Monday, January 10, 2022

Whirlwind Trip to NYC Day 4: New York to New Jersey--and Back!

This day was a day for wandering far and wide! Will and I had a bit of a lie-in while Matt and Syd ventured out for the best bagels in Harlem, and to play another game of "Dunkin roulette" at the eponymous coffee shop on the corner. We stopped there every morning of our trip, and the rules of the game seemed to be that you give your order to the barista, and then she makes you something random and you drink it.

Syd did not enjoy this game because she's very particular, and the barista especially horrified her one morning by serving her HOT matcha, which she loathes, but I kind of liked not knowing how many shots of espresso or what kind of milk was in my own morning coffee.

Once we were all finally up and dressed and caffeinated, with our tummies full of bagels, we went out for the day. We briefly hopped off the subway so we could see our first real, live Banksy--

--and then we were right back again--

--where, you'll be pleased to know, Will's NYC dream came true:

Then it was back on the subway for a long, long time--

--all the way down to the bottom bit of Manhattan and the Staten Island Ferry:

Is riding the free Staten Island Ferry back and forth from NYC to New Jersey and back the absolute most touristy thing one can do?

Possibly, but it also gives you a terrific view of the Statue of Liberty!

And the views of the Manhattan skyline, air pollution highly evident, are a big part of the fun!

Even if you plan to ride the ferry right back again, you have to disembark in New Jersey and hop on a different ferry that's ready to go. Matt used his time on the first ferry, though, to scope out the best views, so when we all got back on again he knew exactly where to lead us so I could take the best photos of my unwilling children with the skyline and the Statue of Liberty over their shoulders:

And another view of the Statue of Liberty! I 10/10 recommend the Staten Island Ferry for the free views without the fuss of actually visiting Ellis Island--although I DO want to do that someday!

In all our trip planning for NYC, Will was really just excited about seeing the vermin, so here she is feeding leftover bagel--which is very bad for them!--to a seagull:

She attracted so many bird friends that I bagged it and took the rest of my photos of her from a VERY safe distance...

After a delicious lunch (for us and the birds!) of bagels, we walked the Battery north to Castle Clinton. I had planned to explore Castle Clinton and have the kids earn their Junior Ranger badges there, but even though the place is technically open, it's really actually closed and pretty much just serves as the open-air ticket window for the Ellis Island ferry:

When Matt asked about it, though, a ranger did pop into the office and bring back Junior Ranger books and badges for the kids. Syd looked at me hopefully when she saw the badges already in my hand, but I still made the kids look over the two or three displays that we were able to access and fill out their books, anyway:

And then Ranger Google helped them with the rest of their books!

So, I don't think that we left Castle Clinton with any particular insight as to its merits or claims to fame (other than the fact that it was an aquarium for a time, which...), but regardless, Junior Ranger badges achieved, we headed northeast for some more sightseeing on foot:

I had been vaguely leading us more or less to the Wall Street bull statue, thinking we might as well check it off our list, but this is as close as we got to it:

You guys, people are standing in line BEHIND the bull, because they all want to pose for photos squatting underneath the bull's butt! That's... not what I'd expected. Hard pass.

We didn't really have an agenda for the rest of our day, but I knew that if we simply walked north up Broadway we'd definitely pass stuff we wanted to look at, so that's what we did!

We passed Trinity Church, where Eliza and Alexander Hamilton are buried, but the area is under construction and you can't access the cemetery, boo. I'd sort of had it in my head that we'd walk as far as the African Burial Ground National Monument, but instead we diverted and visited the World Trade Center Complex to see the memorials:

The sun was setting on our last full day in NYC and the kids still had some spending money burning holes in their pockets (Thank you, Grandparents!), so we took the subway back to Bryant Park's Winter Market. Will bought a new best friend--

--and so did Syd:

Syd had some dumplings--

--while Will had a cookie:

I had a hot apple cider and a gingersnap, both of which will remain unphotographed because my hands were full!

The remaining hours of our trip were that unremarkable combination of packing, eating the weird combo of all the last bits of groceries (chicken strips and leftover take-out pizza and Matt's regret that he'd bought whole jars of peanut butter and jelly that we for sure weren't going to be able to finish), subway stations and Grand Central Terminal--

--and the airport shuttle and security theater and the sunset over the East Coast--

--and the hassle of dealing with overly-gregarious and WAY too hyped for the time of day fellow riders of the airport shuttle and the hour-long drive on top of it AND the detour to pick up the dog from the sitter that make you especially happy to finally walk in your own door, be furiously greeted by the cats who are outraged to tell you that STRANGERS ENTERED THE HOUSE AND PLAYED WITH THEM WHILE YOU WERE GONE, take a shower in your own bathroom, dry yourself off with your own towels, put on clean pajamas that don't smell like Saturday's spilled coffee for a change, and eat... well, it was more take-out pizza. 

But it was take-out pizza that tasted like home!

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