NYC, here we come! We are so excited to be here, so excited to see the city and all the people! We got up early so we could figure out the ferry system, and other than walking the 7/10 of a mile to the Paulus Hook ferry landing, it was easy. We weren’t quite sure if we had picked the right destination on the other side, but we were ready to hand the first mate our 4 tickets. It was already 77 degrees and humid at 8 a.m.!
The ferry ride across the Hudson was beautiful. I could ride to work that way every day! I asked one of the commuters what winter was like and he said last winter had been the worst ever, but usually it was a nice way to unwind on either end of his workday. Every single person, except me, immediately got on his or her devices. I was too busy staring out the window. The ferry pushed through the wakes from the other ferries, with a nice little bounce. The skyline of Jersey City was beautiful with the sun shining on all the glass and new buildings. The skyline of New York City was beautiful, but without the Twin Towers, it looked a little sad.
We got off on the 42nd Street landing, and walked up 34th to the Empire State Building. We found out later that we could have ridden one of the buses that people were hopping onto, but they didn’t have names on them, so we wouldn’t have known which color to get on. And it was worth walking. It was the bus street, so people from all different countries were getting off and on with huge luggage and wearing interesting clothing. I lost count of all the languages because I kept on trying to figure out what they were saying. If only they would slow down!
At the ESB, we hadn’t bought the City Pass online because our printer wasn’t working well, but of course, they had a station for printing them out that wasn’t mentioned on the website. We only had to wait in line for 20 minutes before we bought the Passes, then worked our way through the building. They route you like Disneyland – take this escalator, read this about the building, stand in between these ropes, turn here, go up in the elevator, etc , etc. They were starting to get busy, so we were put in a freight elevator to go up. The young man didn’t say anything, just pushed a button and looked at the floor. I joked that we were like cattle and he didn’t laugh. Start of a long workday for him. Instead of waiting in line for another elevator, they said we could walk the stairs, and we raced to them. We went up 6 floors and out on the main area.
Wow! It was a spectacular view!!! We were lucky to be there on a bright sunny day and we took tons of pictures are we walked along the outside observation deck. It was a little crowded, but we still managed to enjoy it until we left Nate and Eliza in one spot to go take in one more view, and then couldn’t get back to them. After walking around, they roped off our last 20 feet for a celebrity who was going to visit. I said, “oh, wait, can we go through, our kids are right there” and the security guy said, “go around.” Oh good, now I’m in New York City.
We waited for a few minutes, all the tourists saying how nice it would be to have it roped off for us, and wondering who would be coming. Quite ridiculous, and I didn’t budge an inch from my front row spot. Had my camera ready. Is it Jimmy Buffet? Zac Brown? Tina Fey?! No, it was a tv anchor from Punjabi! Didn’t know her. Still tried to take a picture, but all the paparazzi that had been allowed in with her were in my way, and then I got shoved from behind and gave up. That was fun.
We retraced our route back down to the street level and I was dismayed to find that the line to get in was out the door and around the corner. Those people were going to be waiting for hours to get in and I felt bad for them. I took a moment to remind our sleepy teenagers why we get them up early on days like this.
After exploring in the same area for hours, we found a deli for lunch and put in our orders. Standing up, listening to the business people around us discuss their morning and the deli guys behind the counter bantering back and forth about an order. It was the perfect deli experience because the food was amazing.
We walked around until we found a couple of Eliza and Nate’s favorite stores – Aeropostale, Old Navy. Both kids are growing so fast, we buy clothes every month! Fun to see the styles for NYC and to wonder if the same stuff is in the stores on the west coast. We think it probably is now. Years ago, fashion was slow to come to the west coast, but now we think it would be easy to get it there, and people demand it because they can look it up online.
We walked back down to the river, 1.3 miles, and hopped on our Circle Line cruise. It came with the City Pass packet and we thought it would be nice to get an overview of the area by boat, now that we’d seen it from the top of the Empire State Building. It was getting colder, and we didn’t have coats, but it was only a 2 hour cruise,and the guide talked almost the whole time, so it went by quickly. Funny little anecdotes interspersed with great facts. It was interesting to hear how the docks were so important, and how each one had it’s own type of merchandise delivered. It was a blast to go by the Statue of Liberty and know that in a few days we’d be in her crown! It was really cool to go under the Brooklyn Bridge. Aunt Alice said to walk it, and Dave has already done it, so we’ve added that to our long list of “things to do in NYC”. Hope we have time for all of it.
Back at the dock, we scrambled off the tourist cruise, gently josltling 150 other people so we wouldn’t be late, and headed to the other terminal to catch our ferry back to Jersey. It had been such an incredible, memorable day and I didn’t want it to end. I kept remembering how much fun Linda and I had when we visited. How fun spring break of 1983 was with my other friends. How loud the city had been then with all the honking, and how quiet it was now in comparison. How I heard so many languages today I lost count. And this time I felt safe! I don’t know if it was a delusion because Dan was there, or if the city really was safer. Who cares?! We had a day to remember and we can’t wait to come back for more.