Best Saratoga Springs to Manhattan Weekday Plan
November 2, 2010 11:27 AM   Subscribe

What's the best (easiest, safest, fastest) way to get from Saratoga Springs to Manhattan (and Back) on Thursday? I could drive but I don't think I want to deal with parking?

Should I drive to Poughkeepsie and take the Metro North? I can do any combination of Train / Car, but I'd like to be able to leave sometime late in the evening, on Thursday, if I need to. Time is flexible, cost doesn't matter much.
posted by Blake to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
1:50 AM is the last train to Poughkeepsie. Last Express is 12:10 AM.

Parking is a function of where you have to go. So where do you need to be?
posted by JPD at 11:31 AM on November 2, 2010

BTW - I think the car would be faster even with Traffic. Especially if you are coming back after rushhour (and even then it isn't THAT bad)

Your only option driving is Tappan Zee vs GWB. Generally the GWB option is slightly better - especially if you already have an EZ-Pass - there is an EZ-Pass only entrance from the Palisades onto the GWB that avoids a lot of traffic.
posted by JPD at 11:34 AM on November 2, 2010

Your driving options are NOT limited to the Tap or the George. I would drive one of two ways depending on time of day you leave. If you want to avoid Albany traffic, take exit 7 off the Northway and head to the Taconic. Take Taconic south all the way into lower Westchester or Bronx depending on where in NYC you want to go. The other route which is faster if there is no traffic would be to take the Northway to the Thruway south to exit 17 and take the Beacon Bridge to the Taconic south.

I have driven from Lake George to NYC roundtrip multiple times taking the routes above.
posted by AugustWest at 11:51 AM on November 2, 2010

All train via Amtrak on Thursday:
Depart SS 9:45 AM, arrive Manhattan 1:50 PM
Depart Manhattan 5:45 PM, arrive SS 9:47

Or drive to Albany for these Amtrak options:
Depart Albany at 6:30, 6:55, 8:05 or 10:00 AM (all trains take 2.5 hours to Manhattan)
Depart Manhattan at 7:15, 8:50 or 10:50 PM (all trains take 2.5 hours back to Albany)
posted by minervous at 11:56 AM on November 2, 2010

What is it about parking that you don't want to deal with?

Parking is not difficult, especially if cost isn't an issue. Just find a garage and drive there, then subway/cab/walk to where you need to be. Check for on-street and garage parking. Check for coupons.

The MTA service to/from Poughkeepsie is slow and only runs hourly. If this were me, I'd rather be on the road and driving home already than arriving at the station early to be sure of not missing my train.

I'll throw out the option of driving to White Plains and taking the train from there if you're really against the idea of driving into the city. The express is 30 minutes; several trains an hour run into the night, though some of those will be local.
posted by devbrain at 12:11 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

There really is only very slow and painful public transportation between Albany & Saratoga.

Train is also unnecessarily slow all the way into Saratoga and limited in frequency. There is a bus (Peterpan maybe?) which also arrives/departs from the Saratoga Amtrak station. Transportation from the Saratoga Amtrak station may also be tricky as there aren't always cabs on hand. Definitely look up a local cab number if you will be using cabs in Saratoga.

Parking in Saratoga is quite easy -- there are multiple free public lots with 2(ish) hour parking or a paid lot (or two) with multiple hour parking. Street parking is also a possibility.

I've driven NYC > Saratoga region many times and either the thruway or the taconic are fairly fast and seem to be less obnoxious than the train which is often delayed along northern routes.

Also perhaps another option would be to take a more frequent train into Albany and rent a car from the Albany train station. Enterprise rents from Albany amtrak.
posted by countrymod at 12:33 PM on November 2, 2010

Taconic is much much slower then the Thruway anytime other than the weekend rush where the Thruway is packed to Sloatsburg. I mean the Taconic isn't even an Expressway for big stretches.
posted by JPD at 12:39 PM on November 2, 2010

Oops I totally read this wrong. Drive to Albany early, park in the garage there & take a shorter train to the city. It's relatively cheap and hassle free. I've done it several times and if you'd rather sit on a train than drive tired and/or deal with traffic then that's your best plan I think.

From NYC to Saratoga, yes drive if you can but Saratoga to NYC, eh -- train.
posted by countrymod at 12:47 PM on November 2, 2010

If you park in a garage, parking is really not an issue in Manhattan. I would prefer to drive. If you leave really early in the morning you can miss the Manhattan rush-hour traffic. I also have taken the Metro North. It is really a nice ride, just make sure you get an express and not a local. The locals made me want to cry and bite someone.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 1:55 PM on November 2, 2010

I live in White Plains, and often visit family in SS, and work in NYC. This combination has seen me take just about all of the available ground-based routes...

An Amtrack train is going to be the easiest on you, but more time consuming. Cost is not too bad, given the cost of gas, and may even be cheaper w/o parking. (I know cost is not an issue, but if that is the deciding factor, saving a few bucks is not bad.)

Driving - I will definitely recommend taking the Taconic, although as noted above, it is not a highway - it is dark, windy, and full of cops. It's also a gorgeous drive, especially at this time of year. It's also the most toll-free option.

The Thruway is an option, but then involves tolls and highway hijinks on 87, 287, and the TZ Bridge. While the Taconic is not immune to backups, it's far less heavily traveled.

Because I often need a car in SS, I often drive up, leaving from White Plains to get there, taking the Taconic. If my S.O. has her car up there, I will instead take Amtrack from NYC, curl up with a book for about 3-4 hours, and arrive unstressed. If you don't need a car in NYC, avoid bringing it in - no hassles parking, paying for it, getting lost driving, etc.
posted by GJSchaller at 2:15 PM on November 2, 2010

The Taconic is awesome, as long as you like the twisties and the weather is nice (and you don't get a ticket if you're got a heavy foot). I don't like taking the Taconic in the rain at night. (I also like it since I don't go to Manhattan but instead head over though the Bronx and over to Queens, but the idea is the same. You get to avoid a lot of other headaches and for the most part can zip right along.)
posted by Brian Puccio at 2:48 PM on November 2, 2010

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