NYC Gives Away July 4 Show to Jersey

Per the New York Times today, New York City is snubbing its residents by moving the July 4 fireworks from the East River (amidst population-heavy areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens) to the Hudson River. The move gives New Jersey residents — who don’t pay for the fireworks — a better front-yard look than anyone in New York City (except Nicole Kidman*).

That ain’t right.

I want to like Jersey. I really do. It’s the most slighted state in the country — and one of the most tolled (Pennsylvania and Oklahoma are also in the running) — and I like an underdog. Just not one who bites.

To quote Michael Stipe, consider this:

Newark charges New Yorkers more for public transit rides to its airport than at any major city on earth. And until they change that I want my fireworks show back.

For the 12-mile ride to Newark Airport from Midtown’s Penn Station, the NJ Transit’s AirTrain link charges $15 per person for the 24-minute trip. It’s a commuter train, with little room for your bags. And it’s priced to punish New Yorker airport-goers. If you get off at the station before the airport (Newark’s Penn Station), it’s only $4 one way; if you exit one station after the airport (North Elizabeth) it’s $5.50.

NJ-NJ fares to the airport are far far cheaper. The 60-minute ride from Trenton (at the end of the line, on the Pennsylvania border) to Newark’s Airport is only $9.25, a 38% savings for 150% jump in travel time.

Compare this with other world airports:

  • In Tokyo, passengers can make the 40-mile trip to Narita on a Keikyu train for $4.
  • In London, just how on the tube for the 15-mile trip to Heathrow ($8 one way).
  • Paris‘ commuter train — the RER (my initials) — charges $11.50 for the trip.
  • San Francisco‘s airport is reached directly by its BART commuter train — about $5.
Jersey’s looking for payback after New York stole Liberty Island, home to the Statue of Liberty. I GET IT. But if the inflow of tax money New Yorkers give by flying out of Newark doesn’t allow for more rational, let-love-rule pricing, then I hope the fireworks will bring NJ Transit to their senses.

Brothers! Sisters! Stop the madness!

* With the exception, I hear, of Nicole Kidman (and a few other richies) who has a flashy pad on West Side Highway downtown.

About Robert Reid

Robert Reid is a travel writer (Lonely Planet, New York Times, ESPN), travel expert (Today Show, CNN's Headline News), travel videographer (76-Second Travel Show) and travel artist (don't ask).
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