Thursday, September 15, 2016

Amtrak and Food in New York

Last Wednesday I had a meeting in New York, so I took the train there and back.  Going out, because of schedule needs and wanting to get a little more sleep, I opted for the Acela Express, Amtrak's version of high speed rail.  It was - well mediocre.  The train has two classes of seating, first and business.  Business was the same 2 and 2 seating configuration as coach on standard trains, first class was 2 and 1 seating.  The seats in business class were leather, had tilt down footrests and a nice recline.  That was the extent of the amenities.  The overhead luggage racks were enclosed, meaning my fellow passengers with larger bags, couldn't get the bags in the bins.  It was slightly faster than the standard trains, but we lost all of that time and more, being delayed going into Manhattan.  In the end I was a few minutes late.  

The return trip was on a standard Amtrak train, affectionately known as an Am-Can.  Other than it being 45 minutes behind schedule, it was a pleasant trip, for less than half the cost of the Acela going up.  Bottom line, don't bother with the Acela unless it is the only train for a tight schedule.  

New York was wonderful.  I kind of knew my way around.  The taxi driver from Penn Station to the meeting site spoke English and was pleasant (I think NY has nicer taxi drivers than DC.)  I walked 30 blocks from the meeting site back to Penn Station for my return train.  I had been sitting all day and it gave me a chance to see a little of the City.  

I grabbed dinner at a place called Schnippers across from the Port Authority terminal on 8th Ave.  The concept is upscale fast food, fancy burgers and such.  You order and pay at the counter and they give you a restaurant pager and bring the order to you.  Except the pager does not tell them where you are, so the runners end up running around the dining room shouting numbers for the order.  The food was dismal.  I ordered "sloppy Joe's" and what was billed as "Baked Macaroni and Cheese."  The "sloppy Joe's" were dominated by too much sweet pepper.  The bun was too small for the amount of meat, very plain, and kind of dry.  That was the good part of the meal.  The macaroni and cheese was not baked, it was creamy, way to mild, not far from the garbage that comes out of a box. Good baked macaroni and cheese has a variety of stronger cheese and baking it results in a firmer texture.  Cheese changes in texture and taste when it is baked, this might have been heated though in an oven, but it was not baked.  My recommendation, pass this place by, there is better to be had. Such a shame, it is bright modern space in an incredible location.  


  1. yep, the extra money for the acela is not worth it. have you ever been to the tick tock diner across from penn station?

    1. Yes, I should have gone back or found another one like it.

  2. David,
    Haven't been to New York in years but would like to go back for a day visit. I like this kind of post about where you have been and your experience. This, in my opinion, is what makes for good blogging. Thanks for sharing.