CT to NYC on Metro-North: Where to park?
December 16, 2012 8:51 PM   Subscribe

I'll soon have to travel semi-frequently from Hartford to NYC for work stuff, at both peak and off-peak times. I'm guessing the best option is to park-and-ride at some station along the Metro North line, but where should I park? This AskMe said Bridgeport Station is the best option, but that was almost six years ago - has anything changed? Would a station in New York state proper be better - Port Chester, etc? I'll also have to travel pretty late some nights in case that makes a difference.
posted by UncleBoomee to Travel & Transportation around Connecticut (15 answers total)
Most towns on the metro north line require that people who park and ride have permits and those permits are generally available only for residents.

So I'd make sure you can park at whichever station you want to take the train from.
posted by dfriedman at 9:16 PM on December 16, 2012

If you're traveling late at night, then I would not imagine that Metro North would be your best option, at least if by 'best' you mean most convenient. Certainly public transit is better environmentally, but if you're looking for convenience, speed, or cost savings and you're traveling off peak, I would probably drive (the cost is probably not greatly different between the two options, and for convenience and speed the car will win).

If you're traveling at peak times I can't imagine going all the way to NYS would be a good idea - the traffic trouble starts way before that, usually around Bridgeport area or a little before that based on my experience, depending on the time.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:22 PM on December 16, 2012

I think I disagree with treehorn+bunny, depending on your actual schedule.

First of all, with gas prices, the Metro North is WAY cheaper. It must be.

I often traveled off-peak late hours when living in Connecticut and working in NYC.

My worst problem was falling asleep and missing my stop. Isn't Hartford the end of the line? So you might be OK there.

I grew up on LI, commuted quite a bit by train (LIRR) into Penn, and I LOVED the Metro-North by comparison.

My one "hack" was to transfer from the Metro-North to the Subway at 125th station if I was going anywhere uptown in Manhattan.

95 and the other highway (silly winding road, name slips my mind just now) have traffic and I can NOT understand how a combo of driving plus riding the train closer in to the city will be preferable for you. At all. No bueno.

Plus, all that said, if it is still there... The Dunkin Donuts at Stamford Station has (had?) the best coffee EVER. For over ten years, it was uniquely delicious among ALL Dunkin Donuts on the eastern coast. I never figured out why! But there ya go. So, that is a perk:)


Were I you, I would commit to the Metro-North all the way to Hartford and avoid driving my car late at night with drunks, tired late night truck drivers, or a tired me. Ditto bucking peak hour highway traffic, when instead, I could ride in relative comfort (by Stamford the train cars empty out) and get work or reading accomplished.

Use the commute to do productive stuff! I kinda miss that time in my life, FWIW.


At peak time, is there still a Bar Car? I loved the shit out of that in my early 20's.


I have GREAT memories of the Metro-North, overall, which I rode regularly for two years, and semi-regularly for another eight. Via contrast, I rode the LIRR into manhattan for fifteen years, and it was never as enjoyable. Ever.


Enjoy your Metro-North train time. It is old-fashioned and civilised. Safer, and more convenient. And less expensive.

Grand Central is great, lots to do if you are waiting. Structure your time so you are not waiting too much.

In short, I envy you.

Ride the train all the way!

(I will say that my father commuted by car from New Canaan and Stamford occassionally, while I more often took the train. Sometimes he drove me in. My ex husband's family lived in Greenwhich, which we sometimes drove to from Manhattan. Going into the City by car was only OK if someone else was driving. Ditto, I sometimes had late night car service from Mahattan to Stamford via my job. It really did not save that much time, and unless you are being chauffered from door-to-door, not that much of a luxury. The only times my ex and I drove from Manhattan to Greenwhich were if we were continuing on to the Cape or Boston, and needed the car. Really, the Metro-North rocks. Better schedules than the LIRR, safer, cleaner, and Grand Central Station is rather grand. Hope I've convinced you. I live in LA now, and I long for some train commute time in my day that I can use productively. I really do!)
posted by jbenben at 10:08 PM on December 16, 2012


On peak hours, I meant that the cars from NYC to Stamford empty out. If you get on at Hartford during peak into the City, you can pick your seat and are good to go all the way in!

Off peak, seating is rarely a problem, either way.

For cost, consider a monthly pass. Will your employer pay for it? Even better!

