April 13-27, 2019 State #38. New York. Our first stop is New York City. Our second stop will be in June when we visit Niagara Falls.
We stayed two weeks at Croton Point Park. It was right on the Hudson River and near the train station. We loved this little park. It was so quiet and had great sunsets.
We walked out to the point one day while riding bikes. It was a great place to run and ride bikes. We are happy that the weather is warming up so we can be outside more. We celebrated Easter while we were here. We used the playground and empty sites next to us to hide eggs.
We arrived on Saturday and just relaxed. Sunday we headed out early to explore Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
In order to take the ferry over to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty you need to reserve tickets in advance. I didn’t learn about this until it was a little over month away from our trip when I sat down to do the planning. Chris could only take off 2 days while we were in this area so we needed to maximize his weekends. There are two Statue Cruise ferry’s that take you onto the island and stop at the Statue of Liberty, one from battery park in NYC and the other from Liberty State Park in New Jersey. Did you know that the Statue of Liberty is actually in New Jersey?
There are different ticket options; one to just visit the grounds, one to go up to the top of the pedestal and one to climb to the crown. There were plenty of grounds tickets but the pedestal tickets from Battery park were all reserved so we bought the ones from Liberty Park because we wanted to get as close as we could to this iconic statue. We were disappointed that the tickets to the top of the crown were sold out but those book up 6-9 months in advance because of how limited they are.
Abby experienced a mock Immigration day in 5th grade, at her Elementary school. It was a half day experience that the teachers put on in the gym and cafeteria. I volunteered that day so I got to see first hand how well they emulated how the immigrates felt as they entered our country for the first time. Today was Mackenzie’s 5th grade Immigration day at the real Ellis Island. We made her hold all of our bags and jackets so she could really experience holding everything you owned while waiting in line. She was excited to play along. What was suppose to be a 15 minute wait, with our timed ticket, turned into an hour and half because our ferry boat had broken down. This made Mackenzie really cranky. It worked out in the end because it allowed time for the fog to burn off.
When we arrived on the island, we took our park sign picture and started walking into the building. As we pushed the door open, a Park Ranger come out of the door next to us yelling, “Follow me for a guided tour.” I was so excited we made it in time for the tour. That was one of the reasons I was upset with the delayed ferry because it set back all my plans for the day. We turned around and followed her. I’m so glad we did. She transported us back in time and walked us through the whole immigration process. Mackenzie got in the front of the line right next to the ranger so she wouldn’t miss a thing. We went through all the stages just like we had done back at Pickett’s Mill Elementary but we were standing in the very spot that it all happened! Roadschooling at it’s best!
This is us eating lunch with a view of the Statue of Liberty, our next stop.
The girls finished their Junior Ranger booklets after we ate lunch and earned their badges. My mom’s side of the family came through Savanah, GA. My Dad’s family came in through Baltimore, MD. Chris is still tracking down when his Dad’s family same over (he can trace back to Carmel, NY). And I’m not sure about his mom’s family.
Statue of Liberty
Good ole, Libby… she’s kinda a big deal. I was super excited to actually go to Liberty Island. I had done the free Staten Island ferry on a field trip when I was in middle school, which just takes you by the statue.
This copper statue, a gift from France in 1886, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel.
The Statue of Liberty is a figure of a robed Roman liberty goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand carries a tablet inscribed in Roman numerals with “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776). A broken shackle and chain lay at her feet as she walks forward, commemorating the recent national abolition of slavery.
France wanted it to be a united project putting the US in charge of building the pedestal. Fundraising for the pedestal was difficult, so publisher Joseph Pulitzer, started a drive for donations to finish the project. Most donations were less than a dollar. The statue was built in France, shipped overseas in crates, and assembled on the completed pedestal. The statue’s completion was marked by New York’s first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Cleveland.
We climbed up the pedestal to get a closer look.
The original torch was replaced and is now located in a new museum that wasn’t open yet. We peeked in through the gates. It opens in two weeks. The girls earned their JR badges here as well. We took the last boat back to port when they closed at 5pm.
