Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New York City, Part 1

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As tough as it is in this lifestyle to leave people and places, there is always something exciting ahead. So we said our goodbyes to Bill and Kelly and pointed Scoopy toward New York City!

If there is any section of our trip that I was kind of dreading, it was this one. Driving into densely populated areas on a dark and drizzly day is not my idea of fun, but we did our best to study the maps and Google Earth to familiarize ourselves with the route. And, Steven had just put on new windshield wipers so we were as prepared as we could be.

A dark and dreary day upon our arrival across the bay from Gotham City.

Most of the campgrounds around New York City are pretty far out and require a lengthy commute to get to the city. We decided that even though it would be spendy, we wanted to stay as close as possible to Manhattan. We made reservations at Liberty Park RV & Marina in Jersey City just across the Hudson Bay. It was a 12-minute ferry ride from there to Pier 11 right by Wall Street. The place was essentially nothing but a parking lot with water and electric hookups. It cost $95 per night, but since we were staying a week, we got our seventh day free, bringing the nightly cost down to $81.43. That's not bad when you consider the location. 

In order to reach Liberty Park RV Park, a trip across downtown Jersey City is necessary.

The first thing we saw when we checked in was the Statue of Liberty. How exciting!

On travel days we rarely take on anything other than getting set up and familiarizing ourselves with the immediate area. On our first full day, we headed into the city bright and early via the commuter ferry that leaves from the marina at the RV park, which dropped us off at Pier 11/Wall Street. We wanted to visit South Street Seaport on our way to the Brooklyn Bridge but the whole thing was closed for renovations. Oh well, off to the bridge!

The little ramp only footsteps away from our campsite where the ferry sped us off to the Big Apple!

Most mornings, the ferry had plenty of seats and what a great view of the skyline.

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Our first few days were overcast but it made for some nice drama.

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One of our first clear views of downtown Manhattan from the ferry.

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Views of the distant Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from the ferry.

In spite of the fact that he lived in both Manhattan and Brooklyn for a decade when he first came to the States from Ireland, Steven had never walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. Anticipating photo ops, this was high on his list. The day itself was again quite dreary but the views were full of drama.

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A rare moment of no people on this otherwise very busy and populated bridge.

Fantastic views of downtown Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Who can resist taking a cliché iconic shot?? Not us!

The walk across the bridge was very enjoyable but you have to really watch out for speeding cyclists!

Afterward we made our way across to the World Trade Center, first for a pizza lunch, then for a look around at the memorials and on to the museum. One World Trade, or Freedom Tower as it is often referred to, is beautiful. It is just so imposing, so impressive and can be seen seemingly from everywhere.

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Oculus, otherwise known as the World Trade Center Transportation hub. At over half a million square feet, it houses a subway station, the Path Train Station and lots of shopping opportunities.

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Flowers near Liberty Plaza in NYC and our first close up glimpse of One World Trade Center.

The memorials built to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11 are beautiful water features, each built in the footprint of one of the fallen towers. The square shapes are 192 feet by 192 feet and 30 feet deep and are lined in black granite, the names of the victims etched into bronze panels affixed to the stone on the rim. Water cascades down the four walls and disappears into a square hole in the center of the pool. They are absolutely stunning.

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It’s hard to capture the scale of the memorials but they are really beautiful and breathtaking.

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Personal tributes to some of those who died are all around the memorials.

There were lots of people milling about, it's a somber gathering place for those visiting. We were able to get right in to the museum without a wait. I honestly did not know what to expect, I hadn't read anything about the museum. At first I was kind of underwhelmed as I walked from display after display of mangled metal and burnt out emergency vehicles. But then we walked through the glass doors into the main part and I realized immediately that this was a room full of emotion.


The museum is vast and it really gives a close up view of some of the destruction from 9/11.

This part, where no photos were allowed, was full of the voices of newscasters, emergency personnel, people on the street all taken from events as they were happening. There were photos, news clips and video loops one after the other. Traumatic events, such as the video showing people falling and jumping from the towers, was shown in a more private alcove so that those who wished not to see it could move on. Until this day I had never seen any of this footage. It's heartbreaking, to say the least. All the victims are honored in the museum and there is a reflection room where you can sit and listen to their stories. You can even request to hear an individual's story. I requested to learn about a four-year old girl and found she was aboard one of the jets that crashed into a tower. She and her mother were on their way to Disney in California. Needless to say I was no longer underwhelmed.

Our first full day in Manhattan wiped us out. We returned home to Scoopy for a quiet evening and an early bedtime. The next morning Steven was up and out early, as he had plans for a photographic session and a meet up with his friend Dina, and I had plans to sleep in. Gosh, it felt so good to just wake up on my own and then enjoy my morning coffee. It feels like we've just been going and going and that's hard to keep up.

