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NYC Transit Questions Subway and Long Island Railroad

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Aug 21st, 2007, 12:59 PM
  #1
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NYC Transit Questions Subway and Long Island Railroad

Just got back from NYC and during my stay there took the Long Island Railroad out to visit a friend in Massapequa. Easy to use the LIRR. That made me think that it wouldn't be that difficult to fly into Islip Airport on Southwest and take the train.

Now for the questions. It is possible that my two daughters and I might come for a long weekend - probably around Nov 29-Dec 2. This is truly, truly a budget trip but one of my daughter's friends just got his first part in a Broadway show and we'd like to see him. I have a free Southwest Ticket and can get tickets into Islip for DD's for $238. Using ATA into LaGuardia is over $100 more per ticket.

Although I might get a hotel room, we have offers from friends to stay with them. My friend lives on the Upper West Side. My DD's friends live in Astoria. It's no problem for us to meet up during our stay because we all know the city well.

What I am trying to figure out is how to connect going to and from Islip Airport. Would my daughters need to go all the way into Penn Station on the LIRR and then take the subway to Astoria. Or is there someway they could meet me at the railroad station in Queens. Looks like everything goes through Jamaica station but how could they get there from Astoria? Or maybe we could meet at the Woodside station, then transfer together at Jamaica. I have been looking at the maps but can't figure it out. They could always take a taxi from Astoria to one of the train stations to meet me. Which one would be best? Thanks so much for all your help.

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Aug 21st, 2007, 01:11 PM
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Unfortunately, with the exception of the Port Washington line (my line) on the LIRR, nothing else goes close to Astoria. Since budget is a concern, I really don't recommend a cab ride. Unfortunately, going into Penn Station and subwaying out is your best bet. If you were going to do a cab though, I'd say meeting at Woodside is best.
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Aug 21st, 2007, 01:12 PM
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dmlove
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I don't know about the transportation part, but remind you that "truly budget" and "Nov. 29-Dec. 2" are mutually exclusive as to hotel rooms!
 
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Aug 21st, 2007, 01:16 PM
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Actually, let me think about this again - which leg of the trip exactly are you concerned about? Traveling with DD's together from Islip to your respective friends places in UWS and Astoria? Meeting up from UWS and Astoria to go back to Islip on way home?
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Aug 21st, 2007, 01:34 PM
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dmlove - I know about hotel room rates during that time period. That is why we might stay with friends.

awlrain - Yes both legs of the trip. Originally I figured we'd take the train into Penn Station together (from Islip Airport) and then head off to our friends to drop off luggage, etc. But since the LIRR goes through Queens (but not Astoria) I thought maybe it would save my DDs some time if they could get off the train somewhere in Queens. The same for returning to the airport although that day we might be together anyway for some last minute sightseeing.

As far as the cab-if we do stay with friends, then a cab fare would be affordable. Just hadn't looked up to see how far Woodside is from Astoria. I would prefer that they don't go to Jamaica station.
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Aug 21st, 2007, 01:35 PM
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As for the subway, to get to Astoria from Jamaica, she'd have to change trains twice: after getting on the E, the first transfer would be to the Manhattan-bound 7 train at Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Ave, then to the Astoria-bound N or W at Queensboro Plaza...
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Aug 21st, 2007, 01:35 PM
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awlrain - How close does the Port Washington Line come to Astoria?
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Aug 21st, 2007, 01:39 PM
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ggreen-Thanks for that info. I sort of figured the subways would take some transfers. My older DD is very subway savy so she could figure it out. What about the subway to Woodside? Maybe it's just easier to go through Penn Station.
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Aug 21st, 2007, 01:56 PM
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I personally have never taken LIRR to Woodside. From the map, it looks like there is a transfer to the 7 train - this is the subway line that goes through Queens, then straight across 42nd Street in Manhattan, terminating at Times Square/Port Authority.

