Manhattan to Long Island in 90 minutes
May 2, 2019 6:43 PM   Subscribe

Mrs. Fish and I are going to NYC for a theater-focused vacation in a few weeks, and may have snafu'd the booking. Is it plausible to get from Broadway to Long Island in an hour and a half, or should we just bail and resell our evening tickets?

We have tickets to a Broadway show at 3PM on a Sunday (runtime 2:30) and then for another show at 7PM. A show that, we realized only after jumping at the chance for seats in Section 101, is in northern Long Island. Not exactly next door to anywhere on Manhattan. Neither of us has ever lived in NYC, so we have no experience with mad inter-borough dashes. Is there a route that gets us from Point A to Point B without absurd traffic luck (and a big taxi bill)?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (18 answers total)
It really depends on where the theatre on Long Island is (it is, in fact, a longgggggg island) but in either case I would say you're looking at a hefty Lyft/Uber fee. There are trains to much of Long Island but not with that tight a timing (would require getting to Penn Station, say, and then finding a train at the appropriate time). There may be a way to do it but honestly, you're on vacation, there's tons of theatre to see in Manhattan; I'd chalk this one up to a snafu and resell the evening tickets if you can.
posted by Zephyrial at 6:46 PM on May 2, 2019

Response by poster: Oh yeah, the island is in fact long. It's at the Paramount, in Huntington.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:48 PM on May 2, 2019

Huntington has a LIRR stop, which means this could work, though Sunday service isn't stellar and you would need to walk or cab from the station. There are always cabbies waiting at that station. LIRR Scheduler available here.

I would absolutely not suggest driving the whole way there. Cabs on LI are heinously expensive, and getting someone to take you from Manhattan would be a difficult proposition.
posted by halation at 6:51 PM on May 2, 2019

It's definitely doable in 90 minutes, especially on a Sunday afternoon, but it's going to cost a fortune. I'd expect the UberX to take about an hour, and cost at least $120 on your way out. (A yellow cab won't take you to Huntington and a local cab won't take you back to Manhattan.)

Taking the LIRR isn't an option, at least not for a 90 minute trip. You'd need to walk or take a subway to Penn Station, catch the LIRR, and then take a cab from the Huntington Station, since it's too far to walk.

You could probably catch the LIRR back from Huntington afterward, or take an Uber back to Manhattan, which will probably cost slightly less than taking it from Manhattan.
posted by Black Cordelia at 6:57 PM on May 2, 2019

90 minutes to Huntington from midtown West is very doable. I'd do LIRR or ZipCar.
posted by JPD at 7:01 PM on May 2, 2019

Just FYI, Huntington is not another borough of NYC, it's literally not next door, it's in the county next to the county next to NYC. It's a long way to go and you could get stuck in surprise traffic. If I had the choice I'd much prefer slightly worse seats in Manhattan than having immediately to dash out to Huntington and not have time to get a snack on the way.
posted by bleep at 7:03 PM on May 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'd say if you rented a ZipCar on Sunday afternoon, park it in the nearest Spothero garage to your Broadway theater (taking care to choose a westbound street for your exit), hop in and drive directly to the Paramount, you'd get there on time. (Using a traffic-aware GPS so it can choose alternate routes for you.) I would also try to call the Paramount and ask them if shows typically start right on time or not. Without traffic, it's a 1 hour drive from midtown, so 30 minutes extra for traffic is a squeaker but your chance is decent.
posted by xo at 7:08 PM on May 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I just looked at the train schedule and it won't work for you. The train to need leaves Penn at 534 to get to Huntington at 642. The next train arrives at 7:13.

Still think you could do it in a car but you'd need to have pretty good traffic ( which outbound on a Sunday that late the odds are ok). Parking at the theater is a non issue.
posted by JPD at 7:08 PM on May 2, 2019

Best answer: I definitely wouldn't do this - you'd be rushing the whole way, and even worse, will be in Long Island on Sunday evening.

