Fran Zeoli of Huntington Station as she leaves for on...

Fran Zeoli of Huntington Station as she leaves for on the first day of full Grand Central Madison on Monday. Credit: Newsday/Deborah Morris

On the first day of full service to Grand Central Madison, commuters had mixed reactions to the major changes in schedules.


Greg Monfiletto, 45, who was at the Ronkonkoma station Monday morning, said the new train schedule has set back his commute. 

The Stony Brook native, who works at St. Francis College in downtown Brooklyn, boarded the 7:10 a.m. train to Grand Central instead of his usual 7:40 a.m. train direct to Atlantic Terminal.

He now has to change at Jamaica, with other Brooklyn passengers relying on the shuttle train service on the south side of the station. 

Asked if the $11.1 billion project was worth it, he said: "Not at all."

He later emailed that his transfer at Jamaica was delayed 14 minutes. "Well it's Day 1, I hope it can only get better," he wrote.

The impact on Brooklyn commuters is "probably not the fairest thing," he said, though he acknowledged that LIRR officials have asked commuters to be patient during the transition period.

— Brianne Ledda

Fran Zeoli of Huntington Station said the trains don't just benefit commuters traveling to the East Side of Manhattan. She no longer has to change trains at Jamaica to get to and from the Woodside Station, which is a five-minute walk from her job.

"Now I actually get to board the train and go directly to Woodside. I don't have to deal with a transfer. If something is delayed I don't have to worry about switching trains," she said as she waited for the 7:40 a.m. train in Huntington. "It's great."

— Deborah S. Morris

MFA student Allison Plourde, 23, of Manhattan's Upper West Side, can leave later for Long Island than before the change to head out to Stony Brook University, where she teaches creative writing — but she'll get home later than before because the LIRR train she used to take is no longer on the schedule.

"I used to only transfer once, now I transfer twice," she said. Still, she said: "I can leave a little bit later, so that's a little bit nice. But it's like 20 minutes."

Her class ends at 2:20 p.m., and while she used to be able to get a 2:43 p.m. train, now there's no train until 3:36 p.m., she said.

Which means an evening class commitment will be disrupted.

"I'm taking it on Zoom, so I'll be on the subway trying to take it on my phone with bad service. So, it's kind of screwed me up a little bit," she said.

— Matthew Chayes

Mike O’Dell, 36, of Oceanside said he had an easy arrival Monday morning working at Grand Central in transportation, but he said he had to wait for a train Monday afternoon to go home.

“I work right here and not having to deal with the subway is great, but the reverse commute is going to be tough,” O’Dell said. “The times don’t line up and now I get home later. I get to work earlier but I have to leave work almost an hour later.”

— John Asbury


Juan Quiroz, 43, a live-in building superintendent in Freeport, got to Penn Station on Monday morning to find that the train he typically takes back to Long Island isn't running anymore, at least as he's always known the schedule.

He had visited his girlfriend in the Bronx and was headed home after first taking the 4 train and transferring to the 2 to Penn.

"Usually, when I get off the 2 train, if I speed up quick, the train's already waiting here. Today I had to wait 40 minutes," he said, standing near the escalator for Track 19 and waiting for the 7:32.

"So now, I'm gonna have to kind of change my schedule on what time I leave her house so I'm not standing around here so long," he said.

"It's only really affecting me today because, you know, it's the first time. Now I know: Alright next time I either have to leave a little bit earlier or leave a little later just so I'm not standing here for 40 minutes," he said.

But why not just take the 4 train directly to Grand Central and take the Babylon branch from there, instead of taking the 4 to the 2?

"I mean, to me, I've always just taken this way," he laughed. "It's just a thing."

— Matthew Chayes

Melissa Koenig, 28, a reporter for the Daily Mail newspaper who lives in Nesconset, was at the Ronkonkoma train station Monday morning for an early train to the city. She was pleased, since she can now leave a half-hour later and still get to work in time for her 8 a.m. start. Instead of waking up at 5:15 a.m., she can now snooze until 5:45 a.m., she said.

“It gives me an extra half-hour, which is great,” she said.

— Brianne Ledda

The switch is OK for Gabrielle Fox, 35, of Merrick, an employee benefits lawyer who works in Midtown Manhattan. She said the new timetable happened to resuscitate a scheduled train removed due to the pandemic.

