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How Far Can You Get From New York In One Day’s Travel?

New York Travel

At The Atlantic Cities, Daniel Yanofsky takes a look at one measure of how transportation has progressed in the past 214 years:

Before directions provided by Google Maps, the interstate highway system, cars, the transcontinental railroad, and the Erie Canal, a traveler in New York City could expect to spend a whole day and night traveling over what a suburban commuter now does in an hour.

Philadelphia became a one-day trip for New Yorkers by 1830, but Washington was still more than 24 hours away. In 1930 St. Louis was just barely reachable by train in a day, but Denverwas in reach that same year by plane. In 1934 TWA was able to fly three-stop service from New York to Los Angeles in 18 hours.

(…)

Today’s speed is a testament to infrastructure investment and technological improvements. Thegolden spike was driven into the transcontinental railroad in 1869. The first Model T hit the road in 1908. The US interstate highway system was funded in 1956. In 1957, before he was an astronaut or US senator, John Glenn flew his fighter jet from coast to coast in three hours and 23 minutes—at times traveling faster than the speed of sound. This year, Elon Musk announced his plans to build a tube-enclosed supersonic train—known as a hyperloop—that would make the trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles in 30 minutes—faster than Glenn’s plane.

Of course, today, air travel can get you pretty far in one day, assuming the flying conditions are right. Twenty-four hours is more than enough time to reach virtually any destination in Europe, South America, or Africa, for example assuming that you’re flying non-stop. Going west, a quick Google search reveals non-stop flying times within 24 hours for Honolulu, Tokyo,  Beijing. and Mumbai. Indeed, it seems as though there isn’t a single place major city on the globe you can’t reach in 24 hours from New York under the right circumstances, and provided that you’re willing to pay the price. That’s quite a change from the day when 24 hours travel would barely get you out of what we now consider the New York Tri-State Area.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    My wife is currently sitting at the airport in Richmond, Virginia waiting for her delayed puddle-jumper to IAD from whence she was to fly home. Now she’ll miss her connection and stay overnight in a hotel. So apparently the travel time from Richmond, VA to San Francisco is now two days.

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  2. Ugh. My sympathies. Having to fly through Richmond is never a good experience. I’ve always tried to avoid it.

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  3. And, yes, they’ve talked about upgrading Richmond for years now but it’s become a major pissing match between the city/county and the state that seems to transcend political party

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  4. CSK says:

    I started laughing when I read this, because it takes me the exact same amount of time to get to work by bus ( a distance of 8 miles) as it does for me to fly from Bradley in Connecticut to BWI ( a distance of about 375 miles).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Of course, today, air travel can get you pretty far in one day, assuming the flying conditions are right. Twenty-four hours is more than enough time to reach virtually any destination in Europe, South America, or Africa, for example assuming that you’re flying non-stop.

    So reads the beginning of many a post-apocalyptic story.

    For those who binge watch, the 1968 British Series “Survivors” is a good example of this.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I was going to say, “Not far enough.” and apparently that is true.

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  7. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    One of several reasons I seldom go to see my in-laws.

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  8. Why do we need to measure the time to travel from New York. The most important is we have traveled because traveling is really self satisfying.

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  9. JohnMcC says:

    You can get on the Appalachian Trail and either go south through New Jersey (the state that has the highest number on black bear sightings by AT hikers) or north through New York State (a short leg of the AT and end up in Connecticut or Vermont — some AT hikers, the young and fit, do that in 72hrs). They are crazy and I plan to take probably a week from NJ to VT.

    Or did you mean the useless dimension of “miles”?

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  10. gVOR08 says:

    This notes that in 1830 it was still more than a day’s travel from NY to DC. Apparently that changed quickly. In IIRC Goodwin’s Team of Rivals I was surprised at Mary Todd Lincoln rather casually “taking the cars” to New York from DC for a day of shopping.

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  11. al-Ameda says:

    What the heck. It took me an hour to get out of San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon (5 miles to the Golden Gate Bridge) then, 25 minutes later, it took me 40 minutes to travel the 10 miles from Novato to Petaluma. All in all, 2hours & 25 minutes for the 60 mile drive home. Now, assuming that I could have reached SFO (15 miles) in about an hour and connected a flight in 30 minutes, I could have gone to LA in the same amount of time, and to my delight, experienced crippling traffic there too!

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  12. Pinky says:

    Four hours from downtown New York to JFK, an hour through airport security, a half hour boarding, a half hour on the tarmac, five hour layover in Atlanta or Detroit…that’s about half the day right there.

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  13. rudderpedals says:

    @Pinky: If it took 4 hours to get from downtown Manhattan to JFK on an unexceptional day and you were in a medallion cab and paid the fare then you got ripped off.

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  14. wr says:

    @al-Ameda: “Now, assuming that I could have reached SFO (15 miles) in about an hour and connected a flight in 30 minutes, I could have gone to LA in the same amount of time, and to my delight, experienced crippling traffic there too!”

    In San Franciso you could have taken BART to either SFO or OAK in less than half an hour. But of course, in our tea-ified culture, public transit is nothing but a terrible waste of money that could be spent on lowering taxes for billionaires.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  15. wr says:

    @wr: Oh, and on landing in LA, you could have taken a shuttle to the Green Line train, transfered to the Gold Line at Union Station and been in Pasadena in time to grab sidewalk space to wait for the Rose Parade…

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  16. J-Dub says:

    @CSK: Made the trip from Bradley to BWI this morning. Left home at 4:30am, sitting at my desk by 8:30am. Snuck out as the snow started piling up. That’s a very popular route for some reason. There’s probably 8 Southwest flights a day in each direction, all packed.

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  17. al-Ameda says:

    @wr:

    In San Franciso you could have taken BART to either SFO or OAK in less than half an hour. But of course, in our tea-ified culture, public transit is nothing but a terrible waste of money that could be spent on lowering taxes for billionaires.

    BART to SFO from down here in the financial district would be about 30 minutes, and you’re right, LAX to Union Station then to Pasadena, would DEFINITELY be the way to do it. But of course, only losers take public transportation – however, we both know that if we cut the marginal tax rate on billionaires to zero we could have the best transportation system in the world!

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  18. CSK says:

    @J-Dub:

    I’ve made that run a number of times, and I’ve never had a problem with it. Just FYI, Bradley is still open today, despite the storm.

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  19. wr says:

    @al-Ameda: We DO have the best transportation system in the world, just like we have the best health care in the world. Because we’re America, and we’re the best country in the world, so by definition everything we have is the best.

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  20. al-Ameda says:

    @wr:

    Because we’re America, and we’re the best country in the world, so by definition everything we have is the best.

    Thanks. What was I thinking?

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  21. CB says:

    How Far Can You Get From New York In One Day’s Travel?

    Not far enough.

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