It’s Up To You…

New York, New York. I enjoy the city. I like the lights, the different architectural building designs, people watching, all the events and sights, etc. I love it! Trevor hates it and I mean hates it. He’s usually a chipper fun guy. From the moment we took the wrong route he was in a foul mood. Short with me and the kids, all around grumpy. His I-hate-the-city attitude was starting to rub off on the kids. Mason was fine the first day but by the second day he was over the crowds and lights. I felt rushed and we didn’t even get to take the boys to a Broadway show. I was pretty sure the kids would like the Lion King and when they saw the sign they wanted to go but stick-in-the-mud didn’t want to stay any longer than we already had. He wasn’t like this last time we were in New York. I think since we’ve moved to the mountains he’s gotten worse about cities.

Now that I have all that off my chest, let’s talk NYC. We took PATH from Newark to NYC. Trains were really easy to navigate. The Metro Card works on both PATH and the NY Subway so one card and done. Sweet! We decided to be full-on tourist. The first day started with an early train ride and a short walk to Statue Cruises to catch our ferry over to Liberty Island to see Lady Liberty.

When you go over to the Island, tickets are &18.50/adult and $9/child for your Reserve ticket or Reserve Pedestal ticket. Reserve Crown tickets cost a few extra dollars a person. A Reserve ticket gets you to the Island but you don’t get to go up in the statue. You have to have a Pedestal or Crown ticket to go up in the statue as only a limited number of people are allowed to go up. We were able to get Reserved Pedestal tickets, which meant we could go up inside the pedestal but not further into the actually statue to the crown at the top. Reserved Crown tickets were all reserved until the middle of November. Bummer! There are lots of stairs. Everyone going to the island has to go through a security screening, then you have another screening if you go in the pedestal. You are very limited as to what you can take inside the Statue and if you are lucky enough to get Reserved Crown tickets then you really can’t bring much of anything (water, phone/camera, meds; that’s it). Be sure to check the National Park Service website for the exact info. I read lots of stuff about long lines and to get there early so we did. We were early and were allowed to board an earlier ferry since there wasn’t a long line at that point. I think it also helped that it was the first day of school for NYC. Just FYI, the northeastern states start back about a month later than the southern states. Less crowds and cheaper hotels once school starts back. 😉

We brought our small daypack with water and snacks and had to leave it in a locker. The lockers were a quarter and after you return the key your quarter drops back out for you. They have a change machine if you forget your quarter. An audio tour is also available at no additional charge.

We grabbed our Jr Ranger books and headed to the Statue first while it was quiet. By the time we got back down the island was much busier. I can imagine how busy this place gets earlier in the summer.

After our pedestal climb, snack, and completion of the Ranger program, we hit the museum. Then back on the boat to head over to Ellis Island. Our stop at Ellis Island was fairly short; only about an hour because we stayed so long at the Statue and we wanted lunch. We had already promised Tuck some real New York pizza so back to the mainland we went.

After pizza and pics with the Charging Bull on Wall Street, we headed over to the 9/11 Memorial. I remember exactly where I was on that day. I was sitting in Dr. Poff’s taxation class and he stoped class to play the breaking news. Almost all of us, cut class the rest of the day to watch the events unfold. Trev and I and our friends Greg and Mandy went to Tall Nanny’s house, and watched the news in disbelief. They were still working on the memorial last time Trev and I were here. It’s really kind of surreal as you get to the memorial, which are two large pools with the victims names etched in stone around the border. Even though people are talking, it’s pretty quiet. People whisper or talk quietly, no one is running around acting a fool, just somber and reverent.

The museum offers regular admission, museum tours, and memorial tours. We wanted to go on the memorial tour but our stop at the Statue of Liberty was way longer than we expected and we missed the last tour of the day at 3pm. The museum was still open (until 8pm) so after viewing the memorial we got our tickets for the museum. That costs us $90 but we felt it was important to see. We watched the two 15 minute movies upstairs to start with as this gave the boys a little background on what 9/11 was all about. They weren’t born until years after the event and it wasn’t really anything that we had discussed with them until this trip.

Even after all these years, I had to choke back tears as I watched the videos. The lady beside me cried. Quiet sobs and sniffles could be heard throughout the auditorium. I can’t even fathom how this event affected and continues to affect so many lives in this area.

I was a little nervous about Tucker being his usual silly outgoing self in the museum where you could hear a pin drop almost. Since we missed the guided tour, I wanted to at least get the audio tour. They have a kid tour and an adult tour. Tucker wanted to take the audio tour and that worked out great as it help keep him focused. The audio tours are not synced like the Breakers so sometimes I would have to wait on him and other times he on me as mine had more stops. Tucker did amazing. He was very quiet and respectful. Well worth the additional $16. Mason stayed with Trevor and they viewed the museum without the audio. It’s really hard to describe. The museum has plenty to see but it’s not a lot. You’re not overcrowded feeling with information. I think they designed it that way so you can reflect on the significant pieces they chose to display. There is a section Tuck and I went to but the audio tour said it was best suited for children 11 and up, due to the nature of some of the exhibits, so we skipped that part as he’s only 7. I hate I didn’t get to view that exhibit I don’t think my heart could have taken much more anyway.

By that time we were physically and emotionally done for the day, so we headed back under the Hudson River for dinner and bed.

On the train ride over the next morning, Mason helped himself to a ladies newspaper. That boy loves to read.

Instead of landing at the World Trade Center Oculus, we rode a little further up the 33rd Street stop. Today we were just walking around the city getting pictures at notable sites. First up, 34th Street for a picture in front of Macy’s. Some of you are thinking – what? I LOVE Christmas movies, remember. Now, does it make more sense? So Tucker saw the Macy’s sign that read – World’s Largest Store and declared he had to see it. My kids hate to shop so don’t ask me why he wanted to go in but I needed a potty and I figured they would have clean restrooms. Well, it was a a few minutes before the doors opened. So we waited and a crowd started gathering and getting bigger. They opened the outer doors and people pushed in but we were only allowed into the inner doors. They finally open the doors for what we found out was a 48 hour sale and we were greeted by loud music, employees lining the entrance singing and clapping, as the smell of various perfumes whaffed through our noses. Then we had to go downstairs to opposing corners of that floor to get to the men and women’s bathrooms. At this point, our potty break was turning into a an hour long stop and Mason and Trevor were ready to leave the City and it was only 10 something. Tuck on the other hand was loving the store with its high energy.

So we walked to Times Square and then over to Rockerfeller Center. They spotted the Lego store so we had to go in. They could have stayed in there all day. But we had to keep moving. Then over to 5th Ave to see Trump Tower, and Central Park. The boys got to eat a hot dog from a New York food cart.

We hopped on the subway to head back. The NY subway is a bit more complicated than Boston’s but we managed.

We couldn’t get out fast enough for Trevor and I felt like there was so much more to see and do. But we hit the highlights and left.

Off to a state with a city full of brotherly love and history.

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