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Via Garibaldi 8

Is Penn Station via the MNRR Hudson Line a Possibility Again?

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For years, there has been talk off and on in Riverdale about the Hudson line running via the West Side to Penn Station via Amtrak's tracks. Yesterday morning while waiting for my MNRR train to GCT, I saw my Assemblyman talking about the idea of running MNRR service to the Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil stations with an individual who was clearly well versed with how the tracks are laid out along the Hudson Line. The thinking is that the track layout wouldn't allow for direct service to Penn Station for people in South Riverdale (Spuyten Duyvil) but an alternative would be to simply run shuttles (Hudson Raillink buses) up to the Riverdale - Wave Hill station where such trains could stop. There could also be a push for even more service to GCT with the argument being that Upstairs Riverdale does not have a subway and relies on MNRR like Westchester. I think that would be an uphill battle since more express trains from Westchester would have to be opened up to stopping in Riverdale, but the (MTA) has given Riverdale some of those trains already that make no stops in the South Bronx and run semi-express to GCT.

 

Given what is set to happen in eastern parts of the Bronx, I would think that this project has a chance. The river towns like Croton-On-Hudson, Tarrytown, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington and so forth would certainly go for it. It could be a huge development. Thoughts?

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Posted (edited)

Alternative 1 has a station around 62nd Street (they're not sure where exactly yet. They're looking in the general 57th-72nd Street area for an exact site) and another station at 125th, both of which I agree with. In addition to making it easier to reach those areas from Westchester (and also allow whatever reverse commuters there are to make their way out to Westchester). I know a few people who commute from Westchester to CCNY (who would be able to walk from 125th. Obviously, Columbia is in the immediate area, especially with the expansion project), and 62nd is within walking distance of John Jay & Fordham.

 

The UWS station is also in a relatively isolated area subway-wise. It's west of West End Avenue, which is the equivalent of 11th Avenue, so you might get some people who don't feel like walking over to the subway. (Especially if they have some type of pass already). 

Edited by checkmatechamp13

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Posted (edited)

Alternative 1 has a station around 62nd Street (they're not sure where exactly yet. They're looking in the general 57th-72nd Street area for an exact site) and another station at 125th, both of which I agree with. In addition to making it easier to reach those areas from Westchester (and also allow whatever reverse commuters there are to make their way out to Westchester). I know a few people who commute from Westchester to CCNY (who would be able to walk from 125th. Obviously, Columbia is in the immediate area, especially with the expansion project), and 62nd is within walking distance of John Jay & Fordham.

 

The UWS station is also in a relatively isolated area subway-wise. It's west of West End Avenue, which is the equivalent of 11th Avenue, so you might get some people who don't feel like walking over to the subway. (Especially if they have some type of pass already).

 

I overheard 67th street as an option. My Assemblyman needs to get out more because he made some pretty dumb comments. For example, he asked why 67th street was being considered for the stop? The SAS was brought up, and he commented about how it was Manhattan centric and for the rich and how other places of New York City needed things like Crosstown bus service. Most of Yorkville has been middle class though of course there are pockets of wealth. I don't see it as a must for us in Riverdale because we already have the BxM2 to Penn Station, but it would likely cut down on travel time. The BxM2 has been a mess ever since construction started in the Times Square area so the bus is practically empty Southbound by 50th street. That is something the (MTA) needs to address. Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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It would depend on the locations of the Manhattan stops, and the associated ridership projections, but I do think it could potentially work...

 

It would also require widening the ROW from 2 tracks to 4; you'd have to involve Amtrak in the discussion both if you decide 2 tracks are enough and if you expand to 4 tracks. 

 

I'm kinda iffy on this proposal; it sounds good for now, but I'd just need to see some more details...

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I'm all for this proposal. Especially on the New Haven side since that means the Northeast Bronx and Southeast Bronx are gonna finally have a quicker way to Penn/West Side rather than using the subway.

 

I'm for the Hudson getting it too, but I have some questions too regarding both:

 

-How are they coordinate with Amtrak on this? The proposal involves using Amtrak ROW for both lines.

 

-Will Amtrak make any of these new stops? For example, will we see select Northeast Regional trains serving Co-Op City and select Empire Service trains serving 125th for Columbia? Or is that just a pipe dream?

 

-Will the MTA look into expanding Metro-North's fleet to accommodate this expansion? I don't know much about ridership growth on the Hudson (VG8, can you lend your observations on this?), but I've always thought MNRR would do fine handling any extra growth if they got Multilevels like NJTs. As for the New Haven, I feel as if they're gonna have less trains going to Penn than the Hudson line will so I feel like they won't need as many trains.

