Joe, I lived in NJ and boarded. Early on Monday morning, Mom would drive me to the bus stop on the NJ side of the GW. I bus across, grab the SB A train (they were new then, with fluorescent lights) to 145th St, switch to the NB D to 205th ST, and then the 16 Webster Ave bus to the Mount. Friday afternoon I had a choice: D to 59th and A to PA Bus terminal, or walk to 241st, and take the IRT down a few stations to catch the 3rd Ave El to 42nd St or go straight down to 42nd (don't remember if there was a transfer involved.)
In 1952 I switched to St. Peters Prep in JC, day-hopping. The 44 bus crossed the Erie Station 4-track lead, and steam still hauled some commuter trains. Down by the Prep, PRR still ran Exchange Place Station, with MU trains and one daily Jersey Coast train hauled by Baldwin Sharks.
I suspect the MSM area has changed drastically.
Speaking of that area, during WWII, Mom & I would take subway to visit Grandma who lived a few blocks from the Dyer Ave shuttle station. 2-car trains, open platform.