The Nuts And Bolts

Manhattan Project

To New York And Back

April 17, 1999

Fares, times and other things you should know about our four ways to get to Manhattan:

PLANES ... What: One-hour Southwest Airlines "no-frills" shuttle from BWI to MacArthur Airport in Islip, Long Island, then a train into Manhattan. Cost: $102 round-trip if returning the same day. If you stay overnight, the fare is $88. Fares include taxes. (By comparison, TWA flies from BWI to LaGuardia for $188; Delta flies from Washington National to LaGuardia for $170.) Conditions: $102 fare requires 14-day advance purchase; $88 fare requires seven-day advance purchase. Nonrefundable. No meals. No seat assignments, so come early. No standby. When: Departs BWI at 7: 50 a.m., 8: 50 a.m., 11: 45 a.m. and 8: 05 p.m. Amenities: Coffee, orange juice served on flight. Choice of nuts or raisins. Choice of seat! Beware: Fares subject to change. If you take a train to Manhattan: A 10-minute cab ride from MacArthur Airport, Islip, to Long Island Rail Road station is roughly $8. Trains leave 10 minutes after each hour, arriving in Penn Station in one hour, 25 minutes. $9.50 one way. If you take a cab to Manhattan: It takes just an hour, but the listed fare from MacArthur Airport to Grand Central Terminal is $169. Total one-way time and round-trip cost: Three and a half hours from BWI to Penn Station; $203.

TRAINS ... What: Amtrak has frequent service from Baltimore to New York, but costs are all over the map. Many tickets require reservations, even though the trains are not always full. Some trains take 2 hours and 52 minutes; others, 2 hours and 37 minutes; the Metroliner does it in 2 hours and 26 minutes but costs considerably more. Cost: Basic adult fare is $120 round-trip on a non-reserved train. If you travel a reserved train, the fare is $130 -- however, it will jump to $69 one way if you travel on Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fares are also higher Friday afternoons. Metroliner is $108 one way on weekdays, $86 on weekends. When: Service to New York nearly every hour. Amenities: Food is available but buying meals ahead at stations is generally cheaper. Beware: Make sure your ticket is for the train you wish to travel on. Amtrak has a complicated set of rates and you could be denied access to a train without the proper ticket. Total one-way time and round-trip cost: Three hours from Baltimore's Penn Station to New York's Penn Station; $120.

AUTOMOBILES ... What: Driving to New York is inexpensive, but time varies wildly due to weather, road and traffic conditions. For traffic updates on the New Jersey Turnpike, call 1-800-33NJTPK; or tune to 1610-AM. Cost: It takes about a tank of gas; a paid-for 1990 Ford Taurus wagon took $24 round-trip. Tolls are $12.15 northbound, $8.15 southbound. Weekend parking is inexpensive and abundant -- $8 to $10 a day. Prices will always be higher in the theater district. Beware: Make sure you leave nothing in the car. Restaurants and hotels are happy to check your bags while you pursue your activities. Oh, and speeds are 65 mph in Maryland, 55 mph in Delaware, 65 on New Jersey Turnpike. Total one-way time and round-trip cost: Four hours (eliminate rest and gas stops and you may save 30 minutes); $44.

BUT DON'T FORGET THE BUS What: Round-trip Superior Bus to Manhattan. You may already know about the regular bus lines such as Peter Pan or Greyhound, but charter services are a low-cost alternative for those who want to go up and back in the same day. Superior's buses run Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Cost: $35 round-trip, includes a modest breakfast of bagel, orange juice and apple. If you want to come back on a different day, you buy two tickets ($70). Conditions: Superior takes reservations by phone; payment must be made before the trip. You can pay in cash at its offices or send a check. When: The bus leaves from Greenspring Shopping Center on Smith Avenue at 7 a.m. on Saturdays, then picks up passengers at the Royal Farm on Providence Road at 7: 15 a.m. It leaves New York at 6: 30 p.m. sharp. Call 410-602-1704 for a schedule. Amenities: There's a drawing for a free trip and Superior often has discount coupons for New York shows. Movies are played on the buses' mounted TVs. Beware: The movie may not be to your taste, and it probably won't be recent. Bring a Walkman to block out the sound. Total one-way time and round-trip cost: Three-and-a-half hours from Greenspring, slightly less for those who choose to depart from Providence Road; $35.

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