 

Obviously this proposal is still in the planning stages, so we have to wait and see. As much as I would love to see Amtrak serve the Bronx, that very well may be a question of demand in the immediate areas. I guess it could see some usage from communities like Throggs Neck, and I'll even stretch it by saying it could see usage from Co-Op itself.

 

 

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It would depend on the locations of the Manhattan stops, and the associated ridership projections, but I do think it could potentially work...

 

It would also require widening the ROW from 2 tracks to 4; you'd have to involve Amtrak in the discussion both if you decide 2 tracks are enough and if you expand to 4 tracks. 

 

I'm kinda iffy on this proposal; it sounds good for now, but I'd just need to see some more details...

Of course it could work.  This has been talked about for years going back several years ago.  It's just a question of making it happen.  Because Riverdale has a plethora of transportation options I think it was just tossed around, but with congestion worsening, it would be a nice option.  Ridership trends seem to show that people who work below 50th street in my neighborhood of near Grand Central take Metro-North.  Those working above that take the express bus, with some likely taking the bus to the (4) train at Bedford Park Blvd. but I don't think there that many people doing that for the East Side.  For the West Side, most people in Riverdale work either in West Midtown around 57th street, on the Upper West Side, or at Mount Sinai, so the BxM2 won't lose those riders.  This would however open up an option for those who may have overlooked the neighborhood who work in West Midtown near Penn Station.  Having TWO trains that can get you to East or West Midtown in 30 - 35 minutes is impressive.  A perfect example... Last Friday I got the 23:20 train out GCT, and was home before 00:00, even with connecting with the shuttle bus.  About a 30 minute commute.  

 

I'm all for this proposal. Especially on the New Haven side since that means the Northeast Bronx and Southeast Bronx are gonna finally have a quicker way to Penn/West Side rather than using the subway.

 

I'm for the Hudson getting it too, but I have some questions too regarding both:

 

-How are they coordinate with Amtrak on this? The proposal involves using Amtrak ROW for both lines.

 

-Will Amtrak make any of these new stops? For example, will we see select Northeast Regional trains serving Co-Op City and select Empire Service trains serving 125th for Columbia? Or is that just a pipe dream?

 

-Will the MTA look into expanding Metro-North's fleet to accommodate this expansion? I don't know much about ridership growth on the Hudson (VG8, can you lend your observations on this?), but I've always thought MNRR would do fine handling any extra growth if they got Multilevels like NJTs. As for the New Haven, I feel as if they're gonna have less trains going to Penn than the Hudson line will so I feel like they won't need as many trains.

 

Obviously this proposal is still in the planning stages, so we have to wait and see. As much as I would love to see Amtrak serve the Bronx, that very well may be a question of demand in the immediate areas. I guess it could see some usage from communities like Throggs Neck, and I'll even stretch it by saying it could see usage from Co-Op itself.

 

 

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This entire project could be a major game changer.  However, with the current track set up it would only benefit Riverdale and Westchester.  With the configuration of the tracks and MNRR having to use Amtrak's tracks, the only pickup within the New York City outside of Manhattan will be at the Riverdale - Wave Hill station.  While busing is an option during the week to that station, I have concerns as well, one being that the Riverdale station is much more inaccessible than the Spuyten Duyvil station.  On occasion I use the Riverdale station, but because of the very hilly nature driving to the station makes more sense.  The Hudson Rail Link shuttle doesn't run on weekends, so I usually take Metro-North into the city and then the express bus back to avoid the hill situation OR, I would use the Spuyten Duyvil station, which is also very hilly, but you have more people that will actually brave the stairs and hills and walk from the station.  I've done both, and the Riverdale station in either direction is brutal for walking, especially coming back from Manhattan.

 

As for ridership growth, the Hudson Line has seen tremendous growth.  When I first moved to Riverdale, the (MTA) began an aggressive marketing campaign at bus shelters, noting the convenience and quickness of Metro-North, and to some extent it kind of led me to use it more to the point to where I alternate between the express bus and the commuter train.  I think the Amtrak situation can be worked out just fine, and while MNRR does have a limited amount of fleet, there are more new cars due for the Hudson Line soon to replace the older fleet, so that should help.

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There's no point in spending all that money reconfiguring the tracks just to serve an extra section of Riverdale. Remember that across from Spuyten Duyvil is Inwood Hill Park, so in addition to the cost of building an extra connection to backtrack to the Amtrak Line, you have to deal with the environmental issues of going through the park.

 

Another Hudson Rail Link line could be created from the Spuyten Duyvil area up to the Riverdale station, and the rest of the passengers can continue taking the BxM2 or Bx10/20-(1) train like they do now. 

