My blog about knitting, teaching, and being a mother to two energetic young boys.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bitten By The Big Apple

After our forays in Washington D.C., the family loaded up the van and headed north to New Jersey. As I've mentioned before, my aunt lives there at "The Shore" which is a beautiful place. No one should judge jersey by the Newark area. My aunt has a swimming pool which was a big hit with the boys. We ended up spending three nights there - 1 day spent visiting the Liberty Science Center (of course - my third time visiting...) and another in New York City.

June 29 - A Day in The Big Apple

There are several choices to travel into the city from New Jersey. You could:

a) Drive your car - but that'd be insane - especially when you want to find parking. So - not an option

b) Take the NJ Transit train into the city which takes about 1.5 hours, or...

c) Take the SeaStreak Ferry like many of the 'suits' do. This is a more expensive option ($23 one way??), but certainly the fastest (only 40 minutes from Atlantic Highlands, NJ to Lower Manhattan) and what felt the most civilized.

We opted to ferry over and then take the train home in the evening. We were able to have the best of all travel possibilities.

You can take advantage of the travel time to knit or read. I'm reading on my Nook - I love this little device & highly recommend it. In fact -the price has come down substantially, especially if you only want the WiFi capabilities instead of WiFi and phone signal. I'm currently reading "The Fiery Cross", book 5 of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. I love the series; I'm trying to get caught up (again) so I can be best prepared for the latest release. However - as I remember from the last time I read it, this book takes forever to read. I'm currently on page 800-something out of 1300. Uggg. Okay - I digress from our trip & I'm not being compensated in any way for endorsing this e-product or book.

After disembarking in Lower Manhattan (right at the end of Wall Street), we wanted to do the Circle Line Cruise around Manhattan. I'd taken this tour when I traveled here 5 years ago with my BKFF and 12 high school students. However - the tour we wanted was having technical difficulties, so we went on a NYC Water Taxi. Not nearly the same and was crowded with many non-English speaking tourists who spoke so loud you couldn't hear the canned commentary. Oh well. Orion made a friend:

What more could you want from your visit to the U.S.A. - a photo with two iconic images of America: The Statue of Liberty and a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy. It was pretty cute.

During the "tour" we saw Lower Manhattan, the area where the Two Towers used to stand, Battery Park, Ellis Island (a very cool museum of the history of immigrants to our country), the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. We didn't sail all the way around & missed other pertinent landmarks. That's okay, perhaps we'll save those for another visit. After the tour we walked up Wall Street for a bit and then rode the subway to Times Square.

Times Square is pretty overwhelming with all of the neon lights and billboards, but pretty spectacular none the less. There was a giant screen dedicated to World Cup Matches. It would have been fun to watch a US game there - especially the one where the US scored in the 91st minute to advance out of the group stage.

This was a fun "interactive" billboard. It captured live images of the street across from it. Then, a young woman would walk into the screen and take a Polaroid photo. If you were standing in the correct area, you could have been the subject of the photo. At least once the boys and I were in the photo. At one time, the woman "picked-up"people in the image by their hair. It was pretty fun.

We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe where in hindsight our trip took a turn for the worse - although we wouldn't know it until several days later. It seems that when we paid for our meal & our credit card was out of our immediate control (as in the waitress will be your cashier) - someone made off with our credit card number & charged hundreds of dollars to our account over several days. Fortunately I noticed it when we arrived here in CA & our credit card company has sent us new cards and negated all of the fraudulent charges. To the company's credit, they did freeze our account when Wade tried to use the card back in Wisconsin, but we told them we had been in NYC, so we weren't aware of any unauthorized purchases. Turns out upon close inspection of our statement, someone had been purchasing liquor (lots of it!) and such using our number. So lesson learned - pay close attention to your credit statements and keep a close eye on your card at all times!!

Other highlights of the Big Apple Included:

Grand Central Station (where a t.v. was set up to watch the World Cup)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Special Picasso and Bamboo Exhibits

A view from the Top of the Empire State Building (I hadn't done this on my previous trip)

and dinner at an Italian Restaurant with a college buddy who now lives and works outside of Manhattan.

It was a long, busy, and fun-filled day. The kids were troopers - but here's what they looked like as we pulled out of Penn Station for our 1.5 hour train ride back to Jersey:

I'm sure even with the credit card set back we'll still take a trip back to the Big Apple. So much more to see and do that you couldn't possibly squeeze into one day.

Ciao & Happy Travels!

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