The Historic town of Sleepy Hollow was across the river from our park.
I was excited to see the city where Washington Irving wrote his famous story about Ichabod Crane. The girls were not familiar with the story so we went to the local library, grabbed a few copies of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving and spent an hour reading them (it wasn’t free online or available on Libby or Hoopla). After dinner at the local restaurant ,with book inspired dishes, we went home and rented the animated version of the movie and compared and contrasted them. The book was better, as always.
Dinner at J.P Doyle’s. It was fun to order menu items that were named after character’s in the story we just read. While we were waiting for our food, it started raining outside but only on half of the window and it stayed like that for a long time. The girls went outside and jumped in and out of the rain.
Tuesday we took the train to the Bronx to watch a New York Yankees game against the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees won 8-0. Shh…We are going to a Red Sox game in a couple of weeks.
We arrived early so we could explore the museum.
Wednesday and Thursday we headed to a library to do school work.
Chris took off Friday so we could have a full 3 day weekend in the city. The train ride to Grand Central station takes an hour so we didn’t want to go back and forth everyday. We booked a hotel room for 2 nights at the Courtyard Marriott.
The Grand Central Terminal is simply amazing.
View from our room at night.
The hotel let us check our bags since it was only 10 am when we arrived. We headed to Central Park first. Transportation was so convenient; was a subway station right next to our hotel.
Central Park, co-designed by Fred Olmsted, is one of the most filmed locations in the world. It is the most visited urban park in America. This was a wonderful time to visit the city! I worked in Manhattan during the winter (October 2000-March 2001) and never saw the park this beautiful. The cherry blossoms and tulips are beautiful. All the flowers were blooming and you never felt like you were in the biggest city in America.
We started up on 90th street and walked to the Guggenhiem Museum. We entered the park across the street from here. We then headed south toward the Met. We weaved in and out. Then we walked across through the Ramble towards the American Museum of Natural History, stopping along the way for a milkshake.
More of central park, including Bethesda Fountain. We recognized so many iconic locations from movies we’ve seen.
Family memories. I’m just in love with every part of Central Park.
The Guggenheim Museum
This is an art museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, most famously known for the unique ramp gallery. It extends up from ground level in a long, continuous spiral along the outer edges of the building. It was been featured in many box office hits, like Men in Black.
The American Museum of Natural History. Dumb Dumb, I want my Gum Gum. Of course The Night at the Museum is one of our favorite movies so a visit to NYC wouldn’t be complete without a stop here.
Then we walked down the west side of the park. We walked along Broadway and 5th Avenue.
Dylan’s candy bar
We ended our day here. After 28,892 steps we decided we needed to refuel. Alicia- thanks for the recommendation!
I was craving a Lox breakfast bagel so we walked across the street to Ess-a-Bagel but it was closed:( I was wondering how I was so fortunate not to see a line.
We headed to the Empire State building. The man at the check in desk strongly encouraged us to come back another day because the fog and rain were so bad that we wouldn’t be able to see anything. We decided we’d be able to fit it in tomorrow or Sunday. We thanked him and then Abby asked him for the key to Olympus (thanks Rick Riordan), he responded with, “Someone else has it right now.” She was so excited that he played along.
New York public library
This is more than a library. It’s a work of art and museum.
The Rotunda features four panels depicting the story of the recorded word.
The children’s room has the original Winnie the Pooh and friends. A.A. Milne gave his son, Christopher Robin, these stuffed animals and then wrote a little story about it.
We sat and relaxed among the books before heading to lunch.
We stopped in the Trinity church. I can’t pass a beautiful church and not go inside.
Lunch on the way to ground zero. New York style pizza of course!
There are no words. Walking up on this 9/11 memorial was a very emotional. We have visited many battlefields across the country which can be emotional but to visit the site of a terrorist attack that you were alive for is gut-wrenching.
The girls made tissue flowers to place on the names of two girls that lost their lives on 9/11. There’s actually a very strange coincidence related to why they chose these names. When we were in Washington, DC, visiting the 9/11 pentagon memorial, the girls were drawn to the bench that had Zoe and Dana Falkenburg’s name on them. We immediately looked up their names and read their story. Here’s a link to our page talking about that.
