! Riding the subway in NYC is a great experience and is also nice break from the T. Although I did not ride the entire system (man that would take days!) the lines I rode were clean and I was mostly met with their new fleets of trains. Like the T, the MTA has automated voice announcements, but there are neat differences between their announcements. The announcements for approaching stops are done by a woman and the commanding announcements such as : "no smoking please" or "Please stand clear of the closing doors" are done by a man. The MTA did actual research on this and came to the conclusion that most people respond better to a man commanding them and a woman giving them the next stop.  One other neat thing on the new MTA fleet in service is the automated stop displays that show the next stop all the way down the line. I feel that when the T finally starts to replace the Red and Orange line fleet or even the commuter rail coaches they should implement these displays. It would make it so much more easier for commuters, especially tourists, to figure out exactly where their going.

On a quick note, that Sunday my mother and I went to see a musical! This year we chose to see the revival of "Anything Goes!" which starred Sutton Foster and Joel Grey. I have been in and seen dozens of musicals and this BY FAR blew them all away!!

Rush hour in Penn Station
Well, anyway, on Monday we got in a cab around 5 and made our way back to Penn Station to catch our 7:30 train back to Boston (just a bit early). I was a little bit glad that we got there early though because it gave me a chance to explore the station. I got to see a bunch of New Jersey Transit, Long Island Railroad, and Amtrak trains come and go during the evening rush. I also got to see the Amtrak Vermonter which was very neat!

Well I hope you enjoyed my ramblings about my family vacation. If you want to see more pics from the trip I have a bunch posted on the blogs Flickr!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...