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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows

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wonderwaiter
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#1
Posted: 10/9/19 at 10:21pm

I've recently moved to the Greater(ish) Boston area for work. I've enjoyed being able to get into Boston to see some tours and pre-Broadway tryouts, but I'd love to branch out and make day trips to NYC for shows as well.

I know from the posts here that quite a few of you travel from New York to Boston for matinees, and I would assume there is also a fair amount of people traveling from Boston to NYC for the same purposes. I would love to hear anything and everything about your experiences.

For example, do you take the train or the bus? How long does it take in reality? How good or bad is the experience? Is it comfortable? Is it reasonably affordable? How's the WiFi?  These are the kinds of things I want to know about. Any insight, tips, funny anecdotes or horror stories would be greatly appreciated!

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teatime2
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#2
Posted: 10/9/19 at 10:25pm

I use the Megabus. It isn't the most luxurious way to travel, but it's dirt cheap. The vehicles usually have wifi that work somewhat well. It's about four hours both ways, and it's a pretty long day of travel but well worth it!

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Jordan Catalano
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#3
Posted: 10/9/19 at 10:28pm
I use Megabus or Bolt bus when I go to Boston. I usually try to do it where I arrive in the afternoon, see an evening show and then stay the night, see a matinee the next day and back to NYC that night.
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dramamama611
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#4
Posted: 10/9/19 at 10:36pm
None have fabulous wifi...good for emails and facebook...not for streaming.

The train is more comfortable, but also MUCH more expensive without saving much time.

I usually take Greyhound since they drop off and leave from Port Authority. The discount lines do not...and unless you book pretty far out, the rates are similar. I would never do it for just one ahow. I usually leave at 700am to be in the city by 11ish. I see both a matinee and an evening show, then take the midnight bus home.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
gray_area
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#5
Posted: 10/9/19 at 11:22pm

Greyhound buses are the most reliable and convenient for shows since it drops off at Port Authority on 42nd and 8th. If you wanna splurge on a bus to midtown, there's the Limoliner that drops off/leaves from Midtown Hilton on 53rd. It's cheaper than most amtrak routes and they provide meals/drinks. Buses are the worst for travel during long weekends/holidays though, esp. thanksgiving. Unless you take the odd hour bus schedules, prepared to be in the bus for 5-6 hours.

I find regional Amtrak to be worth if I have to work on the trip to/from NYC and want to be comfortable but the Regional rail situation lately hasn't been great. Otherwise, bus is really the way to go. If you're time pressed and got money to spare, take the Acela.

If you luck out on a good weather day, flying can be the fastest. Early morning/late night flights in/out of LGA took my whole round trip travel time down to 6 hours door to door total but I was kinda anxious about making my flights and found that it just wasn't worth that added stress. I've only done it once and swore I wouldn't again haha.

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Susanswerphone
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#6
Posted: 10/10/19 at 4:55am

Bolt is usually the least expensive option and will deposit you at 36St & 11 Av. A five minute walk and a few bucks puts you on the #7 subway, one stop to Times Square. As noted, Bolt wi-Fi isn't premium but you can sometimes (often) snag a $1 ticket which is nice. On weekends, there are also runs to 39St & 1st Av. Walk 4 blocks to 42nd St. and hop on the crosstown bus. Not as efficient but still an option.
At Port Authority, in addition to the loathsome Greyhound, is Peter Pan. Prices comparable to Greyhound and a much more civilized, sensible boarding process. You buy your e-ticket and done. No additional "check in" two hours prior just to be assigned a boarding number. By and large, Peter Pan buses are cleaner, more comfortable with fully working amenities and the employees are infinitely nicer. Drawback on Bolt and PP, no late night runs to Boston. If you cannot stay overnight, your options are Greyhound, Megabus or Amtrak.

If you plan to see shows downtown (the Public, Soho Playhouse, etc.) on arrival, Lucky Star departs at South Station and drops on Canal Street. Super clean, and excellent wifi.