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There's no point in spending all that money reconfiguring the tracks just to serve an extra section of Riverdale. Remember that across from Spuyten Duyvil is Inwood Hill Park, so in addition to the cost of building an extra connection to backtrack to the Amtrak Line, you have to deal with the environmental issues of going through the park.

 

Another Hudson Rail Link line could be created from the Spuyten Duyvil area up to the Riverdale station, and the rest of the passengers can continue taking the BxM2 or Bx10/20-(1) train like they do now.

 

The track issue regarding Spuyten Duyvil (the neighborhood and the station) has to be brought up regardless of cost because the station serves the bulk of the riders from Riverdale. In order for such a project to work it would need to be established how you're going to get riders from the densest parts of Riverdale, which are Spuyten Duyvil (South Riverdale) and Central Riverdale. Now if they have to bus people to the Riverdale station there has to be enough room to accommodate that many new buses and cars plus the cars and buses that already come there. The folks in Fieldston and North Riverdale are likely the ones using that station, with some people from Central Riverdale as well. Spuyten Duyvil is more accessible for those who want to walk or take the local bus so then the question is how to market such a plan if the Riverdale station has to be the station for all Riverdale residents. That's really the question. There will be additional costs either way.

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 Ridership trends seem to show that people who work below 50th street in my neighborhood of near Grand Central take Metro-North.  Those working above that take the express bus, with some likely taking the bus to the (4) train at Bedford Park Blvd. but I don't think there that many people doing that for the East Side.  For the West Side, most people in Riverdale work either in West Midtown around 57th street, on the Upper West Side, or at Mount Sinai, so the BxM2 won't lose those riders.  This would however open up an option for those who may have overlooked the neighborhood who work in West Midtown near Penn Station.  Having TWO trains that can get you to East or West Midtown in 30 - 35 minutes is impressive.  A perfect example... Last Friday I got the 23:20 train out GCT, and was home before 00:00, even with connecting with the shuttle bus.  About a 30 minute commute. 

So in addition to Penn Station, stations in Midtown (either 50th, 53rd or 57th) and 72nd Street and then 116th Street for Columbia?

 

I would be very interested to see commuting patterns for the rest of the Hudson line.

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The track issue regarding Spuyten Duyvil (the neighborhood and the station) has to be brought up regardless of cost because the station serves the bulk of the riders from Riverdale. In order for such a project to work it would need to be established how you're going to get riders from the densest parts of Riverdale, which are Spuyten Duyvil (South Riverdale) and Central Riverdale. Now if they have to bus people to the Riverdale station there has to be enough room to accommodate that many new buses and cars plus the cars and buses that already come there. The folks in Fieldston and North Riverdale are likely the ones using that station, with some people from Central Riverdale as well. Spuyten Duyvil is more accessible for those who want to walk or take the local bus so then the question is how to market such a plan if the Riverdale station has to be the station for all Riverdale residents. That's really the question. There will be additional costs either way.

 

Yeah, but while those riders in Spuyten Duyvil make up a decent percentage of Hudson Line riders (considering it's just one stop), you have to consider that it would be slowing down riders coming from Westchester (presumably Putnam/Dutchess riders would be on trains that go express after Yonkers, so they would be taking the straight tracks anyway). The question is: Does the time saved by West Midtown-bound Spuyten Duyvil riders warrant the inconvenience to West Midtown-bound Westchester riders and the extra cost involved in creating a branch just for them? 

 

So in addition to Penn Station, stations in Midtown (either 50th, 53rd or 57th) and 72nd Street and then 116th Street for Columbia?

 

I would be very interested to see commuting patterns for the rest of the Hudson line.

 

The plans right now are for 3 stops in Manhattan: Penn Station, UWS, and West Harlem. 

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, but while those riders in Spuyten Duyvil make up a decent percentage of Hudson Line riders (considering it's just one stop), you have to consider that it would be slowing down riders coming from Westchester (presumably Putnam/Dutchess riders would be on trains that go express after Yonkers, so they would be taking the straight tracks anyway). The question is: Does the time saved by West Midtown-bound Spuyten Duyvil riders warrant the inconvenience to West Midtown-bound Westchester riders and the extra cost involved in creating a branch just for them?

 

 

 

The plans right now are for 3 stops in Manhattan: Penn Station, UWS, and West Harlem.