Resell the tickets, enjoy a 3pm show, and get out at 5:30pm and take a leisurely walk down stroll south on Broadway. Weekend summer evenings in NYC are the best.
posted by suedehead at 7:57 PM on May 2, 2019 [10 favorites]

Best answer: I'm seconding Suedehead here, this is a Fool's Commute. Especially if, after the show, you're trying to take the LIRR back into the city on a Sunday night, it will be packed with drunk bros returning from the country clubs and it's very unpleasant.
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:46 PM on May 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Note that if "in a few weeks" is Memorial Day Weekend, this plan becomes 100% impossible unless your idea of theater is interpretive gridlock.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:40 PM on May 2, 2019 [9 favorites]

Best answer: No way. The first show ends at 5:30? Just getting out of a Broadway theater takes 20 minutes, with people slowly getting out of their seats and shuffling in the aisles. That's the first traffic. Then by the time you walk to Penn Station and find your train, it's 6:15. God forbid one of you has to use the rest room.
Unless you don't mind missing a portion of the second play, don't do this. You don't really have 90 minutes, because NYC requires a lot of extra para-travel time between any two locations.
(When I moved from NYC to my new city, I always arrived an hour early everywhere I went, shocked how easy it was to simply drive and part wherever I was going. Nothing in NYC takes under 45 minutes to get to. And as has been noted above, you're talking about leaving the city entirely.)
posted by nantucket at 10:16 PM on May 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I live on Long Island. It may be technically possible, but I would not attempt this.

To put the distance in terms of what seems to be your local area: this is like someone visiting DC accidentally making plans in Baltimore.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:48 PM on May 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

Google maps says it'll take you between 1:05 and 1:50 to arrive at 7pm on a Fri or Sat night, and Lyft will cost $62 to $74. So, depending on how epic the headliner is, and how damaging a $75 Lyft tab is, maybe go for it?

The Paramount Theater looks like it books mostly rock and comedy acts, so being 10 or 20 minutes late to a show isn't nearly as bad as being late to a play, and those things never start on time anyway, and there's a warm-up act, right?

Google Maps says it'll cost $62-74 on Lyft, and it'll take 1:05 to 1:50 minutes, if I want to arrive at 7pm tonight (Fri.) or tomorrow (Sat.). If I left now, it says 1:30. Also says there're tolls, don't know the $$ there. (I had to use the mobile & the desktop versions of google maps - the Lyft estimate from the mobile, and the targeted arrival time on the desktop).
posted by at at 5:46 AM on May 3, 2019

Other things to consider: What if the first show starts a little late. You are giving 90 minutes, but it can take 20 just to get out of a crowded theater depending on where your seats are and if you stay until curtain call. Plus imagine how many other people are going to be looking for an Uber. You might have to walk a few blocks to a less crowded area for an Uber.
posted by archimago at 6:04 AM on May 3, 2019

Best answer: Agree that it would be difficult and maybe unsuccessful but definitely futile for the entire time of the first show plus the attempted commute/arriving at the second show.

However, you might be able to exchange the Broadway tickets for another day, if you have the time to do so while you're in town. In my (albeit limited) experience, the people at the ticket booth for Broadway shows can be helpful. It might be worth giving them a call and seeing if that's a possibility. Then you could leisurely make your way out to Huntington on the LIRR earlier in the afternoon. There are trains back from Huntington after the show, though you may spend a little time waiting.
posted by Caz721 at 7:25 AM on May 3, 2019

Best answer: I'd keep it in your plans if the Paramount tickets are non-refundable, because with decent traffic you will make it with a few minutes to spare. I'd check Wayz with 10 minutes or so left in the (Broadway show) and if traffic is reasonable order an Uber. I'd expect it to cost ~$100. Do a local Uber and LIRR back into the city after the show. Have fallback plans if the traffic is terrible or Uber/Lyft are surging pricing closer to $200 as they might do.
posted by MattD at 2:45 PM on May 3, 2019

Response by poster: Okay, funny story: I hadn't even considered that the tickets might be refundable, because every concert/play/show ticket I've bought in years has had the "no exchanges/no refunds" disclaimer on it somewhere.

That language was not, in fact, on these tickets. Problem solved. Thanks to everyone for talking me out of voluntarily ruining my evening, and to MattD in particular for jarring loose that stuck gear in my brain.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:17 AM on May 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

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