NYP Acela lounge experience

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I don't know if they were just having a bad day, or if this is normal--I was in the lounge at NYP on Friday afternoon (perhaps it was because it was a Friday).

It was crowded, of course, but that can't be helped, being New York.

But there was no coffee, no decaf coffee, and no hot water. There were lots of crumbs on the floor.

The attendants were okay, but not particularly friendly. When I said I was going on the LSL, they said to have a seat and someone would take us down. When I said thank goodness, because it took me 20 minutes to find the lounge from the train I just got off of, they just stared at me--not even a smile.

I know I always compare places to PHL, but honestly, you always see someone cleaning up there, there is a coffee/hot chocolate machine that, as far as I can tell, is always on, and the attendants range from polite and professional to friends I have made over the years that I have nice conversations with when they are not busy.

I just made Select Plus so can go in the lounges even if I'm not taking the train, but I think I'll just stop in the one at PHL when I'm in Philly and not make any special trips to use the one at NYP!

I do remember going through the New York lounge once before and having a very pleasant attendant at the desk, with the coffee working. So maybe the other day was just a bad day for them and not typical.
 
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Bex

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I was there yesterday afternoon, too! Perhaps we saw each other, even.

Anyway, I am there pretty much every Friday afternoon and there was zero difference between yesterday and any other, save perhaps the fact that the 5pm southbound Acela was delayed so there was a large crowd in the entranceway waiting to race off.

The food is almost always empty, the machines are almost always broken, and the staff varies from neutral to unfriendly (unless you are one of their favorites and then watch them light up and treat someone in a style you did not think possible for them... it's infuriating). I am there to learn my track number early and I expect little else. I try not to get yelled at by the staff for standing in the wrong place or asking the wrong question. I no longer even attempt to chat with them or smile at them; if I'm not a favorite after four or five years, it ain't going to happen now. Occasionally I can snag a bag of goldfish or a lukewarm Pepsi but that's an extra.

It's embarrassing for Amtrak.
 

PVD

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Hopefully, when they move to the expanded quarters it will be a better place. We did get a pretty big improvement in Chicago.
 

pennyk

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I was there on Monday 10/7 to wait for the Silver Meteor. I dropped my luggage off before lunch and then went out to lunch, returning about an hour before the Meteor was called. The agents were friendly enough and I did not hear any of them yelling at anyone for standing in the wrong place (which I have in the past). The ice machine was not working, but I do not think it was working the last 3 or 4 times I was in the lounge. I did get hot water and tea. I am pretty sure there were snacks, but I did not take any.
 

crescent-zephyr

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I was recently in the lounge in Philadelphia and was super impressed. Espresso machine, well stocked snack dishes with quality snacks. The whole lounge was stylish and was clean. I thought Club Acelas in general had improved... I didn’t realize that was unique to Philadelphia.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I am there pretty much every Friday afternoon and there was zero difference between yesterday and any other, save perhaps the fact that the 5pm southbound Acela was delayed so there was a large crowd in the entranceway waiting to race off. The food is almost always empty, the machines are almost always broken, and the staff varies from neutral to unfriendly (unless you are one of their favorites and then watch them light up and treat someone in a style you did not think possible for them... it's infuriating). I am there to learn my track number early and I expect little else. I try not to get yelled at by the staff for standing in the wrong place or asking the wrong question. I no longer even attempt to chat with them or smile at them; if I'm not a favorite after four or five years, it ain't going to happen now. Occasionally I can snag a bag of goldfish or a lukewarm Pepsi but that's an extra. It's embarrassing for Amtrak.
Wow. Even my "arch nemesis" United Airlines never treated me poorly in a premium lounge. On board long haul flights staffed by cranky high-seniority staff sure, but never in a lounge. Amazing to see Amtrak fall below UA service standards. Hopefully things improve at some point.
 

