Thursday, April 8, 2010

Boring Travelogue, Part 3: Rail travel FTW + NYC Night 1

Since I'm an American (and don't live on the Eastern seaboard, I suppose), I rarely travel by train. (Well, technically I travel by train every day, since I take BART and Muni, but you know what I mean.) Amtrak isn't really practical for getting from, say, SF to Florida. But we just took the train from Boston to NYC, and let me tell you, it's fucking awesome.

Air travel, of course, means getting to the airport 2 hours before your flight, being subjected to demeaning "security screening" by faux-police TSA agents who I wouldn't trust to repair a lamp, and then squeezing into miniscule seats for 4 hours while being offered a days-old sandwich for $7, in case you get hungry.

On the train, on the other hand, you roll up to the train station about 5 minutes before the train leaves. Walk on and pick any seat you want. They're big and comfortable. Maybe grab a drink from the snack car. And watch America slide by the window.

We were in the Quiet Car. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT CONCEPT, PAY ATTENTION. In the Quiet Car conversations must be conducted quietly and CELL PHONE USE IS PROHIBITED. I wish life had a Quiet Car. The one Very Important Business Guy on our quiet Car kept having to get up and leave to conduct Important Business on his cell phone. THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. God bless the Quiet Car.

Of course there are downsides. It took almost 4 hours to get from Boston to New York, and flying takes about an hour and a half. Once you count getting to and from both airports, though, I don't know how much different it actually is.

But I pretty much loved it. Rail travel, I am sold on you.

Last night, first night in NYC, and we got totally lucky by finding both a great restaurant and a great bar. We ate at Brinkley's, which I suppose is sort of a gastropub that features local food and wines and I had some delicious roast chicken and a New York sauvignon blanc that actually wasn't half-bad.

It was hot as fuck out last night (like 80 at 9 pm), so we wanted to sit outside and ended up on the sidewalk outside the oddly-spelled O'Nieal's. The place just had a great feel and everyone was super friendly and that whole thing about New Yorkers being brusque and rude is a total myth. They're as friendly as it gets.

Gotta go wake up The Wife and see some shit now.


generic said...

Quiet Car sounds like a holy thing.

Greg said...

train rides are just so damn civilized. I took the Acela from DC to NYC last year and it was great. Quiet Car, plenty of room, and they don't care if you bring a beer with you on the train, and none of that crazy crap at the airport.

The Capitol Corridor isn't bad either - I even took Amtrak to San Diego in 2008 (well in this case by train I mean Amtrak bus to the bus station in Santa Barbara) but even that was nice. That bus was like no other bus I've been on (Clean, A/C no hippies or bums) and the train was great too, because they had giant microbeers.

verbalcupcake said...

Completely agree--I love taking the train. I spent the summer in NYC and took Amtrak to Philly and to DC; loved both rides. So much less stress than plane travel, for sure; and while I know quite a few people who are "nervous fliers," I don't know anyone who gets freaked out before boarding the train. Plus, I love the really grand train stations!

I've also taken Amtrak to Davis (and even Fresno to visit family), and it's just always a comfortable way to travel.