 

I don't think that's an issue. The (MTA) already opened up trains to Riverdale that previously didn't serve the community. Given the service increases here, and seeing more people use the service, the question is how to make that one station work given how isolated it is, especially on weekends when the Hudson Rail link doesn't run. A lack of access can deter ridership which is one reason Spuyten Duyvil sees more riders. If more people drive to the Riverdale station then changes have to be made to accommodate more cars parking there, so assuming Riverdale - Wave Hill is the station for the entire community, those are the issues that have to be addressed. Because of Riverdale's location, lack of subway and suburban layout, it has more in common with Westchester in terms of usage.

 

It's like parts of Staten Island that have more in common with suburban New Jersey.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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As for ridership growth, the Hudson Line has seen tremendous growth.  When I first moved to Riverdale, the (MTA) began an aggressive marketing campaign at bus shelters, noting the convenience and quickness of Metro-North, and to some extent it kind of led me to use it more to the point to where I alternate between the express bus and the commuter train.  I think the Amtrak situation can be worked out just fine, and while MNRR does have a limited amount of fleet, there are more new cars due for the Hudson Line soon to replace the older fleet, so that should help.

Thanks, hopefully when it comes time to buy new push-pull cars, they'll look into getting Multilevels and spec the interiors similar to the M8s with the outlets (something NJT should've done, but then again phones weren't as important at the time they ordered theirs). 

 

Another question for you, do you think any Riverdale residents would utilize Empire Service trains if they were to stop there? I don't mean as in of droves of people going downtown, but say you have that one commuter that travels to Poughkeepsie or maybe even Albany for work and would be willing to spend the extra money for a one-seat ride there. 

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 How do you even connect Spuyten Duyvil Station if it's not even on the Amtrak mainline? Relocating the station? Maybe I'm missing something.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks, hopefully when it comes time to buy new push-pull cars, they'll look into getting Multilevels and spec the interiors similar to the M8s with the outlets (something NJT should've done, but then again phones weren't as important at the time they ordered theirs). 

 

Another question for you, do you think any Riverdale residents would utilize Empire Service trains if they were to stop there? I don't mean as in of droves of people going downtown, but say you have that one commuter that travels to Poughkeepsie or maybe even Albany for work and would be willing to spend the extra money for a one-seat ride there. 

Well I can't say it isn't possible.  There are a few reverse commuters that get on at the Spuyten Duyvil station, but certainly not that many of them.  Riverdale is a bedroom community, and as such, the focus really is on travel to and from Manhattan.  If we were talking about the Fordham station or even stations in the Bronx on the Hudson line like Morris Heights, University Heights or Yankees-East 153rd street, maybe it would be possible, but I don't those passengers could afford such a high ticket price.  I think a lot of those people pay the intermediate fare ($3.00) from the Bronx to say Yonkers, which is just a little more than the cost of a subway ride.  

 

 How do you even connect Spuyten Duyvil Station if it's not even on the Amtrak mainline? Relocating the station? Maybe I'm missing something.

I have no idea why you're talking about that when that was already discussed.  What we're talking about now is the logistics of using just the Riverdale station to accommodate ALL commuters that live in Riverdale, and since most of the MNRR ridership in Riverdale comes from the Spuyten Duyvil station, you can't just ignore those riders.  They have to be accommodated.  

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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Well I can't say it isn't possible.  There are a few reverse commuters that get on at the Spuyten Duyvil station, but certainly not that many of them.  Riverdale is a bedroom community, and as such, the focus really is on travel to and from Manhattan.  If we were talking about the Fordham station or even stations in the Bronx on the Hudson line like Morris Heights, University Heights or Yankees-East 153rd street, maybe it would be possible, but I don't those passengers could afford such a high ticket price.  I think a lot of those people pay the intermediate fare ($3.00) from the Bronx to say Yonkers, which is just a little more than the cost of a subway ride.  

 

I have no idea why you're talking about that when that was already discussed.  What we're talking about now is the logistics of using just the Riverdale station to accommodate ALL commuters that live in Riverdale, and since most of the MNRR ridership in Riverdale comes from the Spuyten Duyvil station, you can't just ignore those riders.  They have to be accommodated.  

Missed the comments on that. Which is why ended with maybe I'm missing something. Since where talking about logistics my favorite topic I may add. What's the boat traffic? Circle line etc. The current bridge has to open for a canoe what's the talk about a new Bridge and some clearance. Pardon me again if this was also already discussed working on my form etiquette right along with my spelling and grammar. 20 years of dependence on Mircosoft word will do you in. 

Amtrak_Mainline_Spuyten-Duyvil%20Bitmap_

Umm that could work.