"I would either have to take the 4:37 home or the 5:40, but now I can get the 5:19, so it's actually better for me," she said, as she waited at the A/C/E subway station to head one stop uptown to her office, on 41st Street and 8th Avenue.

She said her LIRR train, the 7:44 to Penn, had been a bit delayed — by 5 or 10 minutes — and so it was more crowded than usual.

What did she think when she first checked the new schedule? 

"Once I saw that my trains weren't impacted, I was fine with it," she said, adding with a word of caution: "We'll see how it plays out." 

— Matthew Chayes

Derek Caracciola of Elwood said the new trains will shave off subway time and reduce some walking to get to his job on the East Side.

"I'm very happy about this," he said. "For anyone who is in a situation like I am who works close to Grand Central this is going to make a huge difference. It saves time and I won't have to get on the subway which I love."

He said not dealing with the subway both ways and the delays and missed trains that can come with it will be a relief.

"Now I will be able to get off the train and I can just walk back and forth," he said. "Penn Station has been under construction for as long as I can remember so Grand Central is a nice place to go in and out of so I'm looking forward to that as well.

-Deborah Morris


Woodside-bound commuter Valerie Winberry, 34, of Bay Shore, said she had to get up earlier for her train, “which, before 6 a.m., is a little bit difficult.” When she arrived at Jamaica, she said she received conflicting information on where to find her connection.

“I’ve been riding the train for eight years now, and it’s been the same schedule for me. So now, it’s like a different adjustment getting into the city and trying to figure out where I’m going,” Winberry, an assistant principal, said. “Usually, it goes like clockwork. You go, and it’s like second nature. Now it’s like learning a whole new system.”

— Alfonso A. Castillo 



On the first day of full service to Grand Central Madison, commuters had mixed reactions to the major changes in schedules.


Greg Monfiletto, 45, who was at the Ronkonkoma station Monday morning, said the new train schedule has set back his commute. 

The Stony Brook native, who works at St. Francis College in downtown Brooklyn, boarded the 7:10 a.m. train to Grand Central instead of his usual 7:40 a.m. train direct to Atlantic Terminal.

He now has to change at Jamaica, with other Brooklyn passengers relying on the shuttle train service on the south side of the station. 

Asked if the $11.1 billion project was worth it, he said: "Not at all."

He later emailed that his transfer at Jamaica was delayed 14 minutes. "Well it's Day 1, I hope it can only get better," he wrote.

The impact on Brooklyn commuters is "probably not the fairest thing," he said, though he acknowledged that LIRR officials have asked commuters to be patient during the transition period.

— Brianne Ledda

Fran Zeoli of Huntington Station said the trains don't just benefit commuters traveling to the East Side of Manhattan. She no longer has to change trains at Jamaica to get to and from the Woodside Station, which is a five-minute walk from her job.

"Now I actually get to board the train and go directly to Woodside. I don't have to deal with a transfer. If something is delayed I don't have to worry about switching trains," she said as she waited for the 7:40 a.m. train in Huntington. "It's great."

— Deborah S. Morris

MFA student Allison Plourde, age 23, of Manhattan's Upper West...

MFA student Allison Plourde, age 23, of Manhattan's Upper West Side, can leave later for Stony Brook University, where she teaches creative writing — but she'll get home later. Credit: Newsday/Matthew Chayes

MFA student Allison Plourde, 23, of Manhattan's Upper West Side, can leave later for Long Island than before the change to head out to Stony Brook University, where she teaches creative writing — but she'll get home later than before because the LIRR train she used to take is no longer on the schedule.

"I used to only transfer once, now I transfer twice," she said. Still, she said: "I can leave a little bit later, so that's a little bit nice. But it's like 20 minutes."

Her class ends at 2:20 p.m., and while she used to be able to get a 2:43 p.m. train, now there's no train until 3:36 p.m., she said.

Which means an evening class commitment will be disrupted.

"I'm taking it on Zoom, so I'll be on the subway trying to take it on my phone with bad service. So, it's kind of screwed me up a little bit," she said.

— Matthew Chayes

Mike O’Dell, 36, of Oceanside said he had an easy arrival Monday morning working at Grand Central in transportation, but he said he had to wait for a train Monday afternoon to go home.

“I work right here and not having to deal with the subway is great, but the reverse commute is going to be tough,” O’Dell said. “The times don’t line up and now I get home later. I get to work earlier but I have to leave work almost an hour later.”