When we walked into the center of the memorial exhibit inside there were stories one by one being featured on a black screen. Zoe Falkenburg’s was on the screen. We couldn’t believe out of all the victims, her profile was on the screen.
When we came outside we walked right up to the panel where their names were engraved.
We did learn that if there is a white rose in a person’s name, it’s their birthday that day.
9/11 museum and Memorial
We walked past this statue on the way back to our hotel and later read about it in a book we accidentally came across in the library later that week.
We had to go back to our room and rest because we were emotionally tired.
After relaxing and eating dinner in the hotel we got dressed for our night on Broadway.
Frozen on Broadway
We decided to surprise the girls with Frozen. We had a hard time deciding between this one, Harry Potter, Wicked and Aladdin but Frozen won out. After telling the girls we asked them if we made a good choice and they said, “Yes!”
The show was magnificent!
We walked over to experience Times Square at night with all the lights.
Chris and I negotiated purchasing a house all day while we walked around the city. We are binding and will close mid June. We are moving back to Georgia into the same school district and the neighborhood across the street from our old one. We really miss our community.
Before we came into the city for our fun filled weekend we dyed eggs at the campground.
The Easter Bunny visited our Hotel and left baskets for the girls.
Tulips in the city
Easter at the top of the Empire State building. I’m so glad we waited until today to go to the top. We had a great view and it wasn’t a long line.
Mackenzie brought her Easter gorilla to pretend he was King Kong.
Ellen’s Stardust cafe
We loved listening to the singing waitstaff while looking out at Times Square. Overpriced burgers but quite an experience. Thanks Alicia for the tip.
Walking around the city we saw the Radio city music hall, Macy’s, and many beautiful buildings.
What else do you do on Easter in NYC? Head over to Rockefeller Center and ice skate with the Easter Bunny of course. He taught the girls how to hop on the ice.
Rockefeller center was lined with Easter Lillies.
FAO Schwarz Toy Store
Complete with floor piano from the movie Big.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
As we came off the ice around 2:30pm we started see a ton of crazy huge decorated hats. We followed them to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We stopped a random family to ask about it and it turns out they are originally from Cumming, GA and one of their daughters works at an elementary school in Marietta with friends of mine. Every year, since the 1920’s, outside of the church, NYC hosts a Parade of Hats.
Days before we arrived, a man was arrested for attempting to burn down the church.
We wondered over to the New York stock exchange and had a great discussion about stocks and publicly held companies because Pinterest had just gone public.
Across from that is Federal Hall. New York City’s first City Hall hosted several momentous firsts, including the formation of the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch, the enactment of the Bill of Rights, and the inauguration of the country’s first president, George Washington. It was on the balcony of this building (renamed Federal Hall in 1789 when it became the capitol building of the newly formed United States) that Washington was sworn in as the first-ever President of the United States.
Heading home after a full 3 day weekend.
For school this week, we visited two different libraries- Ossining was a favorite.
We were in the library one day and saw this book sitting next to our table. We opened it up and it had these two pictures in it. We had seen the statue still in the same spot and the firetruck is in the 9/11 musuem.
Chris took his second day off to head up to Hyde Park to visit his aunt.
We toured one of the Vanderbilt houses.
We toured FDR’s house and library. This is the first presidential Library. Both the Vanderbilt house and the FDR house is owned by the NPS so we were able to take both tours for free with our NPS pass.
Eleanor’s house is located down the street at Val-Kill, but we didn’t have time to visit that site.
Dinner with Aunt Raelyn at Coppola’s. It is always wonderful to visit with family. Thanks Aunt Raelyn.
Thursday the girls and I drove up to West Point one day to explore the campus. We were surprised to have arrived on the day of the General Grant statue unveiling. Abby loved seeing a statue unveiled for the first time.
After West Point, we stopped to take a short hike on the AT. If we continued walking south, 1403 miles, we would have made it to Georgia.
On to Hartford, CT.