As people arrive to the city that never sleeps they may be a little bit hesitant to move far from where they’ve started. It’s one of the biggest problems of people in a strange place in general but it’s particularly problematic if you’re arriving by train. The different neighborhoods that are the train stops that make up the island of Manhattan are as wily and different as can be and unfortunately, most of them are littered with panhandlers and shysters who give the city an all around bad image.
If you’re coming into New York City on the train you’re coming in on one of four lines; PATH train (commuter line from New Jersey) Metro-North (commuter train from points North and East; Westchester, Connecticut, etc) LIRR (commuter train from points generally East; Long Island) or Amtrak (everywhere else; generally from points West or far North all over the country)
Metro-North: While the MTA is responsible for all mass transit in the NY Metro area and is the largest provider in the Western Hemisphere, carrying over 2.4 billion people annually on 5,000 square miles of track through New York City, NY State along the Hudson River, as well as Long Island and Connecticut on it’s trains and busses (New York City Transit, MTA bus company, Staten Island Rapid Transit, LI bus and LIRR are some of their subsidiary agencies; they also operate the MTA Bridges & Tunnels) what we’re concerned with for this article is the Metro-North Railroad which services Manhattan at Grand Central Terminal.
When you’re coming into Grand Central, you’re entering perhaps the most beautiful train station in the world with many details taken into consideration with the renovation and expansion that’s been going on the last 20 years. There are now a whole host of shops, restaurants, newsstands, and cafes for you to enjoy just after you’ve gotten into the city or as you’re waiting to leave. Grand Central in the 1980’s was a much different place and even an experienced 8 year old like me who used to go visit my grandparents by myself from Danbury Connecticut found some of the ghosts in the machinery a little bit imposing.
In either event, so much has changed since this time that’s passed about Grand Central Terminal yet so much has remained the same in the train lines. Metro North railway lines allows passenger service to Grand Central Terminal from a number of different spots. The Harlem and Hudson lines originate from Poughkeepsie, New York and Wassaic, New York and travel along the Hudson River to station stops all along that track. The other line which makes stops at 125th St and Fordham in the Bronx before making it’s way up the coast to Greenwich and points east and north to Danbury, New Canaan, Waterbury, New Haven, and New London, Connecticut.
Entering Manhattan on the East side you need to be wary that you’re headed in the right direction once you leave the terminal. There were many times in my youth where I’d be greeted by the East River before I realized that Times Square and all the other fancy stuff I had come to see were not in Tudor City.
But these are the lessons we all learned in a day before turn-by-turn directions available for download and GPS tracking and MapQuest. (“Sigh!”) That was New York City as we’d known it then.