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Missed the comments on that. Which is why ended with maybe I'm missing something. Since where talking about logistics my favorite topic I may add. What's the boat traffic? Circle line etc. The current bridge has to open for a canoe what's the talk about a new Bridge and some clearance. Pardon me again if this was also already discussed working on my form etiquette right along with my spelling and grammar. 20 years of dependence on Mircosoft word will do you in. 

Umm that could work.

There is some boat traffic, but nothing egregious.  There was a Circle Line boat passing through while I waited for the train the other day and the bridge just swung open, the boat passed through and everything continued as normal. An Amtrak train had just passed through, so I don't think that will be a big deal.  We aren't talking about a large amount of trains traveling on the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge anyway.  

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The main issue right now is that this can't happen until East Side Access or Gateway open up and free up platform capacity at Penn. So we're talking the mid-2020s at the earliest.

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Posted (edited)

There is some boat traffic, but nothing egregious.  There was a Circle Line boat passing through while I waited for the train the other day and the bridge just swung open, the boat passed through and everything continued as normal. An Amtrak train had just passed through, so I don't think that will be a big deal.  We aren't talking about a large amount of trains traveling on the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge anyway.  

Right for Amtrak but now where talking Amtrak and Metro North? How many trains are we talking per hour with this added service? You'd have to build a second track at least. Are you talking EMU service? Is that a 3rd rail extension down the west side. This seems it could be a bit much for just a few people. The NEC is a different animal the main infrastructure is in place already.

The main issue right now is that this can't happen until East Side Access or Gateway open up and free up platform capacity at Penn. So we're talking the mid-2020s at the earliest.

2020 is 3 years away is time to at least ask the questions.

Edited by RailRunRob

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Right for Amtrak but now where talking Amtrak and Metro North? How many trains are we talking per hour with this added service? You'd have to build a second track at least. Are you talking EMU service? Is that a 3rd rail extension down the west side. This seems it could be a bit much for just a few people. The NEC is a different animal the main infrastructure is in place already.

2020 is 3 years away is time to at least ask the questions.

I think it's too soon to figure all of that out.  You have to first figure out the logistics with the Spuyten Duyvil and Riverdale stations and if you can accommodate the passengers for the service.  

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2020 is 3 years away is time to at least ask the questions.

 

East Side Access is always six years away, because six years ago it was "six years away". Gateway is also looking very iffy.

 

All this talk is just talk unless someone can actually make the walk, but the walk isn't possible unless either of those projects wrap up. And even then, the Penn Station Access via the New Haven Line is more of a political priority right now.

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East Side Access is always six years away, because six years ago it was "six years away". Gateway is also looking very iffy.

 

All this talk is just talk unless someone can actually make the walk, but the walk isn't possible unless either of those projects wrap up. And even then, the Penn Station Access via the New Haven Line is more of a political priority right now.

Exactly.  I think it would make more sense to really push this once East Side Access is done.  For now studying the logistics makes sense.

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East Side Access is always six years away, because six years ago it was "six years away". Gateway is also looking very iffy.

 

All this talk is just talk unless someone can actually make the walk, but the walk isn't possible unless either of those projects wrap up. And even then, the Penn Station Access via the New Haven Line is more of a political priority right now.

But isn't that the point? At least for the forum, we all come here to be able to talk and go back and forth on ideas. You know all the stuff normal people don't look twice at.  (Shrugs) We talk about all the plans that never made it second system. Impact statements from 1998,2004 so on so. never stopped anyone else from talking and planning. Six years is nothing.   

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Exactly.  I think it would make more sense to really push this once East Side Access is done.  For now studying the logistics makes sense.

But it's simple math. It's not hard to at least have an idea of what kinda of capacity you'd have open with the ESA and the extra tracks with Penn South plus the new New Haven access which if it came down to it we all know is going to win. None of your logistics mean for nothing if capacity doesn't allow for it. You're merging into existing traffic. So yeah how many cars you plan on coming down entry ramp kinda matters it might dictate whether the services is even possible from jump.

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But it's simple math. It's not hard to at least have an idea of what kinda of capacity you'd have open with the ESA and the extra tracks with Penn South plus the new New Haven access which if it came down to it we all know is going to win. None of your logistics mean for nothing if capacity doesn't allow for it. You're merging into existing traffic. So yeah how many cars you plan on coming down entry ramp kinda matters it might dictate whether the services is even possible from jump.

Well they can do a study for that.  The New Haven Line Penn Station project is all but done in terms of it being the #1 priority.  Quite frankly I'm sure the Assemblyman has thought about all of the things you're discussing. For me having Metro-North run to Penn Station would be nice, but I'm not losing sleep over it.  I'm happy with Metro-North going to Grand Central.  For the West Side, I use the express bus anyway.

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