We were all awake much earlier than usual thanks to our 6 hour time change so our day started unusually early. We had a quick breakfast at a nearby cafe and then hit the subway. Brian pointed out that in the last month we’ve ridden 3 of the oldest subway systems in the world – Paris (1900) London (1890) and now New York City (1904); a feat that few adults have accomplished in a lifetime of Adventures.
Today was our downtown day so we started by taking the subway from 96th Street all the way to Brooklyn. We didn’t spend much time there, just enough to start our step count for the day as we trekked over the Brooklyn Bridge.
After we returned to Manhattan we worked our way through the narrow old streets of Lower Manhattan. We stood at the intersection of Wall Street and Broad Street with the NY Stock Exchange on one corner, the Federal Hall where Washington was sworn in as President on another. And on a third, the apartment building where Tiffany lived her last two years in NYC. True to form, the kids were equally bored by all those facts.
Slightly more interesting was the stop a block further up; Trinity Church and the tomb of Alexander Hamilton. The musical still has them hooked so they were interested in seeing any Hamilton sites on offer.
From there we made a stop for a quick lunch and then made it to Battery Park in time to board the boat for our next Adventures – the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
This was the first thing the kids said they wanted to do in New York. Brian had never been there. Tiffany was last there with her sister and nephew in 2001 so everyone was excited to arrive at Liberty Island. The audio tour does a good job walking you through the history and construction of the Statue and CreeperKitty listened to every stop. And of course the views back to Manhattan are spectacular.
We also went up to the top of the pedestal as part of our tour. The crown is closed at the moment and going all the way to the torch has been disallowed for years. But it was interesting to see Gustav Eiffel’s scaffolding holding her up from the inside.
In the Museum, learned more facts and got to see the original torch. We also got to join a media display. We took a selfie and it was added into a mosaic of the Statue before our eyes.
After getting our fill of photos and facts at the Statue, it was time to go.
We only traveled a short distance by boat, but we seemed to go back in time about 100 years. Such is the impact of Ellis Island’s displays and commentary.
Over the past year, we have gone through immigration 11 times, twice into the United States and the rest into foreign countries. With these experiences fresh in our minds, it was fascinating to see how similar the processes we went through were to those at Ellis Island. Of course we were just tourists and not planning to stay but we still got checked for illness, we had to make sure to provide our correct name and documents and we had to prove we were financially able to support ourselves during our trip. Essentially the same, one hundred years later.
All of the kids were interested in the audioguide for this one and it did a good job on focusing kids’ stories to keep them engaged.
We returned to the dock almost 5 hours after we left – hot, tired and very satisfied with our Adventure. We hadn’t had quite enough of the harbor so we grabbed dinner at a place on the water with a view of Lady Liberty. From there we trekked through Battery Park to a really cool playground where our kids got invited into an epic game of tag with a bunch of local kids. After they’d run themselves out we once again caught the Subway back uptown to our hotel.
Whew! We set a new record for steps – over 21,000. 9.5 miles of walking snagged us some very fun Adventures today, can’t wait to see what we do tomorrow.