PVD

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NYP is too small for its volume, and is generally a pretty dreary place. Even when I've been there with everything stocked, and relatively clean, it just isn't that nice a place. A new larger, brighter, and more suitable space is in the works, can't be soon enough.
 

Bex

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Wow. Even my "arch nemesis" United Airlines never treated me poorly in a premium lounge. On board long haul flights staffed by cranky high-seniority staff sure, but never in a lounge. Amazing to see Amtrak fall below UA service standards. Hopefully things improve at some point.
It's really awful, not because I'm yelled at that often (I'm not... I know how things work too well at this point) but because I sit near the front both to overhear track numbers and to make a quick exit so I hear people being treated poorly for long stretches. "Sir, you must check in!" "Ma'am, wait on this line!" "Excuse me, you can't stand there!" "No, I cannot help you with that!" And then, you hear them moan to each other about whatever poor schmo irritated them just then. "Can you BELIEVE he thought he could do X."

I'm sure it must be exhausting to deal with entitled people all day long, as first class passengers and business travelers can often be, but the tone and attitude with which they talk to people is just excruciating. Some are OK but there is one woman in particular who seems to either hate her job and all Amtrak customers or else is on some kind of power trip, and then a couple of others who just do not seem to know how to be pleasant.
 

bratkinson

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Over the years, I've been in the NYP lounge anywhere from 9:30AM to as late as 7:30PM. Only once did I see the snacks and soda 'reasonably filled', and that was a little over a month ago while waiting for the Silver Star. One of the attendants restocked both. I haven't seen the coffee machine working in at least 6 months.

The problem that I see in the NYP lounge that I have not witnessed in any of the lounges, including CHI and LAX is that some passengers 'stock up' on soda, Goldfish, chips, whatever before they leave. While waiting for the Crescent a month ago, as I was taking a bottle of water to drink in the lounge, another passenger grabbed 3-4 bags of <whatever> and a couple of Pepsi's and dropped them into a large, open top carry on. However, on several occasions at LAX, I've seen couple of PAX grab 2 cookies at LAX...usually the kids. I've not witnessed 'stocking up' at other locations along the NEC or CHI.

I suspect that the NYP lounge gets a daily 'allocation' of soda, water, snacks, etc. They simply 'stretch it out' to hopefully keep a couple of items available for passengers rather than letting the concurrent Acelas-in-both-directions + Star (or Meteor or Crescent) pax hog it all in 20 minutes flat!
 

adamj023

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I don't know if they were just having a bad day, or if this is normal--I was in the lounge at NYP on Friday afternoon (perhaps it was because it was a Friday).

It was crowded, of course, but that can't be helped, being New York.

But there was no coffee, no decaf coffee, and no hot water. There were lots of crumbs on the floor.

The attendants were okay, but not particularly friendly. When I said I was going on the LSL, they said to have a seat and someone would take us down. When I said thank goodness, because it took me 20 minutes to find the lounge from the train I just got off of, they just stared at me--not even a smile.

I know I always compare places to PHL, but honestly, you always see someone cleaning up there, there is a coffee/hot chocolate machine that, as far as I can tell, is always on, and the attendants range from polite and professional to friends I have made over the years that I have nice conversations with when they are not busy.

I just made Select Plus so can go in the lounges even if I'm not taking the train, but I think I'll just stop in the one at PHL when I'm in Philly and not make any special trips to use the one at NYP!

I do remember going through the New York lounge once before and having a very pleasant attendant at the desk, with the coffee working. So maybe the other day was just a bad day for them and not typical.
According to Amtrak Service Alerts, ClubAcela is undergoing renovations soon but only for a few days. Considering the length of time and the fact it will be demolished after Amtrak moves into the new club and train hall, one wonders what is really being done. NJTransit I presume will get the entire former Amtrak terminal space.
 

me_little_me

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Well, it's good to hear that some parts of NYC remind one of the old days. It's been awful - the cops are nice, friendly and helpful, some people actually smile, and I have even seen (ugh!) people helping one another. I felt at home in the club - people ignoring each other and the staff "somewhat less than friendly".
 

adamj023

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The club has nothing to offer as it is now nor after the alleged renovations for a few days. It will be really nice when the new one is completed. Better off just waiting downstairs and getting an Amtrak train from there.
 