— John Asbury

Juan Quiroz, 43, a live-in building superintendent in Freeport, got...

Juan Quiroz, 43, a live-in building superintendent in Freeport, got to Penn Station on Monday morning to find that the train he typically takes back to Long Island isn't running. Credit: Newsday/Matthew Chayes


Juan Quiroz, 43, a live-in building superintendent in Freeport, got to Penn Station on Monday morning to find that the train he typically takes back to Long Island isn't running anymore, at least as he's always known the schedule.

He had visited his girlfriend in the Bronx and was headed home after first taking the 4 train and transferring to the 2 to Penn.

"Usually, when I get off the 2 train, if I speed up quick, the train's already waiting here. Today I had to wait 40 minutes," he said, standing near the escalator for Track 19 and waiting for the 7:32.

"So now, I'm gonna have to kind of change my schedule on what time I leave her house so I'm not standing around here so long," he said.

"It's only really affecting me today because, you know, it's the first time. Now I know: Alright next time I either have to leave a little bit earlier or leave a little later just so I'm not standing here for 40 minutes," he said.

But why not just take the 4 train directly to Grand Central and take the Babylon branch from there, instead of taking the 4 to the 2?

"I mean, to me, I've always just taken this way," he laughed. "It's just a thing."

— Matthew Chayes

Melissa Koenig, 28, a reporter for the Daily Mail newspaper who lives in Nesconset, was at the Ronkonkoma train station Monday morning for an early train to the city. She was pleased, since she can now leave a half-hour later and still get to work in time for her 8 a.m. start. Instead of waking up at 5:15 a.m., she can now snooze until 5:45 a.m., she said.

“It gives me an extra half-hour, which is great,” she said.

— Brianne Ledda

Gabrielle Fox, 35 of Merrick, at Penn Station on Monday.

Gabrielle Fox, 35 of Merrick, at Penn Station on Monday. Credit: Newsday/Matthew Chayes

The switch is OK for Gabrielle Fox, 35, of Merrick, an employee benefits lawyer who works in Midtown Manhattan. She said the new timetable happened to resuscitate a scheduled train removed due to the pandemic.

"I would either have to take the 4:37 home or the 5:40, but now I can get the 5:19, so it's actually better for me," she said, as she waited at the A/C/E subway station to head one stop uptown to her office, on 41st Street and 8th Avenue.

She said her LIRR train, the 7:44 to Penn, had been a bit delayed — by 5 or 10 minutes — and so it was more crowded than usual.

What did she think when she first checked the new schedule? 

"Once I saw that my trains weren't impacted, I was fine with it," she said, adding with a word of caution: "We'll see how it plays out." 

— Matthew Chayes

Derek Caracciola of Elwood said the new trains will shave off subway time and reduce some walking to get to his job on the East Side.

"I'm very happy about this," he said. "For anyone who is in a situation like I am who works close to Grand Central this is going to make a huge difference. It saves time and I won't have to get on the subway which I love."

He said not dealing with the subway both ways and the delays and missed trains that can come with it will be a relief.

"Now I will be able to get off the train and I can just walk back and forth," he said. "Penn Station has been under construction for as long as I can remember so Grand Central is a nice place to go in and out of so I'm looking forward to that as well.

-Deborah Morris


Woodside-bound commuter Valerie Winberry, 34, of Bay Shore, said she had to get up earlier for her train, “which, before 6 a.m., is a little bit difficult.” When she arrived at Jamaica, she said she received conflicting information on where to find her connection.

“I’ve been riding the train for eight years now, and it’s been the same schedule for me. So now, it’s like a different adjustment getting into the city and trying to figure out where I’m going,” Winberry, an assistant principal, said. “Usually, it goes like clockwork. You go, and it’s like second nature. Now it’s like learning a whole new system.”

— Alfonso A. Castillo 



Biden to address nation . . . LI unemployment rate rises . . . Sands Point mansion Credit: Newsday

Plane crash latest . . . Biden to address nation . . . Netanyahu speaks to Congress . . . Ocean Beach escape

Biden to address nation . . . LI unemployment rate rises . . . Sands Point mansion Credit: Newsday

Plane crash latest . . . Biden to address nation . . . Netanyahu speaks to Congress . . . Ocean Beach escape

Latest videos

YOU'VE BEEN SELECTED

FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.