Philly to NYC for a show!
October 14, 2011 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Philly to NYC for a concert: help me plan. I am going to the Duran Duran concert with openers Neon Trees in Madison Square Garden. I have never been to the venue. We are going to take the bus up that day and need to be back in Philly in the morning. What's the best way to do this?

So the guy I've been casually dating spontaneously decided to take me to see Neon Trees in NYC when I was talking about how disappointed I was that I won't be able to see them when they're in Philly next week! Really awesome! I don't go to a lot of shows, and have never been to one in NYC.

First off, he got tickets in section 01 -- are these good seats for a concert? I know they're close, but is there going to be an obstructed view or something?

The general plan is to leave Philly around 3 (we're both in school and are planning on going to our morning classes). This will get us to NYC around 5/5:30 and the show starts at 7:30. Is this enough time, or should we get there earlier? We'll probably take Greyhound or the Megabus, whichever is cheaper.

We need to be back in Philly in the morning, because I have class at 11 and he has class at (I think) 12. Ideally, we'd take the bus back right after the show. It is much cheaper to get bus tickets in advance. I would also like to hang around for a bit after the show and try to talk to Neon Trees. They are my favorite band and I met them last time they played Philly, so it would mean a lot for me to get to talk to them. How common is it for bands to hang around to see fans in NYC? The show in Philly was a small venue -- is it going to be too crazy to try to see them in NYC? Since Neon Trees is "just" the opener, does that increase or decrease my chances of seeing them?

So, planning possible time to see them after the show, and considering I don't know how long shows generally go, what would be a good time to plan our bus back to Philly? The last Grayhound bus leaves at 11 PM, which seems to early. Megabus has one at 1 or 1:30 AM -- is that a better idea?

Any other general advice?
posted by DoubleLune to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (14 answers total)
re: seats - msg seating chart.

No idea about the buses, sorry.
posted by elizardbits at 2:26 PM on October 14, 2011

The bus from Philly to NYC usually takes two and a half hours but it may take slightly longer during that time since you're bound to hit traffic.

Definitely take the Megabus back. You may have some time to kill after the show but 11pm is cutting it close.
posted by Diskeater at 2:35 PM on October 14, 2011

Bus? You do know that Madison Sq. Garden is right over Pennsylvania Station? Take the train from 30th street station in Philly. It's the easiest and fastest - and ahem most environmentally friendly - way to get to NYC from Philadelphia.
posted by three blind mice at 2:55 PM on October 14, 2011

Take the train from 30th street station in Philly. It's the easiest and fastest

It also costs a minimum of $70 more, which is out of the question for me.
posted by DoubleLune at 3:04 PM on October 14, 2011

You can take Septa to NJ transit for much cheaper than Amtrak if you want an alternative to the bus - it takes longer, but at least you avoid the risk of getting stuck in traffic (and I am writing this on a bus that has been at a standstill in horrible traffic for over two hours - traffic to NYC can be just dreadful).
posted by Neely O'Hara at 3:11 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Megabus will almost certainly be cheaper, but more importantly it drops you off and picks you up a quick walk from MSG, whereas Greyhound stops at Port Authority half a mile north.

You might as well book one of the later buses back; you can always find somewhere to stall for time in Midtown. There's bound to be a 24-hour diner a few blocks away (Tick Tock?).
posted by enlarged to show texture at 3:12 PM on October 14, 2011

As a person who commutes between Philly and NYC often, I think I can answer this question.

Don't take Megabus. Megabus can be very late or not show up at all. Take Boltbus from 30th Street Station. Traffic around rush-hour is CRAZY so leaving at 3 might push it. It once took me 4.5 hours to get from Philly to NYC but that was abnormal. The Boltbus will drop you off at 34th St and 8th Avenue which is right next to Madison Square Garden. Easy, peasy. Just don't go to TGIF before the show. That's just not right.

I can't answer how it is to meet the band. MSG is big I've never seen a show there so I don't know how access to bands work in that venue. You might get to meet them or you might not.
posted by Stynxno at 3:30 PM on October 14, 2011

MSG is an enormous sports arena with no obvious "stage door" to wait for the band at. If you want to try and meet the Neon Trees, I'd keep an eye out for hardcore Neon Trees fans (you know the ones I mean, the group that's obviously been following the tour) and ask them.

I've had excellent luck with Megabus and prefer it to both Greyhound and Bolt Bus, but that's just my experience.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:38 PM on October 14, 2011

They are my favorite band and I met them last time they played Philly, so it would mean a lot for me to get to talk to them.

Well, aside from the "Hi I'm a stalker groupie" aspect (which is tolerable since after all it's only rock 'n' roll and you like it), I'd just tweet the band.
posted by Mike Mongo at 3:53 PM on October 14, 2011

I would suggest you take the train from 30th St. Station to NY Penn Station. Make sure your ticket is NY PENN STATION. As three blind mice mentioned, it is right under MSG. You never have to go outside. Buy a round trip ticket, it is cheaper. It will also make sure you will get on the train you need to get home in time for your class(es.)

As for hanging out and meeting your favorite band, MSG is tremendous. I work in the entertainment business and have worked at MSG often. There is no specific exit the talent uses to enter and leave. They may or may not leave right after the show. It is better not to try and roam around to "bump into" them unless you can make an arrangement before at a specific place.

Have fun.
posted by Yellow at 4:18 PM on October 14, 2011

I saw this show in Dallas last week. Neon Trees opened bang on at 8 (we missed part of the first song because of traffic delays) and I think we were done before 11:30 for timing purposes even with the DD encore. At the Dallas show, I'm not sure I would have had a chance to meet Neon Trees if I'd tried to meet them, but I'm not a "hang around by the stage door" kind of fan.

Also, as a former NJ person (Princeton), I suggest you check the schedules if you're thinking about a late night NJ Transit return. NJ Transit doesn't run overnight, and in some cases for NYC shows we found it easier to drive to Newark and take the PATH (operates 24 hours) into NYC because we were worried we'd miss the last return train on our line.

Enjoy the show! Duran Duran was great, and I'd never even heard Neon Trees before but they really won me over.
posted by immlass at 6:13 PM on October 14, 2011

Please take Boltbus not Mega. Bolt comes in right by MSG and is generally on time; my boyfriend's taken Mega and they leave from much farther away, are routinely late, and one time stopped in Camden for a while. If Bolt doesn't have a late enough bus then I recommend Amtrak if you really need to make it back to Philly. I don't think SEPTA will have a late enough connecting train from NJT, though you could check it out; also, it will take at least 3 hours if you do it that way. My boyfriend and I are Philly/NY-based, respectively, so I know whereof I speak.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:10 PM on October 14, 2011

(And I am certain Greyhound will cost more than Bolt/Mega.)
posted by mlle valentine at 9:11 PM on October 14, 2011

Thanks all for the advice. I decided to go with Megabus (mainly because of the timing) but we are also going to leave a bit earlier to leave room for error. And a bit of time to enjoy being in NYC :)
posted by DoubleLune at 10:47 PM on October 16, 2011

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