I ran New York last year, although only my second marathon so cannot compare really with other major events.
I went with one of the tour companies on a flight and entry only but then booked a room in the same hotel as one of their packages. I think I got the room for the cost of the tour companies “two sharing” price.
The tour company organised coaches to the start line. Was a little queue getting through the metal detectors and into the village but other than that seemed relatively painless.
Baggage reclaim was easy enough. Was a bit of a walk to the trucks but picked my bag up with no waiting. You can leave the park quicker with the no baggage option but this has to be specified in advance.
Then was a simple walk to the edge of the park and down to the hotel. Only real issue was I was frozen by then.
Tour company took us on a 5km jog on the Friday to see the finish line and show where the baggage trucks would be. Only down side to the flights and entry only was that you had to make your own way to and from the airport which is no real biggy.
Runspoonrun, why 3.15? to get a GFA for London or Boston or something, or you just being ambitious?
Brighton was 3h57.10 and New York was 4h02.38.
Funnily enough I am more than happy with New York as I hadn't realised my watch lost GPS a couple of times under the bridges and I thought I was in for around 4h20 so was just taking it easy with a view to enjoying the experience. So coming in that "fast" was more than a nice surprise.