Nice trip Joe!Here's the rest of the story.
I let on Saturday morning and took the Vermonter up to New York. My sister from California was in New York visiting a college friend, but we planner an afternoon outing. The trip up was pretty uneventful, except of a 10-15 delay due to a bridge opening (planned or not?) of a bridge over the Bush River in Maryland. The Silver Meteor had actually arrived in Baltimore ahead of us, about a half hour or so early, but they let us pass it when we were both delayed by the open bridge.
In any event, I had a nice afternoon with my sister. We went to Staten Island, as that's a part of New York she had never been to, riding the ferry and a bus to visit the Sailor's Snug Harbor cultural park. We saw the Staten Island Museum and an artists' open house. Then we went back to my hotel, where I checked in. One thing I will say about New York, is that it has certainly become crowded again. I noticed that on my last visit in December, and now that the weather's nice, it's even worse. We went out for dinner with my sister's friend at a good Indian restaurant in the Upper West Side at 100th and Broadway. I did some subway ridinbg, on this trip, all restricted to the 1, 2, and 3 trains. These are older cars, they don't announce the stops, so you have to pay attention as to where you are. It was pretty crowded, too. Not quite Tokyo-attendants-pushing-passengers-in crowded, but getting close.
I stayed at a Marriott Fairfield Inn on 36th St., as it was a good bit cheaper than the one on 33rd St., closer to the station. The walk over was only about 5 minutes, so it wasn't much of a big deal. They told me when I checked in that they were giving me a "room upgrade" to an "executive suite" because of my loyal membership in the Marriot Bonvoy program. Well, if what I got was an upgrade, I'd hate to think what closets their regular rooms are. But it was clean, the bed was comfortable, and the plumbing worked. And I got a random view ot the city skyline, looking south, not a view of an air shaft.
Off to bed, and then up for breakfast, which was a typical full free hotel breakfast, but I couldn't believe how crowded it was. Lots in international visitors, too. I heard so much French being spoken, I thought maybe I had somehow been transported to Paris. The family sitting across from me was speaking Italian, though. I got my stuff together, and then off into the streets of New York for my rendezvous with Hickory Creek.
Tim - is this link correct, I'm getting a linky stinky result with it.
Nice trip and pics, thanks for sharing!A few pictures at the Albany station:
Empire Service arriving from New York
View attachment 32619
Tavern-Lounge 43 and Hickory Creek waiting for return passengers.
View attachment 32620
The interior of Tavern Lounge 43
View attachment 32621
Riding the Tavern-Lounge is a lot cheaper. There are a lot more passengers than Hickory Creek, and you get catered sandwiches, not a full-course meal.
The layover in Albany was a bit rushed. When all is said and done, you really shouldn't count on more than an hour and a half to visit anything there. If you don't rush up right when the train gets in, there won't be any cabs left, and Uber/Lyft seems to be a bit thin on the ground up there. I had to wait 10-15 minutes for a ride each way, and they were expensive for such a short ride. As I had already seen Empire State Plaza (i.e. "Starfleet HQ"), I opted for the New York State museum, which is certainly worth the price of the free admission and contains an eclectic collection of cultural and natural history objects.
Back at the station, I got my picture taken at the tail end of the train, and soon, we were off for our return trip, which was uneventful.
Even at 110 mph (between Albany and Hudson), the ride was amazingly smooth, and this wineglass stayed in place. I was pretty impressed about how well they did the cosmetic restoration, but I think they must have also put a lot of effort into the mechanical stuff, too. In all, not bad for a 75-year-old railcar.
View attachment 32622
All too soon, we were back in Penn Station.
View attachment 32623
After dropping my stuff off at the hotel, I went over to 32nd St. ("Koreatown") and go myself some Korean Barbecue.
View attachment 32624
View attachment 32625
View attachment 32626
The next morning, I was up and had breakfast atht he hotel, which fortunately wasn't as busy as it was the morning before. When I got to the Metropolitan Lounge at Moynihan, I realized that I could have had breakfast there with a little less bustle. I did get a coffee and a fruit cup to supplement what I had at the hotel. One thing about the Met Lounge food, though. I was taking an 11:20 AM train with a 1:45 PM arrival in Baltimore, and I had thought that I might be able to stock up on lunch items at the lounge. That was not to be, Even as late as 11 AM, the food items in the lounge were all breakfast things -- hot breakfast sandwiches, fruit salad, pastries, coffee, etc. I'm not sure when the start putting out the lunch stuff. In the end, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I had to buy my lunch from the cafe car en route.
I had bought a Saver coach seat on a Northeast Regional for my trip home; a real bargain at $50. Once I saw that the train (93) was close to New York, I checked with the desk attendant at the lounge about the gate of the train. He let me know before it was publically announced, but when I got down to the gate, there was already a pretty long line. I told the gate guard that I had come down from the lounge, and she let me cut right in front and be first down the escalator. I don't know whether this was standard operating procedure, or that I just had enough brass and exuded enough confidence that I got what I wanted. When I ride the Acela or business class or sleeper, I normally don't care about being first down the escalator -- after all, my seat or room is reserved, but this trip I was in coach, where it's first come, first served.
The front car of the train was closed off, although it was opened up later in the trip. Even though I was first down the escalator, I was surprised at how full the coaches were already. Apparently there are more passengers passing through New York than there used to be. I found a seat pair to myself, and despite the warnings from the conductor that the train was full and to keep the seat next to you clear, I had two seats to myself all the way down to Baltimore.
We pulled out on time, and the trip south was uneventful. I picked up some lunch in the cafe car after we left Philadelphia, and we arrived in Baltimore on time. I had a good time on this trip. My next trip, I think, will either be a jaunt up to New York to ride the NJT/Metro North service to Port Jervis or a trip up to Vermont to try the Ethan Allan service from Burlington.