It’s a question I ask travelers upon their return from anywhere: What was your favorite part? When I ask myself this regarding NYC, I’m at a loss for an answer.
I loved it all.
I’m at the stage of life where I don’t need “things.” What I would rather have are experiences. And as a writer, everything is material. There’s something to be said for the challenge of figuring out a trip’s navigation and overcoming whatever obstacles we run into.
So what I loved most about NYC was not one specific location. It was being able to share these special days together with Brian and all three of our kids. Team Cronk. The memories made are irreplaceable.
As a confirmed rural / small-town girl, I’ve always enjoyed trips to cities. I don’t want to live in them but I want to understand them and get a feel for what they are about and their history. Plus, see what they have to offer. Brian has always felt the same, and this is why we’ve visited Boston, Philadelphia, D.C. multiple times (and we're going back soon), Minneapolis and now, NYC.
My top tip for visiting a city is to have a plan. We started with our wish list, then popped into the schedule the events that have non-negotiable times such as the Colts/Jets game and the Broadway show. Then we filled in with our other plans and restaurants. We had some “maybes” if there’s time, such as a stroll down Wall Street and photo ops with the Raging Bull. I can’t imagine just showing up and figuring it all out.
SO, for our final full day, we began the day with another great breakfast next door to Hotel Edison at Danny’s. Then we headed out on the Subway, destined for Battery Park where we caught a ferry in New York Harbor, bound for The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. These are two separate islands.
We learned in advance that Statue Cruises is the only company that takes you to these sites. Months earlier, we booked our cruises, which take about 15 minutes out to the Statue on Liberty Island, along with upgrades to go into the crown at 1:30 p.m. If you’ve seen the Liberty Mutual Insurance commercials on TV where the actors are in New York Harbor with the Statue behind them, those are no doubt filmed at Battery Park.
The ferries run continuously throughout the day and our timing from getting there around 11, I guess, was perfect, as headsets with an informative walking tour around the island are not to be skipped if you have time. Factoid: One might assume the statue’s star-shaped base is a nod to the stars and stripes. Not true! It’s designed to deflect cannonballs firing on it as they deflect due to the star shape rather than destroy in direct hits.
The gift shop is attached to the pedestal so you must walk through it to get to the pedestal and lower-level museum. In the pedestal, you can walk outside and enjoy views of the city, Ellis Island and the Harbor.
There’s an elevator to the pedestal but not to the crown. It’s around 350 steps round-trip up and down circular, very narrow stairway to the crown from the pedestal. The space in the crown is very small, allowing room for around six guests, and a couple of National Park Service rangers. But my crew agrees they will never see the statue in the same way having been inside it in such an extraordinary way.
The cruise takes you to the Liberty Island first and then you hop a boat to Ellis Island. Once you leave Liberty Island, you can’t return (unless of course you book another cruise).
Ellis Island is not to be missed. The museum is wonderful and you could spend the whole day there if your schedule allowed. You’ll see through films, displays and experience from walking around the main building where footsteps of millions of European immigrants walked from 1892 to 1954 – hoping to become Americans.
It’s a touching place to visit, as is The Statue, and to envision oneself arriving in this beautiful, precious land we are so blessed to call home – America.
I also must say right here that there are so many sound bites reflecting “hatred” among people on the news channels. Don't you believe for a second that this is the norm! We spent all or part of five days in NYC in the midst of people of all races, colors, creeds and stations in life.
We were treated beautifully. We saw nothing to reflect division or hated, we witnessed no anger. We simply were all in the same boat – quite literally as we journeyed in and out of New York Harbor. The news exaggerates and inflames the hatred a few feel. This is my opinion. This is what I see when living real life.
Most of us are simply humans with so much more in common than in what separates us. We felt this intensely in the midst of people from everywhere than in the perceived irreconcilable differences we see over and over on the national news.
Once you are finished looking around Ellis Island, you catch the next ferry back to Battery Park.
From there, it was late afternoon. We had one thing left on our agenda: Katz’s Deli in Queens. This was on Sam’s wish list as he had heard about this iconic restaurant on TV shows based in NYC.
We made our way via the subway to Queens and followed directions. One obstacle about NYC is that your Google GPS is very spotty, due, we suppose, to all the skyscrapers blocking signals.
We hoofed it through regular neighborhoods in this borough, passing inner-city schools, apartment complexes and businesses. It was awesome to get a quick feel for how regular people live their regular lives, apart from the tourist crowd.
Soon we saw the Katz’s deli sign looming ahead and when we entered, were given “tickets” where the prices of what we bought were written and we paid at the end with the clerk ringing up the amounts on the tickets.
I had corned beef on rye, only because it sounded so very “NYC deli” to me. I added slaw which was the best slaw I’ve ever had. I only wonder what the chili was like because chili is about my favorite food. Sam had Matzah ball soup and pastrami. The place was hopping and the walls loaded with photos of celebrities who had visited this deli with a slogan of “Send your boy in the army a Katz salami.”
That concludes my series on NYC, a trip will live in my heart forever. Thanks for sharing the trip with me.