Updated On: 10/10/19 at 04:55 AM
AllThatJazz2
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#7
Posted: 10/10/19 at 8:02am
I primarily fly via JetBlue these days - I have a JetBlue card and rack up enough points for free flights. Rates are usually really good, and I like the expediency of air travel. Before flying, I’d catch the Amtrak into Penn Station, or use Greyhound or BoltBus.
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givesmevoice
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#8
Posted: 10/10/19 at 9:07am

I went to college in Boston and frequently took the bus to Port Authority to go home to New Jersey. It's definitely less expensive to take a bus, but honestly you couldn't pay me to get on a Greyhound bus again. At least when I was traveling between 2004 and 2008, if you got on the bus at the wrong time, you hit incredible traffic in Connecticut, and the bus would often come into New York in the Bronx and just drive down the street in Manhattan to Port Authority. Sometimes the bus ride was four hours, sometimes the bus ride was over six hours.

If you can afford to take the train, do that. There's often sales on the Northeast Regional Line, and if you buy in advance it's only about $54 each way.

When I see the phrase "the ____ estate", I imagine a vast mansion in the country full of monocled men and high-collared women receiving letters about productions across the country and doing spit-takes at whatever they contain. -Kad
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dramamama611
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#9
Posted: 10/10/19 at 9:15am

I've not seen it that cheap ever(well, in the last 5 years)....just how far in advance are you talking?  

 

(And there website for me has been very difficult lately.)

If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
Updated On: 10/10/19 at 09:15 AM
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Jordan Catalano
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#10
Posted: 10/10/19 at 9:20am
Yeah I’ve never seen those prices for the train either. Is there some secret to finding them?
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givesmevoice
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#11
Posted: 10/10/19 at 9:29am

I just went to look, because I realized that I'd been looking at NYC - WAS trips recently, and thought maybe I was totally off, but I'm looking at trips between Boston South Station and New York Penn for November 9th and there's a few $56 options. They're under the Saver column. Sometimes with the sales, Acela trains are in the $75-$85 range. 

Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows

When I see the phrase "the ____ estate", I imagine a vast mansion in the country full of monocled men and high-collared women receiving letters about productions across the country and doing spit-takes at whatever they contain. -Kad
Updated On: 10/10/19 at 09:29 AM
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dramamama611
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#12
Posted: 10/10/19 at 9:37am

Yes, I see it now....but none of those would work trying to get a matinee (MAYBE the one scheduled to get in at 1pm....if one wanted to risk it.).

 

Still, with round trip, that's more that 2x what I would likely pay for Greyhound.  Which, by the way, you can "check in" on line for a boarding number.   It's not a hassle at all. (it's world's better than it used to be!)

If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
Joe Mayo
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joined:7/28/19
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#13
Posted: 10/10/19 at 9:58am

Jordan Catalano said: "Yeah I’ve never seen those prices for the train either. Is there some secret to finding them?"

Amtrak regularly has sales, I just get their emails. They recently had a sale for $39 seats from Boston to NY for travel between Nov 1 and Feb 29.

Joe Mayo
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#14
Posted: 10/10/19 at 9:59am

wonderwaiter said: "I've recently moved to the Greater(ish) Boston area for work. I've enjoyed being able to get into Boston to see some tours and pre-Broadway tryouts, but I'd love to branch out and make day trips to NYC for shows as well.

I know from the posts here that quite a few of you travel from New York to Boston for matinees, and I would assume there is also a fair amount of people traveling from Boston to NYC for the same purposes. I would love to hear anything and everything about your experiences.

For example, do you take the train or the bus? How long does it take in reality? How good or bad is the experience? Is it comfortable? Is it reasonably affordable? How's the WiFi?These are the kinds of things I want to know about. Any insight, tips, funny anecdotes or horror stories would be greatly appreciated!
"

How far outside the city and in which direction?

That would drive some additional recommendations (assuming you aren't North in NH).

