Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Aircraft carriers, subs, and copper statues

A most useful tip from a friend brought to our attention that there is an air and space museum with an aircraft carrier and submarine located on the Hudson River. It was unanimous that this was a must-see, so on day two, after spending the morning with an ex-Time-magazine-exec-that-the-economy-downgraded-to-AP-staff-in-a-cubicle checking out his sailboat, we wandered around the decks of the U.S.S Intrepid, a WWII aircraft carrier. The boys crawled on huge guns, marveled at the size of the anchor chains, winches and lines, read about the Intrepid's history, and carefully checked out each fighter plane. It was a definite hit. Many thanks for the heads-up. On the way back to our home-sweet-parking-lot, we hopped off to catch a glimpse of Greenwich Village and a bite to eat before turning our sleepy heads in.

The next day, after a morning walk along the water and lunch at our new favorite taqueria, we set out for the Statue of Liberty. Due to trains and roads being closed along the way, we arrived at the ferry station much later than we had hoped and had to bypass Ellis Island (big bummer) and were only able to visit Liberty Island. It was so strange (pretty much applies to the whole visit to NYC) watching the statue getting closer and closer, finally seeing her in person for the first time. (Prepare for stream of consciousness.....) That's the thing that is so weird about our visit to NYC. Growing up we have grown accustomed to these iconic sites and finally seeing them for real is nuts. In our imaginations the were always larger than life and in real life they are still larger than life. Maybe it is because we had never really planned (in fact it was my desire to not drive the camper van here....never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would be crazy enough to drive the camper van to NYC) on actually stopping here so we were not mentally prepared. Whew, I digress! Onto the Statue of Liberty where the boys, I am proud to say, added another Junior Ranger badge to their collection. As you might guess from the earlier build-up, Lady Liberty was very impressive with her eight foot long fingers and masterfully molded lines. To celebrate her 125th birthday last Friday, they closed her down for a year-long renovation so no trip to the top for us. To top things off, we were treated to a fabulous sunset on the ferry ride back and a very strange, very squashed (seven people in your typical New York taxi) taxi ride back.

I can't end without mentioning the people. I have heard all kinds of things about New Yorkers.....that they are loud, obnoxious, rude, mean. I have to say our experience has been the exact opposite. People have been kind and helpful everywhere we have gone. We watch how strangers politely interact with each other on the subway. Things like, "excuse me, do you mind if I sit down here," when there is an empty seat, "yo, lady! You want dis seat?" when some tough guy sits down, quick apologies for accidental bumps on crowded streets, people asking if we need help when we are standing on the street with a map, and Jason reports that the staff in the emergency room in Jersey City were very nice and friendly. We have really enjoyed the company of New Yorkers this visit. 

Click here for photos.

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