Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hot Wheels

In New York City, a car is not a necessity and more often than not, it’s more of a hassle and expense than it’s worth. I sold my car, a VW Passat, when I moved to the city and haven’t had a car since.  I’m proud that I do not own a car and I’m an advocate of public transportation. We’ve been traveling back and forth between NY and CT for over seven years using public transportation and for the most part, it’s been great.

We go to CT at least once a month to see family and friends usually for a party, since aomeone is always having a party. For example, in the past year we’ve attended a road-race party, a jewelry party, a house-warming party, snow-storm party, and a wine-tasting party. And that’s in addition to all the holidays we celebrate in CT, too.

For the first three years in the city we took Metro North from Grand Central to New Haven, CT.  From there, one of our parents picked us up and then drove us the 45 minutes to West Hartford. The cost, $15.00 for a one-way ticket, is a bargain.  However, it’s annoying for all in involved, especially our parents. Once we had a little bit more expendable cash, we upgraded to Amtrak, and never looked back.

We want this car!

Now, as we have for the past four years, we take Amtrak from Penn Station to directly to Hartford.  Our parents (god help them) still pick us up in Hartford, but it’s only about 10 minutes drive home.  If we buy the tickets in advance and use our AAA discount we can usually get one-way tickets for under $30.00.

Amtrak, is efficient (except, when it’s running late), comfortable and clean.  Let’s not forget, that they make one great microwavable burger (don’t knock it, until you try it) and have a nice wine selection (half-bottles, for one, woo woo!).  Jeff and I would have Friday night “date-nights” on the train over a glass of wine and just talk, play scrabble or read side by side.  Colette had her first train ride at a month old and has been a great passenger ever since. I recommend it as a way for any new parent, or anyone for that matter, to travel.

Unfortunately, as Colette gets bigger and more mobile, it’s getting less great.  She will soon outgrow an infant car seat and need a toddler-sized, non-portable one which is difficult, if not impossible, to take on Amtrak and the subway.  We often want to bring with us more than we can carry, and have to either ship stuff home or wait until a family member from CT can visit and bring us whatever we left behind.  Also, I’m almost 30 and even though she never complains, I’m tired of asking my Mom for rides. 

Colette wants this car!

Going home less often is not an option, buying a car is. We’ve compared the costs of owning a car versus leasing, renting, sharing (Zipcar) and puplic transportation and it’s certainly not going to save us money, but I think it will save us some time and sanity, both things we also value.

We are on the hunt for a 2007-2009 Honda CR-V, and its incredibly hard to find a car to buy when you don’t have a car to begin with.  Until then, we'll be playing scrabble and eating microwaved burgers on Amtrak.

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