Manny T

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In my experience, the Acela lounge at NYP is useful only as an alternative to the crowds in the larger Penn Station, not for any amenities or "first class" treatment.

In fact, depending on what I want to do, if I find a decent seat in the general waiting room, or in one of the cafes that line the concourse, I will hang out there rather than in the Acela Lounge. That way I don't have to interact with the gatekeepers or show any proof of entitlement to be there.

some passengers 'stock up' on soda, Goldfish, chips, whatever before they leave. While waiting for the Crescent a month ago, as I was taking a bottle of water to drink in the lounge, another passenger grabbed 3-4 bags of <whatever> and a couple of Pepsi's and dropped them into a large, open top carry on.
On my last visit to the Chicago lounge, I was searching for mint tea (there wasn't any) and the attendant told me, they are using up their current stocks of various teas and will soon switch over to one variety of Lipton's or the like. The reason? Passengers are taking half a dozen or a dozen of the interesting tea bags out of the lounge and Amtrak will not pay to restock these anymore. I suspect there are some problems we attribute to Amtrak that we, the PAX, cause ourselves.
 

seat38a

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Over the years, I've been in the NYP lounge anywhere from 9:30AM to as late as 7:30PM. Only once did I see the snacks and soda 'reasonably filled', and that was a little over a month ago while waiting for the Silver Star. One of the attendants restocked both. I haven't seen the coffee machine working in at least 6 months.

The problem that I see in the NYP lounge that I have not witnessed in any of the lounges, including CHI and LAX is that some passengers 'stock up' on soda, Goldfish, chips, whatever before they leave. While waiting for the Crescent a month ago, as I was taking a bottle of water to drink in the lounge, another passenger grabbed 3-4 bags of <whatever> and a couple of Pepsi's and dropped them into a large, open top carry on. However, on several occasions at LAX, I've seen couple of PAX grab 2 cookies at LAX...usually the kids. I've not witnessed 'stocking up' at other locations along the NEC or CHI.

I suspect that the NYP lounge gets a daily 'allocation' of soda, water, snacks, etc. They simply 'stretch it out' to hopefully keep a couple of items available for passengers rather than letting the concurrent Acelas-in-both-directions + Star (or Meteor or Crescent) pax hog it all in 20 minutes flat!
I've been told this type of behavior is why they don't have cans and bottles of soda at United Clubs. People will clean them out. Same reason for not stocking anything thats pre-packaged like chips and cookies.
 

MARC Rider

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It's funny, I've never had any problem with the attendant at the lounge in New York the last few times I've been there. I just flash my Select Plus card, and they wave me in (unlike the lounge in Washington, where you have to stand in line and wait to have your card run through the computer) . The place is a dump, though, and the refreshments have been AWOL for the past couple of years at least. Even the coffee machine doesn't work.

It still has some advantages over hanging around in the madhouse, er, main waiting area, outside.

They announce the trains early (and all the Amtrak trains, not just the Acelas), though you still have to wait at the stairway (in the priority line, though) to get to the platform unless you engage the services of a redcap (best $5 you'll ever spend).

It is quieter than the outside madhouse.

The restrooms are less busy and usually in better shape the the main ones outside.
 

daybeers

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Yikes, didn't know it was such a mess! Wonder what the renovations will be: if anyone finds out, please report!

What's the status of the Moynihan Hall?
 

tricia

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According to Amtrak Service Alerts, ClubAcela is undergoing renovations soon but only for a few days. Considering the length of time and the fact it will be demolished after Amtrak moves into the new club and train hall, one wonders what is really being done. NJTransit I presume will get the entire former Amtrak terminal space.
Maybe fixing the ice machine? :rolleyes:
 

crescent-zephyr

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As to passengers stocking up on items... this is the cost of doing business and is really the last thing that Amtrak should be worrying about. Sure it’s annoying but people do annoying things! Ha.
 

