Roman goes to Manhattan, Part One.

April 19, 2007

Our longest trip had to fit into the last five days of Roman’s spring break.

Elizabeth Mitchell and Maxine Wright were driving to Connecticut to see friends, so we tagged along to New Jersey with them. We met them just after midnight Wednesday (so, actually, early Thursday morning), and started the long drive. (I was willing to drive, anyway, but as it turned out, they did all the driving. Nice! I’d already done my share, back and forth to Williamsburg and Washington, so I was ready to just enjoy the trip for a change. Between the rain (buckets, bringing speed down to 50 at times) and a tractor-trailer wreck on 95 between Baltimore and Delaware, which had us parked on the highway for an hour between 7 and 8 AM, we finally got to the Hampton Inn in Linden, NJ, about 12:15 (it was nice, just 4 years old).

 

Once we unloaded our stuff we headed directly to Liberty State Park, just one exit away on the NJ Turnpike. That a little hard to find, but turned out to be a renovated railroad yard where the ferries from New York used to dock and unload people to catch the trains west (before there were tunnels under the Hudson, and before Pennsylvania Station). Boarding the FerryWe caught a ferry there that went to Ellis IslandEllis Island, not far off the Jersey shore; after a short stop there we went on to the Statue of Liberty, Romand and the SOLMaxine and Roman and Lady Libwhere my internet tour reservation was for 12:45-3:30. It was a great thrill for Roman to see New York from the water, even though the rain and the fog was cutting visibility down to the point where we could barely see the Empire State Building– at times it looked like the top half had just been erased by clouds.

 

With the temperature in the 30s, and the wind blowing hard, and snow flurries blowing up occasionally, I’m sure the tourism was down. But the security lines at the Statue of Liberty were still long. In fact, it turned out to have the strictest security of the entire city—“Take off your belts!” “Remove your shoes!” “Put all cell phones, cameras, wallets and change in the tray!” “Step into the booth!” Everything was x-rayed, scanned, sniffed for explosives, and eyeballed. But we finally all made it into the base of the statue, listened to the guide, looked through the exhibits, and started the climb up the stairs.

 

Before 9/11 it was still possible to climb all the way into the crown, but the statue itself is closed now. The best anyone can do is to take the 14 or 15 flights of steps up to the top of the base, and look through glass into th Looking up the skirtse structural framework of the statue.Circular Stairs Inside the SOL

 

Then we could go outside on the observation deck at the foot of the statue, where we had a much better view of the city since the wind had picked up enough to blow much of the fog away. Mac and Max and Elizabeth (Here’s where Roman first tested his fear of heights!)Roman's First View of the City

 

It was too late for a tour of Ellis Island, so before we left we grabbed a snack in the SOL cafeteria. The trip back to New Jersey on the ferry got VERY cold, so we were glad to go back to the hotel for some rest. The Hampton InnWe had dinner at an Italian restaurant Elizabeth knew Elizabeth Ordering Italianin nearby Rahway—Linden, Rahway and Elizabeth, New Jersey are all grouped just south of the Newark airport, connected by the railroad into the city. That’s where we planned to head Friday morning.

Mac and Roman on the Observation DeckMac at Liberty State Park

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