Dollypop
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#15
Posted: 10/10/19 at 1:56pm
It's been my experience that the bus rides from Boston to New York take about an hour longer than rides heading in the opposite direction. I guess we hit rush hour traffic going into mid-town.
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RWPrincess
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#16
Posted: 10/10/19 at 2:53pm

I live outside Manhattan so it's more convenient for me to get to the airport than to Port Authority or Penn Station. When I go to Boston, I usually fly Jetblue. They have enough flights out of JFK and LGA that a day trip is feasible and they have sales often as well. 

theaterdarling
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#17
Posted: 10/10/19 at 5:22pm

I do the Boston to NYC trip frequently for matinees. I don't use the bus, most frequently travel by train. I live in the Boston suburbs so I use the Rte 128/Westwood station.  For me is so much easier than going downtown to South Station. It is a breeze to get in and out of and parking is always plentiful. On weekends, you can park really close to (literally within steps of) the station's entrance  I've driven into that parking lot literally 5 minutes before the train was due (overslept!) and still made the train (don't recommend that though).  About $15 for parking                                                                                                        

My usual routine is to take the 6:46AM Regional Amtrak which normally gets in (in my experience) at about 11:15AM, though published arrival is 10:53AM.  Yes, yes it's early, but I grab a Starbucks and breakfast sandwich and settle in the Quiet Car (a must when I am by myself). With great reading/listening material it is actually quite relaxing because it is soooo quiet--you can snooze too. I have never missed a matinee with this train. Wi-Fi is sometimes spotty. I then have time to get something to eat before the show, take a stroll or do a quick in and out at MOMA. On Saturdays, I've never risked taking the next Regional (at 8:40AM) which gets says it gets in at 1:03PM but which more likely means 1:30PM (on a good day) and that is cutting it too close for me. (I've never had an Amtrak arrive on time in NY despite almost always on time departure, though have never been more than a half hour late arriving). For Sunday 3:00PM matinee the 8:40AM works. On a nice day I walk from Penn station to the theater or otherwise take the subway.  I take the 5PM or 7PM train home depending, of course, when show ends.                                                                                                                                           

Though I've splurged on Acela once in awhile, it is not worth the extra money to me, when, generally, according to published departure/arrival times, the trip is only about 35 to 40 minutes shorter. Certainly you can leave later in the morning if you are Acela inclined.                                                                          

I only use the Saver fares which (for Regional) which I've gotten as low as $39 or $49 when there is a sale (and there are frequent sales). If not on sale, the Saver price does now hover around $56, as others have noted, but usually you need to  book about 3 weeks in advance for the lowest Saver. Those fares go quickly and are not usually available or they are not as cheap if you book last minute.  Sign up for the Amtrak email and you will be notified of sales. Also sign up for Amtrak's guest rewards program if you plan to use the train regularly. I have been able to earn several free BOS/NYC trips with rewards points.

On occasion, when I couldn't make the early Amtrak or when Penn Central Station was experiencing horrendous outgoing delays a year or so (or more?!) ago (and if you have a car or friend with a car) I have driven to New Haven (about 2 1/2 hours) and taken the Metro North to Grand Central (about 2 hours -weekends usually about $35.00 round trip, I think parking is about $14) then subway to theater (or walk if its a nice day and show is not at the Public). The parking lot at New Haven also has a relatively easy in and out and is attached to the station entry. Takes a little more time but it is an option when circumstances dictate.

Also, if you have a car, I have on occasion driven in (usually or a Sunday matinee when the weather is nice and the show is at Public or in the Village and could not get a Saver Fare) and always find plenty of great free! street parking, grab a meal at a bar after the show and then drive back. That is a lot of driving, but I like to drive (god bless Audible if I am by myself) or share driving duties with friends or family.  Every once in awhile, driving back and forth on the same day does not bother me but it is not, I know, everyone's cup of tea.                                                                                                                                                        

The one day back and forth, even by train, is not for everyone by I find it a very rewarding ritual especially when the show seen is worth the time and effort.  Enjoy!           

mufish
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#18
Posted: 10/10/19 at 7:50pm

I've never done a day trip, but I do make the trip fairly often - typically for leisure in the past, but I've got a new role at work so I'm making the trip monthly now for business.

I have yet to try the bus, despite it being the cheapest option.  A majority of the time I take Amtrak from Back Bay, and try to do the Acela if the fares are tolerable for me.  While it's more expensive than the NE Regional and not THAT much faster, it's still fewer stops and I don't have the stats to back it up but I'd venture to guess the on time performance is better than the Regional.

