In my over a decade stay in the USA, I have not visited the Cold Spring Harbour Laboratories. Although there were a lot of very interesting meetings took place there, the registration cost was a big deterrent. I decided to attend the fall Genome Informatics Symposium starting 30th October 2013 this year. Although the whole journey was rather unpleasant I will not discuss that here. I will talk about my experiences of staying in affordable places and travelling to long island from there and the science.
I booked a place in Bronx through the trusted AIRBNB web site. I have had pleasant experiences before using their services. I stayed very close to the Botanical Garden Bronx. Getting to the hosts place from JFK was not an issue, only taxi fare was a bit higher. So, try avoiding taxis and travel light is the first lesson. After I reached there first day I just slept, did not know when I was sleeping and when getting up. Then one of friends picked me up the next day to her house in Brooklyn. The best way to travel is take a metro card for a week (If you are travelling a short term) . This friend was staying in Avenue H and daily it was a train from Avenue H to 34th Herald Square before taking another transit to Long Island Rail Roads.
How to go to Cold Spring Harbor:
From anywhere in the city; the best way to go to cold spring harbor is to take the Long Island Rail Road (LRR) to Syosset (Not cold spring harbor). The final destination for this train is Huntington. This train starts from Penn station, and goes via Jamaica. So whichever place is close to you just take. Suppose I am coming from Brooklyn, then I will either get down at Atlantic or 34th Herald Square. From Herald square I have to walk one block towards 33rd street and 7th avenue (Herald square is at34th and 6th avenue). There is Penn station. Upon exit from Herald square you will find several boards telling which way is the penn station exit. Upon coming out also there will be boards and direction to Penn station (This is opposite to Hotel Pennsylvania). Then for going to cold spring harbor you have to take Long Island Railway services. Your Metro card will not work.
Word of caution for buying weekly LRR weekly pass:
Here one thing to take care is if you are starting on Saturday then take a pass, otherwise travel as a daily passenger. For instance I took a weekly pass that is around 88 USD on Tuesday, but its validity was between saturday through Friday. So, in other words, I paid for the travel I have not made. This is something you have to be careful about since it is not written anywhere. If you take a train from Penn station, it takes easily one hour to reach Syosset (Remember you are suppose to go to Syosset – don’t go to the cold spring harbor station). Just get down the stairs on the opposite end. This is where the cold spring harbor shuttle stops and ferries people through the station and institute. It stops right at the Grace auditorium where most of the meetings take place. I was attending the EBI workshop that preceded the genome informatics meeting. It was taking place at Blackford hall which is at the right hand side of the grace auditorium and easy to find.
Going for EBI workshop what to expect?
If you are going to attend the EBI/Ensembl workshop, they will ask you to install the virtual machine which is a typical linux box created on any operating system. A word of caution is to bring in an OK sort of laptop. With my small laptop, I had terrible time doing anything. I am going to write on how to create a virtual machine shortly (watch out my blog site).
The meeting is itself very tiring. It starts at 9 AM and ends at 9.30 PM. And they have these poster sessions in between. So, it may be better to stay very close by. Even I was told that all other meetings are also arranged that way.
This meeting is all about algorithms and software for genomics, so it is very appropriate for people who are in this field. Lots of tools and algorithms are discussed here before they get into publication, so students watch out for this. Met Allpaths assembler creators, ENCODE people and many other familiar faces. Overall pretty good!
By the way I am live tweeting talks #genomeInformatics