for the next 3 weekends, the long island railroad (lirr) is running a free train from penn station in manhattan to flushing's, queens c-town, due to track work on the 7 subway. flushing's c-town has more of a taiwanese and korean influence compared to manhattan's c-town. the train, like the 7 subway, stops in the heart of flushing's c-town, for all intents and purposes, equidistant to everything.
a trip last sunday took 20 minutes, approximately half the 7 subway time. no metro card is necessary. just go to the lower level of penn station, look for the lirr tv with the track postings (track 20 on sunday afternoon), and hop on. trains are supposed to be running every 15 minutes. going out to flushing around 4:30p, the train was empty. comming back around 6:30, the train was probably 1/3 full. as an added bonus, the only stop between manhattan and flushing is woodside/61st, not far from sripraphai thai restaurant.