I know things have changed, but if I was traveling late night hours, my employer would pay for a car service or cab to mitigate safety liability. If your employer has a policy about late night travel, check into optimizing this possibility.
posted by jbenben at 10:18 PM on December 16, 2012

MNRR end of the line is New Haven not Hartford.

There wouldn't really be any advantage to going west of Stamford because of how the expresses run and the availability of parking. Whether that means Stamford, Bridgeport, or New Haven is best for you would be a function of the traffic at the times you will be driving.
posted by JPD at 3:55 AM on December 17, 2012

Megabus and Amtrak goes from NYC to Hartford/Hartford to NYC
posted by basketballandinternet at 6:34 AM on December 17, 2012

Best answer: Yeah, Metro North goes to New Haven, not Hartford. You could take Amtrak to New Haven, MNRR to NYC (or Amtrak direct from Hartford to NYC), but I'm not sure of the schedules.

Peak, I'd drive to the most convenient station where you can park and then take Metro North in. Off-peak, I'd drive straight through NYC - if you don't want to pay for Manhattan parking, you could probably find street parking somewhere in Queens or The Bronx and take the subway in. Note that rush hour traffic here lasts from around 6am to 9am and 3pm to 7pm, so during those times you'll want to take Metro North.
posted by breakin' the law at 7:38 AM on December 17, 2012

If your schedule allows it, I'd go from Hartford Union Station, probably by bus. The alternative, driving to New Haven to catch the end of the Metro North line, is do-able but will add friction to your trip. I think you can also Amtrack it down to New Haven but I wouldn't.

The Peter Pan bus is fairly comfortable, usually has wi-fi, and isn't too terribly slow. I recommend it.
posted by gauche at 9:59 AM on December 17, 2012

I did the Hartford-NYC trip every few months for 4 years and I would avoid the Amtrak from Hartford to New Haven. It often arrives late (once by 3 hours) and the Hartford station is a complete dump.

I ended up driving to New Haven and grabbing the Amtrak to Penn Station. I always heard that Metro North is MUCH cheaper but Amtrak is more comfortable and you can actually do work on the train. Since my company was paying for the ticket & parking, I just always went with Amtrak.

I never felt unsafe in the parking garage at the New Haven Amtrak station...even when getting in VERY late. Sometimes the attached garage is full (especially if you're leaving at mid-day) but there is a public garage across the street. I was less comfortable walking by myself to that garage late at night but I'm female so YMMV.
posted by victoriab at 12:25 PM on December 17, 2012

I can tell you that Southport and Westport stations -- coincidentally, where traffic starts being evil on 95 on the morning rush in -- have some number of spots for daily parkers; they cost $5 or $6 a day. In my experience, a spot at one if not all of these stations can still be had pretty close to 8:00 a.m.; after that, it's risky.

Driving to Stamford would be no fun.
posted by troywestfield at 2:49 PM on December 17, 2012

Best answer: Bridgeport has ample parking. Just make sure you're in a 24-hour lot. I had my car locked in there and had to take a cab home!

There's a Holiday Inn with a 24-hour lot with discounted rates for MNRR customers.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 3:31 PM on December 17, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all the help, everyone!

Breakin' the Law and other NYC types - any suggestions on places in the Bronx/Queens where you could reliably find parking at off-peak times?
posted by UncleBoomee at 4:01 PM on December 17, 2012

at off peak times (meaning outside of 7-7) it probably doesn't make sense to do the "drive to the bronx" and park thing. Queens really doesn't make sense because you would have to pay to cross the bridges and then take the subway in.
posted by JPD at 4:53 AM on December 18, 2012

I used to live in the Bronx and there would always be people parking around Bainbridge and Jerome avenues between Woodlawn Cemetery and Van Courtland Park, then walking to the end of the 4 train. Off-hours you could probably find parking here EXCEPT when the Yankees have a home game.

I wouldn't to it though, way more hassle than the train in my opinion.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:42 AM on December 18, 2012

When I made that comment, I was thinking specifically of Long Island City in Queens, which is 1-3 stops from Midtown on the 7. Just be sure to read the signs, you don't want to get caught parking on the wrong day for alternate side. I'm not all that familiar with the Bronx, though.

You do have to pay to cross the bridge to Queens, however, as JPD says. I'd say it's mainly worth it if you are going to be getting in late morning/early afternoon and leaving after 9 or 10pm - the commuter rails don't run very frequently later at night. If there is any chance you will be traveling in or near rush hour, take the train.
posted by breakin' the law at 10:15 AM on December 19, 2012

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