After my parents' four-day visit last week, I can now say I've met friends and family in New York through all means of travel: plane, train and automobile.
This year, my parents decided to forgo the annual car trip and travel by Amtrak instead. The train leaves just 15 minutes or so from their home, but it's still a 17-hour trip once you're on the tracks. Sure, they were tired when they arrived, although you'd think it was me who made the trip instead. Maybe that's why I took a nap when they left Sunday afternoon instead of writing a blog post for Monday.
(Speaking of which, expect periodic blog post delays in the near future as I catch up from the illness that threw me under a bus a few weeks ago. I generally have posts written in reserve, but I'm pretty much day-to-day right now.)
Paul and I have picked up and/or dropped off friends and relatives at all three of the metropolitan area's major airports -- LaGuardia, JFK and Newark -- and met several by car. I've even been to the PATH station both to catch my own Greyhound to Ohio and meet friends on their own buses. But this was my first time at Penn Station.
I was a little disappointed. I was hoping to at least see the tracks, scanning the train windows until I saw a face I recognized. Or have a train-side goodbye, with final hugs as the whistle blows in the background, like in old World War II flicks. Instead, I met my parents in the middle of a huge waiting room crowded with strangers, and their departure was even more of a let-down. Their ticket was taken at a door leading immediately to an escalator, so my last glimpse was of their heads, going down.
Still, it was an interesting experience. And still, I'm glad I was on the receiving end instead of being the one on the train for nearly a full day.