Like you said, it might well just be easier to take the LIRR into Penn Station. From there, you can catch the A/C or 1/2/3 trains uptown to the UWS, and your daughter can walk one block east to the N/W at Herald Square. (If you do decide to take the 7 train, all of the subway lines I just mentioned also connect at the Times Square station.)

I find that the MTA bus maps are pretty helpful, and more geographically accurate than the subway map. Go to mta.info, click on Maps, then NYC Transit, then Queens Bus. You can zoom in on the pdf; of course the bus lines are the most prominent, but you can see thin gray lines for the subways, with stops marked for the line (i.e., N/W), and thin light blue train-track lines for the LIRR. Astoria is in the northwest corner of Queens, and Woodside is a little southeast of that, between the green spaces of St. Michaels and New Calvary cemeteries on the map.

The LIRR map isn't very good, but will give you an overall sense of the lines: look for it in the Maps menu on mta.info...
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Aug 21st, 2007, 02:13 PM
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Now that I've looked at the LIRR map again - I realize other train lines go into Woodside too. So, as long as your LIRR line goes thru Woodside, I think you can avoid Jamaica. The transfer at Woodside to the 7 train is very easy - just a few stairs. I've done it many times before to visit my friend in Astoria myself. That said, skip Penn Station, esp since you are going to the West Side yourself

I would recommend you take whatever line from Islip together with DDs, get off at Woodside and transfer to the 7 train (subway). Take the 7 train together (either express or local) and your DDs should get off at Queensboro Plz to transfer to the Astoria-bound N or W (make sure it's not the Manhattan-bound!). You should stay on the 7 train until Grand Central and transfer to the 4/5/6 train to go to the UWS. If you're near the front of the Manhattan-bound 7 train it will be a slightly easier transfer than if in the middle. Hope that helps!
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Aug 21st, 2007, 02:18 PM
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Ack - I'm not thinking straight. Upper WEST - ok, I have 2 suggestions. If you want to ride same train with your daughters for as long as possible, then follow my previous route and take the 7 train to Times Sq to switch to the 1/2/3 uptown instead.

But if you wanted the fastest, most efficient route - don't transfer to the subway at Woodside with them. Instead, continue to take the LIRR to Penn Station and transfer to the 1/2/3 uptown from there. It'll get you to your friend's place a lot faster than the 7 train will.
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Aug 21st, 2007, 02:57 PM
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Keep in mind as you weigh the costs versus the convenience of using Islip MacArthur Airport: The train from Ronkonkoma to Penn Station is anywhere from 1 hr 15 mins to 1 hr 30 mins. Cost is $13 per person during peak rush hour and $9.50 off peak. You will have to take a shuttle or taxi from MacArthur Airport to the Ronkonkoma train station. The airport website says the shuttle is $5, but it also says the off peak train fare to Penn is $6.50.
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Aug 21st, 2007, 03:12 PM
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Hopstop.com can give you directions between Long Island and NYC. I got to directions to a generic address in Astoria and they recommend the LIRR from Ronkonkoma (nearest to the airport) to Woodside Queens station and from there a Q 18 bus from 61 st. station to Astoria.

But what I'd consider is ordering a car service in advance like dial7.com to pick you all up at the Woodside station of the LIRR and first drop daughters in Astoria and then continue on to your UWS place in Manhattan. It couldn't be more than about $50-60 and you all get dropped at your respective doors. I'd say a taxi, but you can't count on finding cruising cabs there.

Using Southwest makes sense with a free ticket or when saving $100 on multiple tickets, but it's not terribly convenient.
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Aug 21st, 2007, 03:12 PM
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Here's the schedule for LIRR trains from Ronkoncoma (as ellenem says, this is the stop closest to Islip airport; LIRR site says it is a 10-min taxi or bus ride): mta.info/lirr/html/ttn/ronkonko.htm
On the left side, click the link for "Ronkonkoma Branch" Timetables, then click on Weekday or Weekend under "To New York City" for details. Oh, and note that you'll have to do this again when you're closer to your travel dates, as the current schedule is only valid through early September.