On occasion I do fly, and when I do I avoid LGA like the plague.  JFK has the AirTrain to LIRR option, and EWR allows you to take NJ Transit into the city.  I'm the type of person who goes to the airport with minimal time to spare so flying is faster than the train, but the convenience of going right into Penn Station is tough to beat.

My hesitation about the bus is largely the potential for hitting traffic on one or both of the trips, and to a lesser extent the train route is more scenic.

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BalconyClub
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#19
Posted: 10/10/19 at 7:58pm
One of my favorite episodes of SEX AND THE CITY is when their fancy plane or limo was canceled for a trip to Atlantic City, so the 4 women ended up on a round trip bus.

I use Megabus often between Chicago and Indy. I am on the Megabus RIGHT NOW for a Thursday night run to Indy. Though I've never been on the Boston-NY route, I recommend Megabus as the most affordable way to go.

I've used Megabus twice between Los Angeles and Las Vegas back in the day when non-stop trips were offered.

I've used Megabus between Austin and Houston.

One out of 10 trips is bad on the Megabus. The WIFI or outlets sometime do not work.
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David10086
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#20
Posted: 10/10/19 at 8:35pm

I live in Providence, and I've been taking the bus out of the Providence terminal for about 25 years, after wasting the first few years on AmTrak.  The bus hub used to be Bonanza, now it's Peter Pan - located right off of I- 95 (I believe exit 25).  There's parking on-site for $8 for a 24 hour period (they only take cash, I believe - so beware! No credit cards or checks).

 

I just bought a round trip ticket for this Sun - Tuesday and it was $66. I'm positive a round trip for same day is much cheaper. ( I used to do same day round trips, but now I like to stay in town for a night or two and meet up with friends and have dinner.)

I take the 8:30 bus in on a Sunday (hardly any traffic) and we're at Port Authority by 12:15 or so; plenty of time for me to grab lunch and check into my hotel for a 3 pm matinee.  I believe the last bus back to Providence on a Sunday is 7:30 pm and you get in around 10:30 - 11. 

It's comfortable, clean and great wifi. Can't go wrong - Providence is a 'short drive' from Boston on a Sunday morning!! 

GoodThingGoing3
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#21
Posted: 10/10/19 at 9:18pm

I do the Boston -> NYC trip quite often. I don't love the buses/amtrak - I find that they usually just end up taking too long/costing too much and I don't like to have to worry about catching a certain train or bus...I might want to spend another couple hours in the city!
 
My method is to drive to the MetroNorth Station in Stamford Connecticut, and then take the train to Grand Central from there. The drive from my apartment in Boston to the Stamford train station takes about two and a half hours (keeping in mind I'm doing this on Saturday and Sunday mornings) and then it's a 50 minute train ride to NYC. I park at the garage attached to the station and it ends up costing about $10 for the day. Round trip train tickets are about $22. Of course, there are some tolls on the pike, and gas costs as well.

In the end, I can leave my apartment at 8:00am and be in the city around 11:30am pretty easily. Trains leave for Stamford from Grand Central every half hour or so, which gives me the freedom to leave the city whenever I want. 

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Wee Thomas2
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#22
Posted: 10/11/19 at 6:24pm

We've never done a "down and back" in one day.  We always stay over and see 2 (or 4) shows, depending on if it's a regular weekend or a long weekend.  And we always drive.  Bus/train fare for 2 is competitive with driving (we leave Boston wicked early), and we like the control of driving

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msmp
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Traveling between Boston and NYC for shows#23
Posted: 10/11/19 at 8:30pm

Wee Thomas2 said: "We've never done a "down and back" in one day. We always stay over and see 2 (or 4) shows, depending on if it's a regular weekend or a long weekend. And we always drive. Bus/train fare for 2 is competitive with driving (we leave Boston wicked early), and we like the control of driving"

This is what we do, though we're coming from Providence which shaves 45 mins off the total drive time. 95 to the Merritt Parkway to Saw Mill usually gets us there in ~3.5 hours, which is usually pretty good for us since neither of us work on Friday afternoons. Gets us there in time to see shows Friday night, Saturday x2, and a Sunday matinee before driving back.

When I've gone solo, I've done the train, but only if I can book far enough in advance that the prices aren't budget-busting; I won't pay more for the train than I do for a (non-premium) ticket to a show.