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One World Trade Center and the Empire State, the two tallest buildings in New York City.

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The architecture of the Financial District is just a treat to shoot.

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Quintessential New York City steam!

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The Chrysler Building (one of Steven’s favorites) and the always-exciting Times Square.

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Terrorism is always a concern in a city this big and there were reminders everywhere.

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We enjoyed the abundance of flowers throughout the city.

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Charging Bull and Fearless Girl. There were hundreds of tourists around them. Hard to get a clear shot!

Finally, around 11-ish I got ready to head into Manhattan. Steven and I were to meet up around 4 p.m. I chose to spend my afternoon at Eataly, a gigantic food hall featuring an Italian market, a variety of restaurants, food and beverage counters, bakery, retail items, and a cooking school. There are several in NYC and the one I went to was in the Flatiron District. It was a feast for the senses, gorgeous foods that I was just dying to throw into my basket. But honestly, I only had a backpack and didn't really want to carry anything around all day, so I opted instead to purchase only lunch.

The Flatiron building near Eataly.

What a fun place Eataly is! You could get lost for an entire day here.

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Yes, this is all cheese! For my Washington peeps, there is a tin of Cougar Gold in this photo!

I chose to eat in the Pasta restaurant. Since I was a single, I sat at the counter next to another female single. In no time at all we were enjoying each other's company as well as the entertainment of watching the line prepare all the different kinds of pasta dishes. It was fascinating to watch as we ate our own delicious lunches.

My tagliatelle with a short rib ragu and parmesan cheese lunch at Eataly. Is that a beautiful bowl or what?

Before I knew it, Steven arrived and we headed uptown to Bryant Park to meet up with my friends Dieter and Jennifer. You may recall we recently met up with Dieter and his wife Maggie when our paths crossed in Charleston, but they are from NYC & Pennsylvania. Like Dieter, Jennifer is also a friend from high school who I haven't seen since 1973. Seems like yesterday, but it's been 44 years. Wow!

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Waiting for our friends in Bryant Park, then we realized we were in the wrong place!

We had a fun evening with Jennifer and Dieter at Bryant Park.

We enjoyed a few drinks in Bryant Park then, as Jennifer left to meet her niece, Dieter, Steven and I went in search of dinner. We were headed toward Eataly when we got sidetracked into a place called The Smith, the loudest restaurant I have ever experienced. The food was great but it didn't matter because with tiles on the wall, it had all the ambience of a subway bathroom filled with a hundred people.

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Nice restaurant but the noise was insane. Click on the photo above for a little video demonstrating the decibels!

We headed to Dieter and Maggie's studio apartment where Dieter gathered his things for his trip back to their Pennsylvania farmhouse. He drove us to Liberty Harbor campground and came inside long enough to declare Scoopy to be wonderful. Yes, she is. :)

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Night views and fun storefronts in NYC.

There is lots more to tell you about but I'm going to break this up so we can add a ton of photos for your enjoyment! Stay tuned!

NEXT UP: New York City, Part II


  1. I have been looking forward to these NYC posts and this sure didn't disappoint!! Those bridge shots are magical. Not sure I can handle the 9/11 museum, it sounds amazing, but very intense. I appreciate you sharing your experience. How fun to meet up with friends in such a vibrant city.

    1. I feel like you are going to have to come back to the east coast and do some big cities. :) Seriously, do the big cities then head down the coast. It's awesome.

  2. So much overwhelming awesomeness. Your photos are amazing—the bridge shots are especially dramatic. I haven't been to NYC since I lived in Boston 20 years ago, but we're planning to visit when we head up the East Coast. The RV park seems like the perfect place to stay—we love places where we can take the ferry into the city—we've done that in both San Francisco and New Orleans and had a blast.

    1. The RV Park is nothing to write home about, but it's location can't be beat! We would definitely stay there again. Every time we go to NYC it seems different. So vibrant and exciting!

  3. We will brave bears, snow covered road and even venturing where there are no roads at all. But we will never brave NYC, you guys are crazy!

    1. We've visited so many big cities this year, I am just about burned out on them, so I get where you are coming from. Still, it's New York City! :)

    2. Never visit NYC!?! Its an amazing city - not to be missed! The energy is unmatched anywhere! You are doing yourselves a disservice missing it!

  4. Amazing pictures and stories. When I worked in Connecticut we would take the train to the city for the day. We always came home exhausted and happy. We may have to fit this in next year if we return to the east coast.

  5. NYC is simply the best. Definitely looking forward to going back.

    Love the sepiatone of the Brooklyn Bridge, Steven....the way that bridge should be photographed. 😉