by Anura Guruge
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Temporarily storing some of your luggage while you sightsee in New York City can be a bigger problem than you would typically expect. It all has to do with heightened security. Luggage lockers in New York City are basically a thing of the past.
Yes, of course, if you have a hotel reservation it is not a problem. You can check in the luggage at the hotel — even if it means going out of the way to first get to the hotel.
Well we had a different problem when we went to NYC, on our way to Philadelphia in May, to pick up the Jaguar XJ8 from “Car Cheer“. Thanks to the antics of Brandon ‘bloody’ Bostian we could go all the way to Philly by Amtrak. We could only get as far as NYC — and then take a Greyhound. Well the kids wanted to do a bit of exploring in NYC, since it was 4 years since we were last there, so I got the Greyhound tickets to give us 6 hours in NYC. We didn’t have much luggage BUT we did have one big bag for the three of us. I did not fancy lugging that around New York, in the hot humidity of a May day. Deanna was sure that there were lockers. I knew better.
Trying to get or find a definite answer as to whether Amtrak provided a baggage check at Penn Station was HARD. It appears that it is security again. People just don’t want to talk about it. YES, I found one commercial service, outside of Penn and not that far from the Port Authority (from which Greyhound departs) which did what I wanted for $10+ an item. Bit its biggest drawback was that it really was neither HERE-or-THERE; i.e., it wasn’t at Penn or at the Port Authority. I persevered. I was sure that Amtrak MUST offer some kind of baggage check. Then I was told that it was ONLY for outbound passengers — and I did NOT have a outbound ticket. I was coming as far as Penn with Amtrak and then doing the rest by road.
Well here is the good news. Amtrak has a very competent, affordable (I think $6.25 a piece) baggage check on the ‘Main Floor’ of Penn Station. You can use it both INBOUND and outbound. All you need is a valid Amtrak ticket for THAT day. They staple your baggage tickets to THAT ticket. That is there security measure. Worked great. I gather that it can get busy and they suggest you get there with 30 minutes to spare. On the Saturday afternoon we were there it was ’empty’. When we came to pick up our bags there was no line.
It really worked well. We had to ask a few people BEFORE we found it. But it is well SIGNED if you look for the signs.
The folks that worked there agreed that it was NYC best kept secret. That is why I am sharing it with YOU.
So if you are going to New York City by Amtrak do remember that they do have a GOOD baggage check facility.