For New York’s commuters, and the thousands of visitors enjoying a few days break in The Big Apple, the day starts, and often finishes, at the city’s Penn Station. Whether you want to visit New York’s traditional attractions such as the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, or the Empire State Building, or more modern attractions such as the One World Observatory or the High Line, they can all be reached from New York’s Penn Station.
This is the busiest station in North America, so getting to where you want to go can be tricky. The good news is that you can plan ahead before starting your trip using Virail. All you have to do is enter your destination and preferred traveling dates, and our platform will offer a choice of travel options and routes available.
New York Penn (or Pennsylvania) Station was opened in 1910. Almost from day one, Penn Station had to cope with more travelers than it was designed to do, and various upgrades and expansion projects were carried out through the years. Eventually, in the 1960s, it was decided, amid much controversy, to demolish the famous above-ground Penn Head House and undertake a major refurbishment of the station.
Waiting and shopping areas were updated in the early 1990s, and improved passenger flow and security measures were introduced in 2002. The station was refurbished again in 2017, at a cost of $1.6 billion. Today, hidden underground beneath Madison Square Garden, Penn Station serves over half a million commuters and tourists every day of the working week. Operated by the Amtrak rail company, the station has 11 island platforms, serving 21 tracks fed from seven tunnels.
Today, Penn Station caters for 1,300 rail arrivals and departures every day from the following operators.
Amtrak operates 16 cross country/intercity routes from Penn Station across the U.S. and into Canada. Destinations include Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, Pittsburg, Miami, and Washington DC. On the other side of the border, train services from Penn Station will take you to Niagara Falls, Toronto, and Montreal. However, these are just a few of the hundreds of destinations that you can reach from Penn Station, which has become New York’s major railroad hub.
As well as long-distance journeys, Penn Station offers the chance to explore areas closer to New York City. The Long Island Rail Road, founded in 1834, operates 12 commuter routes, while the New Jersey Transit Corporation has five routes through New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Penn Station also connects to the famous New York City Subway, which most visitors to the city will find to be the cheapest and quickest way to get from point A to point B. Penn Station is on lines 1, 2, and 3, and provides a convenient central point to navigate the Five Boroughs of New York.
If you prefer to travel above ground, national and local buses are close to the station to get you to the airport, your hotel, or places of interest. And New York’s famous yellow cabs are readily available around the station.
The iconic city of New York is the destination of travelers from around the world, and Virail is here to help you get the most from your stay. We can help you choose the fastest or most economical train routes to your end destination from Penn Station. We can help you get to New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, or Newark International Airport, and help you pick your onward flight.
We can also help you with other aspects of your trip to the Big Apple. Our trusted partner, booking.com, can help choose your perfect NY accommodation. Thinking of hiring a car to enjoy the sights and sounds of New York? Let another of our partners, carrentals.com, find you the best deals on your hire car. Whatever your transportation or accommodation needs, they’re available through Virail.
The main entrance to Penn Station is between 31st and 33rd streets, on 7th Avenue. Other entrances can be found at the subway stations on 34th Street and 7th Avenue, and 34th Street and 8th Avenue. The station is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Wherever you are in New York, getting to Penn Station is a relatively simple job. You can hail a yellow cab from anywhere. New York’s international airports have bus services and shuttles that terminate at Penn Station. Many of New York’s subway routes will get you to Penn, although you may have to change on some journeys. Public buses are plentiful and include city buses, intercity buses, and tripper buses, all operated by a number of different bus companies.
For travelers waiting on the Amtrak level, there is a 24hr waiting room for those with an Amtrak ticket. No food or drink, but Wi-Fi is available.
However, you can enjoy all the facilities in the ClubAcela lounge, including complimentary soft drinks, daily newspaper, TV, and a conference room, if you hold one of the following:
Traveler facilities are somewhat limited for such a massive station, but the basics are in place. Mobility impaired travelers should access Penn Station from the 31st Street and 7th Avenue, and 32nd Street and 7th Avenue entrances. Travelers using LIRR should enter through the 34th Street entrance, and a Red Cap mobility service is available at the 8th Ave entrance.
For the foodies, on the top level of the station is The Penny NYC food hall, offering tacos, pizzas, salads, and sushi, as well as an attractive wine bar. On the lower concourse, you can grab a burger, milkshake, and fries at Shake Shack. While on the plaza concourse you can try sushi at the Wasabi Sushi & Bento food bar. If you want to grab a quick sandwich, Pret-A-Manger is located by the LIRR concourse.
There are ATMs from several major banks if you need cash. Penn Station’s restrooms once had a bad reputation, but were included in the recent refurbishments, and have been totally revamped.
With so many tourist sites like the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, Macy’s, and Times Square all within easy reach of Penn Station, it’s little wonder the station attracts thousands of foreign visitors every day. Add to that over 600,000 commuters traveling back and forth to work on a daily basis, and major improvement works due to start in Penn Station in 2020, and things can be tough for out-of-towners. With this in mind, pre-booking your tickets with Virail and our partners is to be highly recommended. With tickets safely stowed in a bag or wallet, all you have to do is follow the signs from one platform or concourse to another. Minimum stress, minimum worry, maximum pleasure.