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  1. Default Alternative to Driving inside New York City after road trip from Memphis

    I'm visiting NYC during the first week of December. Two adults. I'm looking for flying alternatives because I'm sick of flying.

    I'm considering driving from Memphis, TN to DC, and taking the train into NYC. The parking at the train station would be cheaper than parking in NYC, and driving inside NYC is intimidating!

    However, it may be less complicated to just drive into NYC anyhow.

    Are there other options I'm overlooking here? A better route than going through DC and taking the train?

    If I decide that a one-way car rental is a better option (to avoid parking fees), which rental place would you recommend? Is it more expensive to rent one-way? I'd rent one way each way, avoiding having to pay for parking at the train station or the hotel.

    I suppose I could take my car, but it's a 2003 Honda Civic. I get nervous driving an older car that far. It's got 84K miles.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,937

    Default A little further.

    When I have gone to NYC, I have parked the car in NJ, somewhere around Bergen County, and taken the train in. Try anywhere from Hackensack out, even as far as Ramsey. It takes about 45 mins from Ramsey to Central, and although I cannot recall the specific cost the parking, even for three days was quite acceptable and secure.

    There is absolutely no reason why you should not take your own car. If it is well maintained, it will be fine. Get a mechanic to check it over before you leave, and make sure the mechanic knows about your plans.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Why don't you just take the train from Memphis? Even with the connections, you won't get there any faster by driving.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,359

    Default Or Even a Bit Farther Still

    Quote Originally Posted by StellaBeans
    It may be less complicated to just drive into NYC anyhow.
    Unfortunately, 'less complicated' does not necessarily mean easier. I-95 between Washington and New York is one of the worst driving roads in America. It's basically bumper-to-bumper 80 to 90 mph traffic, except when you all grind to a halt at four separate locations to pay the (exorbitant) tolls. I would opt to take it quite a bit easier, and park my car outside of Washington DC (say at the Vienna or Franconia-Springfield stations where there is ample parking) and take the Metro into DC, transfer to the Red Line and get off at Union Station. There you simply hop on an Amtrak train to New York, forget about traffic, forget about tolls, forget about parking in New York City, and just enjoy your visit.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    My brother lives in NJ, and hates parking in NYC. The least expensive parking starts at $40/day, and parking isn't easy to find. He either goes to Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, parks in their (free) lot, and takes the bus; or, he catches the train from Stanhope. (He prefers the bus.)

    Driving between DC and NYC is a nightmare. My brother either takes the train or goes around the "long way". We came north from Norfolk into Stanhope, via the "back roads" (13 and 113) on the DelMarVa Peninsula. It was just about as annoying to us as the traffic on 95 would have been -- only I think the scenery was prettier. But we were avoiding DC -- maybe in a few years, we'll go to DC.


    Donna

  6. Default

    Thanks for all the replies!

    Parking at the hotel in NYC is $55 a day.

    glc, why don't I take the train the whole way? It does take longer than driving and costs more. There's not a good direct route from Memphis via train.

    Seems like the idea of taking the train from DC may be much better than driving into NYC. Also, I have family in the area who may be willing to let me park at their house and give me a ride to the train station. I haven't asked yet though. I can always take the Metro like you suggested, AZBuck (thanks).

    I am familiar with the horrible traffic in DC, but haven't driven to NYC from DC before, but now that you mention it, I remember a warning from my brother-in-law about that drive.

    So, if I'm doing a combined driving/train option, is DC the best place to take the train into NYC? I lean toward DC because I've been there a lot (visit family, attend weddings, etc.). We've driven from Memphis to Maryland and flown, but never taken the Amtrak anywhere. My husband doesn't like the idea of driving to DC because he says he's done that drive before and now it's boring. He would rather fly, but we had a bad experience with severe (people screaming on the plane) turbulence on that last flight from NYC to Memphis. I don't want to do it again just now. Plus, we're going during an expensive time to fly, just after Thanksgiving.

    I suppose another option is taking the bus into Birmingham and taking the train to NYC from there. I just don't like the idea of sleeping on the train, or taking the bus. Maybe I'm just scared because its new, and old. Those trains are old.

  7. Default

    I just uploaded a map showing a potential route to drive straight to NYC. I'm wondering if this route bypasses the traffic that was discussed above. Looks like it avoids DC, so maybe... I'm beginning to lean away from train travel.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,359

    Default Yes and No

    Your proposed route is one that we often recommend to people who want to get to New York without the hassle of driving I-95 between Washington and New York. It will let you avoid Washington as well as the Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey Turnpikes. So it has those things going for it. On the other hand, you will still have the problem of what to do with your car in New York where a day's parking will cost everything you've saved in tolls. Nor would you get to see your family in Washington.

    But if the route appeals to you and you can see your family another time, then your best option could very well be something very like the I-81/I-78 route to the New Jersey suburbs and commuter rail into New York City as Lifey originally suggested.

    AZBuck

  9. Default

    Thanks AZ. It's my sister and brother-in-law who live in the area, and I will see them at Christmas, so I don't think it's a big deal to bypass Maryland.

    However, with so many people going to NYC for Christmas shopping, etc. I'm wondering if the parking at the commuter rail will be full. But Life did mention ample parking. If anyone has more details on which station is best in NJ for commuting into NYC, I welcome more comments on that.

    Is this the appropriate website or commuting from NJ?
    http://www.panynj.gov/path/

    One reason I'm leaning toward driving the whole way in instead of Amtrak is so I don't have to be so stuck to the train schedule, worrying about getting there in time to make my train. I assume I'd need to buy the tickets ahead since I'm going right after Thanksgiving, a busy time.

    For anyone who has done this route, what did you think?
    Last edited by StellaBeans; 09-02-2014 at 01:24 PM. Reason: add link

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I've taken that route that you marked out, back in 2011....I-40 to I-81 to I-80. Suggestion for an alternative to I-81 for about 105 miles: Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, from Waynesboro VA to Front Royal. It took us about 5 hours to do the 105 miles, but it was a beautiful drive.

    A thought: stay on the NJ side (such as in Newark, Paterson, or similar) and then you can commute into the city by bus or train.


    Donna

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