This is my parents last full day in Connecticut. Tomorrow, at an ungodly hour, they fly the day’s only non-stop from BDL to PBI.
The goal of the Connecticut Foxes was to make this a vacation full of activity, and we’ve succeeded. Maybe we were a little too aggressive in planning for my dad. We have taken him to the edge of his physical limits… though that wasn’t our intention.
Today was our day to head to New York and the Lower East Side. Stef, Helaine and my Mom love shopping there, but after this week, we knew it would be too much for my dad.
The solution was mine. The five of us would travel to New York together, but when the women headed to Canal Street, my dad and I would continue to Whitehall Terminal and the State Island Ferry.
When I was a kid a trip on the Staten Island Ferry cost 5¢. Later, it was raised to 25¢. About ten years ago, to lower the cost of commuting from Staten Island, the fare was removed altogether.
It’s a phenomenal free trip from The Battery, at Manhattan’s southern tip, to St. George on Staten Island. You go through the Upper Harbor, past Governors Island, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island.
It’s easy to forget, as I had, how busy a harbor this is. There are ocean going freighters moving past barges and tugs and other local working boats. We actually cruised by LSV-!, the Army’s General Frank S. Besson, Jr.
I thought the Army only had ships in Jack Lemmon movies!
Our ferry to Staten Island and back was the John F. Kennedy, christened in 1965. It, like all the ferries, is a stubby, dirty orange behemoth. There is no front. The ferry is commanded from both ends.
We took the outbound leg, standing outside on the upper deck on the port side. That’s the best view of the Statue of Liberty.
On the return we stood at the very front of the Kennedy, with an ever sharpening view of Lower Manhattan, the ‘satellite city’ of office towers that’s grown up in the Hoboken/Jersey City area and the smaller, older, office buildings in Downtown Brooklyn.
This trip, like nearly every other trip to New York was heavily dependent on the New York City subway system. I know some people are a little apprehensive, but it’s a great way to get around. It’s certainly faster than driving. Service is frequent… every few minutes on some lines.
The downside is, the cars are sometimes dirty and there are often people soliciting for (often dubious) charities. We had one guy beg while holding up sandwiches, ostensibly for any homeless on the train. We also had an accordionist join us – hand outstretched. His charity begins in the home.
There was one other downside today. When we headed from Whitehall Street, at the ferry slip, to Cortlandt Street, we discovered the Cortlandt Street Station is closed due to the reconstruction around the World Trade Center site. That aded a walk I didn’t plan on from City Hall down to Cortlandt.
We met up with the girls at Century 21, an über clothing department store, about a block from Ground Zero. My dad and I sat in the shoe department while (mostly) Stef did her damage upstairs!
The final stop of the day was dinner at the Stage Deli. It was very good, but my first choice was to head to Chinatown for Chinese food. I can’t name one Chinese restaurant down there, but I’m sure whatever we would have found would have been great.
By the way – on a trip like this, majority rules. It’s no sin to be outvoted.
The Stage is in the mid-50s on 7th Avenue while Grand Central Terminal is at 42nd and Park Avenue. That wasn’t too much of a hike for Helaine, Stef and me, but it was too a lot for my parents. We threw them in a cab and met them at the train station.
We were home by 8:30 PM.
My parents need to go home to recuperate from their vacation!
Blogger’s note: I took well over 300 photos today. I was saddened to see a few pieces of dust had settled on “Clicky’s” sensor. That was easily cured with a bulb duster I carry… but not until I had shot at least 250 photos that need an extra hand to be acceptable.