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LIRR bests cars, ferries in commuter race to Manhattan

Newsday and News 12 Long Island sent three

Newsday and News 12 Long Island sent three teams to Manhattan Monday morning to see which travel option to Penn Station was the fastest. News 12 reporter Shari Einhorn boarded an LIRR train from the Hicksville. The train won. Credit: News12

Despite a summerlong construction project happening at Penn Station, taking the Long Island Rail Road appears to be the quickest way into Manhattan.

Newsday and News 12 Long Island sent three teams to Manhattan on Monday morning to determine which travel option would get commuters to Penn Station fastest. One team hopped on a ferry from Glen Cove, while another boarded the Long Island Rail Road. A third team drove the Long Island Expressway from Woodbury.

The teams headed to the Empire State Building. Ultimately, taking the LIRR was 40 minutes faster than driving and about an hour faster than taking the ferry.

News 12 Long Island reporters boarded an LIRR train from the Hicksville station at 6:33 a.m. There were very few passengers waiting at the station, News 12 reporter Shari Einhorn said.

“One woman said it was actually kind of creepy that many people weren’t there waiting,” Einhorn said.

The driving option began in Woodbury at 6:30 a.m. and took an hour and 40 minutes. The westbound route to the Queens Midtown tunnel was smooth going through Nassau County. However, upon entering Queens, there was congestion. One of the biggest bottlenecks was just before the Clearview Expressway exit.

The ferry team took about two hours to get to the Empire State Building. The team left Glen Cove at 6:40 a.m. and arrived at the dock at 34th Street in Manhattan 70 minutes later. After 20 minutes trying to determine which bus to take to Empire State Building, the team decided to walk. That took another 20 minutes.

“It was an absolutely gorgeous trip,” News 12 reporter Andrew Ehinger said. “It just took a little bit longer.”

Ehinger said there were no hiccups until passengers docked in Manhattan. Commuters boarded a red bus marked East River Ferry thinking it would take them to Penn Station, Ehinger said. But the bus driver informed commuters that they needed to leave his bus and pay to take a different bus — the M34 SBS.

“Everybody got [upset] about it,” Ehinger said. “People were telling me that I need to put that in my article.”

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said that beginning Tuesday, the agency will cross-honor M34 SBS bus fares for Glen Cove ferry riders heading to midtown.

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