On the detail schedule, check which trains stop at Woodside; some of them do. (A dotted line instead of a time indicates that that train doesn't stop at that station.) And if you end up getting on a train that doesn't, it's an easy switch at Jamaica, usually right on the same platform - the schedule shows a "J" when you'd have to make a Jamaica transfer.

Go to this page to check fares:
lirr42.mta.info/index.asp. Choose departure and arrival stations from the drop-down lists, then on the next page click the Fares button. As ellenem indicated, right now Peak is $13 and Off-peak is $9.50 (buy from the machine at the Ronkonoma station).

I hope this helps!
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Aug 21st, 2007, 04:02 PM
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Have been thinking about cost of transportation from Islip. Since your ticket is free and you will save $100 x2 on the girls' tickets, why not just take a car service for $100 and you can all get door to door service?
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Aug 21st, 2007, 05:43 PM
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Before you rush into Islip realize how long/inconvenient it is to get into the city. The LIRR doesn;t go to the airport. You have to take a shuttle bus (every 30 minutes) or a cab to Ronkonkoma Station and then the trains to the city run only once an hour except for rush hour. So - you really need to leave 3 hours for the trip - plus time for security checks etc. It is MUCH more inconvenient than just grabbing a train to Massapequa.

I would work out the details of trekking back and forth - as well as the City versus Queens issues before deciding that this is the way to go.
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Aug 21st, 2007, 06:29 PM
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Thanks for all your replies. I will have to study them a little more with the map but I like the idea of the car service or just taking the subway from Woodside into Manhattan once the girls have gotten closer to their destination.

nytraveler and others-Yes I know the going to Islip airport is not convenient. I know you have to take a shuttle to the Ronkonkoma station (the airport website says its $6 a person). Then the LIRR tickets would probably be non-peak. So that transporation one way would be approx $46 for three people. Using my free Southwest ticket and getting the $99 one way airfare, three of us will be able to fly from So. Calif to New York for $476. That averages out to a round trip ticket price of $159 per person. This of course doesn't include ground transporation but I would have that from other airports also. The worst part of it will be the travel time-it will be a very, very long day-so will have to think about it.

As far as my DDs staying in Queens. Even if I get a hotel in Manhattan, they would probably spend the nights in Astoria anyway. All of my older daughter's college friends live there and she was stayed with them many times. She is very used to hopping onto the subway to go back and forth from Queens to the city. She does have a couple of friends with apartments in the city but they are way too small for overnight guests!! Her friends in Astoria have huge apartments.

ggreen-Thanks for the tip on looking at the MTA bus map. I have never really looked at because I use just the subway but if it's easier to read, then that's a big help.

Thanks again everyone. I will keep you posted on my decision. I will also look to see if there are any other good deals on airfare.
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Aug 21st, 2007, 06:33 PM
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I don't agree with nytraveler on this one. For a free ticket and saving $200 on other tix, it's worth the trouble I think, esp. if you don't have to spend on hotels. I do think it's worth spending some of the money though for the car service to avoid all that train trekking.
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Aug 21st, 2007, 08:11 PM
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It's a pretty short trip, so I'm imagining you won't have TOO much luggage. If that's true, taking the LIRR isn't so bad. Your DDs transfer from LIRR to the 7 and then the N/W is kind of a pain, but LIRR to 1/2/3 is a breeze. You'll be on the same train for the majority of the ride (an hour to 1/5) and that's not too bad either. But I'd still see if you could get an exact estimate from a car service - maybe mclaurie is right that the cost of that would about equal the door to door car service!
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Aug 21st, 2007, 08:50 PM
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If you do decide to take a car service, you might want to comparison-shop for rates from services that are more local than the city-wide ones mclaurie suggests, as they might offer better fares. (Do check out Carmel and Dial 7 also, as they are reliable services.)

Try googling for an Islip or Ronkonkoma taxi service, and ask your friend if she knows of a good car service in her area.

Good luck!
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