Rasputin

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We have been in the New York lounge several times while transitioning from the Crescent to a Boston bound regional. We were not really looking for snacks or beverages and I guess that is a good thing based on the comments. We have found the lounge to be comparatively an oasis of peace in a world of chaos.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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I was recently in the lounge in Philadelphia and was super impressed. Espresso machine, well stocked snack dishes with quality snacks. The whole lounge was stylish and was clean. I thought Club Acelas in general had improved... I didn’t realize that was unique to Philadelphia.
From my experiences over the years, the attendant(s) in Phiily seem to take great pride in keeping the snack area well stocked. I find it actually kind-of humorous that if I take a cinnamon bun or bag of chips (which depends on the time of day), within a few minutes the attendant will backfill that empty spot.

I suspect that the NYP lounge gets a daily 'allocation' of soda, water, snacks, etc. They simply 'stretch it out' to hopefully keep a couple of items available for passengers rather than letting the concurrent Acelas-in-both-directions + Star (or Meteor or Crescent) pax hog it all in 20 minutes flat!
Also from my experiences, the attendant(s) in NYC do indeed try to ration or allocate the snacks. They will place out only a few at a time, and within a minute or two, they are all scoffed up.

I actually think that rationing out so little creates an atmosphere for doing exactly this. If you have 50 people, and put out 100 snacks, people don't feel an overpowering need to grab-while-you-can. If you have 50 people and put out only 6 snacks, people feel a now-or-never attitude (and rightfully so) even if they really aren't in the mood for a snack. And yes, in NYC they put out, for example, only 6 donuts at a time.
 

pennyk

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This was posted on another site:
Effective October 26 & 27, 2019



Amtrak is taking steps to modernize and refresh the customer waiting areas at New York - Penn Station. As a result, the ClubAcela Lounge will be closed on Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27 for renovation. Temporary seating accommodations will be available in the Amtrak/NJ TRANSIT ticketed waiting room, located on the main concourse near Tracks 13 and 14 East.



The ClubAcela Lounge will reopen on Monday, October 28.
 
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I second repairing the ice machine, and additional working beverage refrigerators. I have been in Club Acela NYP at least twice a year for the past few years (to/from 97/98), and sporadically over the previous decade. Not once do I recall the ice machine working or the sodas to be cold. Still, after the excitement and entertainment of the floor show in the concourse, the panhandlers (have 2 bucks for coffee?), the loiterers, the lost passengers (wow, trains do leave on time and I just missed my train to New Haven by 9 minutes - a recent spectacle I saw), or the roulette of the "food cave" - ahh, which fine dining selection this time: Nathans, Pizza Hut, or KFC (I forget the 4th choice, Tim Hortons?), Club Acela NYP does provide a welcome contrast of the diversity civilization. New York, New York! Got to love it!!!
 

Devil's Advocate

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There is no doubt that New York is a truly amazing place to visit, but I think you have to be half-mad to actually live and work there. Or maybe living there is what causes New Yorkers to go mad in the first place? It's hard for me to imagine having to close an entire lounge just to repair an ice or soda machine, but maybe that's just how things work there. Watching Louis Rossmann's quest for commercial retail space has been an eye-opening head scratcher.
 

Bob Dylan

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There is no doubt that New York is a truly amazing place to visit, but I think you have to be half-mad to actually live and work there. Or maybe living there is what causes New Yorkers to go mad in the first place? It's hard for me to imagine having to close an entire lounge just to repair an ice or soda machine, but maybe that's just how things work there. Watching Louis Rossmann's quest for commercial retail space has been an eye-opening head scratcher.
I Love visiting New York ( and Chicago too!) but wouldn't live in either place unless I was Rich!!!;)
 
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