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Republican National Convention Travel Advisory

Courtesy of MTA and NJ TRANSIT
July 27, 2004

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The MTA Long Island Rail Road is anticipating operating regular service to Penn Station while the Republican National Convention is held at Madison Square Garden from Monday, August 30, through Thursday, September 2. The security and safety considerations related to this event will have some impact on LIRR Penn Station customers. The LIRR will take measures to minimize the impact of the convention on rail travel and is offering travel tips -- including alternate routes -- to assist customers in their trip planning.

At Penn Station itself, two of the six entrances and exits will be available for customers of the MTA Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT. The entrances that will remain open are the Amtrak entrance at 32nd Street and Seventh Avenue (under the Madison Square Garden marquee), and the MTA Long Island Rail Road 34th Street entrance, located on 34th Street just west of Seventh Avenue. Customers can expect heavier than normal volume at these locations, including Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT customers who normally use other entrances. Within Penn Station, normal subway access will be available and unrestricted. The LIRR will be doing everything possible to continue normal operations and minimize inconvenience.

MTA Police and additional LIRR staff will be available in Penn Station to assist customers and answer questions. The LIRR is planning an extensive customer information campaign consisting of a special brochure, maps, signage, station announcements and website posting that will be available starting the last week of July. The information campaign will also contain information on alternate routes for customers who normally use Penn Station.

A number of streets surrounding the station will be closed to vehicle and/or pedestrian traffic during the convention, in some cases throughout the four-day period, in other cases only during those times when the convention is actually in session. West 32nd Street between Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue will be closed to vehicles, becoming a pedestrian mall allowing access to and from the Seventh Avenue entrance to Penn Station.

As a result of the street closings, the main taxi stand, normally located on Seventh Avenue in front of Penn Station, will be moved to 32nd Street, between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas. In addition, regular MTA New York City Transit bus routes will be altered.

As an alternative to Penn Station, customers may wish to transfer to the subway at other LIRR locations, including Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, Hunterspoint Avenue, Long Island City or Jamaica.

The LIRR’s Flatbush Avenue Terminal offers easy access to lower Manhattan with convenient connections to a number of subway lines serving both lower and midtown Manhattan . Subway transfers available at the Flatbush Avenue Terminal include the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, M, N, Q or R trains.

The LIRR’s Hunterspoint Avenue and Long Island City Stations offer easy access to the East Side of Manhattan. The Number 7 train to and from Times Square can be accessed from either the LIRR’s Hunterspoint Avenue or Long Island City stations. The LIRR Hunterspoint Avenue Station is located adjacent to NYC Transit’s Hunterspoint Avenue Station on the 7 line, and the LIRR Long Island City Station is located near the Vernon/Jackson subway station on the 7 line. The 7 train provides easy access to Grand Central Terminal and Manhattan’s East Side.

The LIRR’s Jamaica hub offers connections to the E train serving midtown and downtown Manhattan, and the J and Z trains serving Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. The F train is located on Sutphin Boulevard and Hillside Avenue, about a five-block walk north of the LIRR Jamaica Station.

In addition to the travel alternatives, the LIRR advises customers to consider the following travel tips during the convention:

  • Please consider leaving any unnecessary bags, backpacks and other items at home during the convention.
  • Remember to take all belongings with you when you leave the train to avoid delays due to unattended packages.
  • Buy your LIRR train tickets and MetroCards in advance at outlying stations.
  • Listen for announcements regarding potential service changes.
  • Monitor radio and television traffic reports for service updates.
  • Additional LIRR personnel will be assigned at key locations to assist customers.

Customers may consult LIRR’s website or call the LIRR’s 24-hour Travel Information Center for assistance. The number in New York City is 718-217-LIRR; in Suffolk County, 631-231-LIRR; or in Nassau County, 516-822-LIRR. The Travel Information Center’s TDD number for the hearing impaired is 516-558-3022.

Other useful numbers include MTA New York City Transit at 718-330-1234 and the MTA Police’s toll-free number – 1-888-MTA-911PD (1-888-682-9117).


Rail Service:

All Midtown Direct trains on the Montclair-Boonton and Morris & Essex lines will operate to and from Hoboken rather than New York . Customers can make New York connections via:

  • PATH service to/from 33rd Street in midtown or the temporary station at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.
  • NY Waterway Ferry service to Pier 11 and the World Financial Center.

Valid NJ TRANSIT tickets to New York will be honored by PATH (to 33rd Street and the temporary station at the World Trade Center only) and NY Waterway Ferry (to Pier 11 and the World Financial Center only) at no additional charge.

All other New York trains on the Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line will operate according to normal schedules. Please be aware that you may experience delays as a result of enhanced security measures and other circumstances.

Bus and Light Rail Service:

Bus and Light Rail Service will operate on a normal schedule.

All valid NJ TRANSIT tickets to New York will be honored by PATH for travel to and from 33rd Street and the temporary station at the World Trade Center only at no additional charge.

  • All valid NJ TRANSIT tickets to New York will be honored by NY Waterway Ferry for travel to and from Pier 11 and the World Financial Center only at no additional charge.
  • All valid NJ TRANSIT tickets to New York will be honored by Lakeland and DeCamp bus lines for travel to and from New York at no additional charge.
  • All valid NJ TRANSIT tickets to New York will be honored systemwide onboard NJ TRANSIT services for travel to and from New York.
  • All August monthly passes will be valid through Tuesday, September 7, so that monthly commuters and customers traveling during the convention can avoid engaging in transactions in Penn Station.


NJ TRANSIT has already taken a number of precautions to ensure customer safety. Many security activities are carried out behind the scenes. However, some may be more visible, such as the use of K-9 units to patrol trains and the uniformed police inspection of every New York-bound train. To facilitate onboard security:

The use of overhead luggage racks will be prohibited during the week. Customers will be asked to travel lightly and to keep their personal belongings with them at all times. A limited number of restrooms will be available on New York-bound trains. Many restrooms will be locked, and onboard trash receptacles will be sealed. Customers are asked to be vigilant in looking for unattended baggage, packages or suspicious activity and immediately report this information to the train crew or station employees and call our Security Hotline at 1-888-TIPS-NJT.

NJ TRANSIT Police, together with the NJ State Police, Secret Service, NYPD and Amtrak Police are working to keep Penn Station open and trains running on schedule. However, there may be delays as a result of enhanced security measures and other circumstances.

Please visit the following websites for more information:



Report suspicious activity to: 1-888-NYC-SAFE 

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Published: Aug 04, 2004
Last modified: Apr 27, 2005

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