By Judy Garrison

Many of us who live in Andes and savor its rural, slow pace also value the knowledge that we can get ourselves easily to “the city”. Some have a regular routine, born of necessity or choice, of three to five days of working for a living in Manhattan or one of the other boroughs or counties in the Greater Metropolitan Area. Their work done for the week, they return to their country home, regain their equilibrium, and replenish their spirits.

Others of us are rooted primarily here, but need to dip into the city for work—a meeting or buying trip, for instance—or to enjoy a visit with family and friends, or simply because the contrasting life and energy of the city are what we occasionally crave:  an antidote to the wonderful and rich, but rather insular small town life we lead here.

I know a full-time Andes resident, a former New Yorker, who still acquires and values her season tickets to the ballet; others keep a pied-à-terre for their regular visits. I went down recently because an old friend was in from L.A. and wanted to meet me and my daughter for dinner and the theater. Although John and I had spent two days in the city just the previous week, buying for the store and socializing with family, her surprise phone call motivated me to make another trip to the city. Once having committed to going down, I arranged to take my cousin out for a birthday lunch near her office in Midtown and then view the Robert Moses exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York on 103rd Street & 5th Avenue. While there I took in all the exhibits at the museum, including a re-viewing of that wonderful 23-minute film on the history of Manhattan. After dinner and a show in the theater district, I spent the night with my daughter in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, and headed for home late the next morning, feeling invigorated by my stay.  Before boarding the bus I treated myself to one of the breakfast specials at Metro Marché, the stylish new French bistro at the Port Authority. My special, served by attentive and friendly wait-staff included fresh orange juice, a bottomless cup of very good coffee, and a marvelous frittata garnished with watercress and roasted tomatoes, for $7.99. This new restaurant also offers a raw bar, a cocktail lounge sporting a zinc bar imported from Paris, and a winning lunch and dinner menu.  Port Authority has been dramatically cleaned up and generally improved in the last decade or so, with lots of shops and eateries, but I have to say this café exists in a category that is an order of magnitude higher than the others.  What a calming and charming place to wile away an hour if you arrive early for your bus.

Which brings me to the topic of the bus, my original reason for writing this little piece! Does driving to the city make you tired or tense?  Are you fed up with dreary and expensive parking garages?  Many folks have their favorite variant which obviates the need to drive through a tunnel or over a bridge, some involving trains.  The most obvious, of course, is to hop on an Adirondack/Pine Hill/New York Trailways (for our purposes these are interchangeable and all pass through Kingston) bus smack in the middle of Andes village.  If you catch one at 6:40 a.m. and arrive at Port Authority at 10:38 a.m. you can spend virtually the whole day in the city and return late afternoon.  There is no problem with boarding without a ticket (there is no longer a ticket agent in Andes anyway).  The driver will instruct you how to purchase one in Phoenicia or Kingston.

However, my latest favorite routine is to drive to the bus terminal in Kingston (a nice straight run without all those serpentine, woozy-making turns that the bus makes as it wends its way to Woodstock), and then take the 2-hour, straight south trip to NYC by bus.  Budgetary considerations enter in here, too.  If you take advantage of the Tuesday through Thursday “same-day return special”, you pay only $30.10 for a two-way ride.  The normal one-way rate is $21.50, with a Round Trip for $43, if you are not returning the same day or not riding mid-week. Either way, this is a considerable savings over the Andes round-trip rate. There is also a senior citizen discount, and there are many multi-ride options available for frequent travelers, such as a 15% discount for 10 rides to New York City used within 180 days. To speak with an agent regarding further details, call: 800-858-8555. A bus ride allows you to work, chat, read, or nap.  Consider doing as I do, and leave (a lot of) the driving to Trailways!~