My wife and I travel from Phila to Boston 3-4 times a year. We go by NEC. Why pay 2-3 times more to save 50 minutes? Both trains look very similar, and both have wi-fi and a snack car. I'd bet most of the Acela passengers are traveling on their company's dime. Yes, we tried the Acela a few times. It was harder to read my book due to rocking of the cars.
The scenery is great...NYC skyline, HellGate Bridge (which you can see long before you cross it), and boats and water through CT. On the other side of the NYC East River you pass the old PRR Sunny Side Yards...once the largest RR servicing yard in the world. Trains like the Broadway Limited would be cleaned and re-stocked there. A huge loop around the yard would turn the entire train for the return trip to Chicago. Now it is full of Amtrak and commuter passenger cars and engines.