Just don't use the bathrooms
October 12, 2012 9:32 PM   Subscribe

Woman, alone, traveling through upstate NY via Greyhound. 5 hour "layover," between 1am and 6am, at the Syracuse bus station. Is this safe? If not, where's a safe place to kill time at this hour in Syracuse?

Ideally somewhere that's easily accessible by short cab ride and not an expensive hotel. Any all night diners? Cheap, bedbug-free motels nearby? Also, if, on a scale of safety from 1-10 where 1 is "oh no girl do NOT stay in that bus station" and 10 is "this station's incredible and this will be the time of your life," where would spending the night at the Syracuse bus station fall, with laptop and cell phone in tow?
posted by Miss T.Horn to Travel & Transportation around Syracuse, NY (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've only passed through Syracuse on the red eye Greyhound, but if the station is open and there are staff there, it should be safe. As far as I recall (I've gotten off the bus to buy snacks there), it's a very small station and you can pretty well see the whole of the waiting area from anywhere in the station. On safety (provided that there are staff around), I'd rate it a 7.

That said, it will probably be very unpleasant - cold and dreary. Bus stations are rarely kept up to full temperature at night in the winter and the seats are terrible. As an overall experience, it's probably more like a 3 - you could do it, but if there is somewhere else to go where there would be nice seats and maybe a hot drink, I would.
posted by jb at 10:01 PM on October 12, 2012

Best answer: Syracuse resident and longtime greyhound traveler here -

The bus station is decently safe, though most of the surrounding neighborhood is awful - very downtrodden and crime-ridden. If you just stay within the bus station, you'll be fine.

If you're willing to foot the cab there and back, the Egg Plant is a cool place, and open all night - it attracts an eclectic crowd, and the food is basic diner food.

Other than that, you may be SOL - basically everything closes at an early hour in Syracuse (unless you wanted to get drinks), and I don't know that I could recommend any motels within a reasonable distance.
posted by sidi hamet at 10:02 PM on October 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

I stayed at the Econolodge a few blocks to the north-west on a business trip once, a few years ago. I actually kinda liked the room, as far as cheap motels go, but to illustrate the sort of neighborhood that is - when one of the guys I was working with found out where I was staying he said "Oh, great, could you pick me up some crack on the way back tonight?"

I had trouble finding anything to do in that area during the day, much less in the middle of the night. That Egg Plant place looks good from the reviews, wish I'd known about it.
posted by XMLicious at 10:22 PM on October 12, 2012

There's a level of unpredictability here. I spent three years riding back and forth Albany to Rochester in college (senior year I mostly took the train). The best bus ride I ever had was the day we pulled over and picked up 20 guys who'd gotten out of the penitentiary and were headed home to Albany just in time for the holidays. They were, for obvious reasons, largely on their best behavior and were talkative and full of stories. But not everyone might've been as comfortable as I felt.
posted by Jahaza at 10:36 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The area is economically depressed and highly unpredictable. I'm a male who travels alone through this corridor somewhat regularly, and I know I'd go into the situation with sidi's Egg Plant suggestion at the ready, then balk once I was actually there in the reality of pitch-black 1am Syracuse and just stay in the station reading books.

I'd look into how staffed the station is throughout the night before you get there. The Syracuse and Rochester stops are hardly bustling terminals, and might feel little safer than a street-side bus shelter.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 11:09 PM on October 12, 2012

Definitely stay in the bus station. Source: I live near Syracuse and have spent plenty of time in that bus station.
posted by xyzzy at 11:49 PM on October 12, 2012

Best answer: Caution about the Egg Plant-- according to their website, they'll already be closed when you arrive:

Hours of Business:
7am-10pm Monday-Thursday
7am-1am Friday-Saturday
7am-4pm Sunday
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 9:43 AM on October 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I can second Dixon that the all night eggplant is no longer all night. The only place I can think of that's open all night in Syracuse or even after 1 or 2 am on a weeknight are the grocery stores.

wegmans can be pretty fun, although the whole store may not be open at that time of night (i.e. you can't get a gyro). but it will be safe and they often have a cafe type area where you could read and enjoy a snack. the closest one to the bus station seems to be http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StoreDetailView?langId=-1&storeId=10052&catalogId=1&productId=347899


I'm more familiar with the ones in Liverpool and Dewitt (you can check their website to get the exact location -- there are several in liverpool and they are all fine and have cafe areas) so I can't speak too much about that particular wegmans.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 12:46 PM on October 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you need to grab some sleep, you could try to find a room on Airbnb. Here are a few that are a short cab ride from the Greyhound station:
1 / 2 / 3
For sure, you'd have to call the hosts before you book and see about arranging for your late arrival. But could be a nice alternative to a bench or a motel.
posted by D.Billy at 6:37 PM on October 14, 2012

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