7/29/14 Tuesday in Florida, NY (Black Bear Campground-Private/$60/night)
Big day, we had to set our phone alarms to 6 am, getting to our bus in the campground by 7:30 am. On our way we find out the driver was a US Marshal. He concentrates on simply driving while our guide did all the talking. As we went through our little village of Florida he explained that it’s comprised primarily of Polish people who are really polite, experience no crime and grow onions for the country. This is also where William H Seward, who as Secretary of State purchased Alaska for the US, was born.
There are 26 million people living in New York State, 10 million of them live in NYC and tourists comprise an additional 2 million people each day. 22,000 visit the Statue of Liberty every day. As for crime, NYC ranks 6th. 1St : Flint,MI, 2nd: Detroit,MI, 3rd: Chicago,IL. There are 5 boroughs (signs spelled it boro): Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.
We approached via the Lincoln Tunnel that goes 25′ under the bottom of the Hudson River. Buses get their own lane and that one moved faster than the car lane. You can see the back of the bus in front of us. You also see the back of our guide’s head. NYC has 19 bridges and 4 tunnels. In the tunnels John thinks there are several tubes with just 2 lanes in each tube.
Tenement buildings are being destroyed to make room for taller buildings so all the people wanting to move into NYC have a place to go. A place in a tenement bldg costs $22,000/yr.
Soho was formed first, the street names have no system. Noho was next and has a system: numbers going from 1 getting larger as they go north. As we were turning onto 42nd (and stopped) I noticed a lady driver right below me with 2 cell phones on her lap. Soon a policeman was at the passenger door and I could tell by her body language that she was upset, grabbed her wallet…. There are 35,000 police in NYC alone. They have interesting laws: $250 fine if they “Block the Box” (intersection) and $350 fine if they honk. I only heard two honks while we were there. That was nice – lots more honking in Boston. We arrived at the theater section soon (45 theaters in this city); 42nd and Madison. This is also Times Square. Here they let us get off next to the Marriot which is right next to the Good Morning America studios. We think this is were people stay who appear early in the morning at that show (John’s favorite). Our guide said New Yorkers don’t drive cars in the city, only tourists. We did see lots of construction and delivery trucks. Our impression of Times Square was of over stimulating advertising-like the worst elements of capitalism. Crowded with all us tourists too.
The last theater is the oldest. On our way to our next stop, a tenement building up close, then a couple fun signs for a plumbing business. We also saw some nannies walking their children. Al (guide) said they get $150/day for each child.
The new World Trade Center (with the thin spire at the top) and other new buildings replacing those that fell on 9/11. The waterfalls are holes that start from waist level, then a center hole/waterfall at ground level. The names are of those whose bodies were recovered, organized by group that they were with. Notice the tiny colored dots at the edge of these waterfalls. They are the crowds of people here. Yet you didn’t feel crowded. This place was beautiful, quiet, respectful, special to walk through. Our favorite.
The Survivor Tree (a book was written about it,
The Survivor Tree: Inspired by a True Story Hardcover – July 29, 2011
Next we walked to the memorial to the fire Station Ladder 10, where all those working that day died. In NYC the firemen are called “The Bravest” and the police “The Finest.”
Some other views as we walked on to St. Paul’s Chapel (Episcopal) .
St. Paul’s, left untouched by the debris, surrounded by buildings that had fallen, became a refuge for the rescue workers. It was so touching what people did here to support those workers.
Down another block or so stands St. Peter’s Church (Catholic). This cross was created in memory of those who died on 9/11.
Back on the bus to see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Our bus this time took us to New Jersey through the Holland Tunnel. These tunnels are old, I think, because they are just 2 lane, so if there is an accident it’s like so hard to clean up! In the morning we’ve seen the traffic reports give the time it takes to get through each path over/under the Hudson River into New York. Usually 5 minutes on the George Washington Bridge (there’s an upper and lower level), 40 minutes in the Lincoln Tunnel and 50 minutes on the Holland Tunnel. By the way you are charged a toll for all bridges and tunnels as far as we can tell. Our guide said they charge double to go into the city and nothing to leave. Remember, New Yorkers don’t drive into NYC, they take public transportation. They don’t go to Times Square and especially not to Ground Zero (because of the memories of that place).
Both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are on islands so we needed to take ferries to each. We left from the New Jersey side because it was much less crowded than the New York side. You can see the New York skyline from this ferry terminal. The building with the clock is the old railroad terminal where the immigrants boarded to join their sponsors after leaving Ellis Island, as it appears as your ferry leaves/approaches New Jersey.
We had to wait in line for 1/2 an hour for the next ferry to take us to the Statue of Liberty. Guess it was a busier than usual day. Do you know what the 7 points on her crown stand for?
Our guide said the 7 points stand for the 7 seas and 7 continents of the world. As we waited for our ferry to New Jersey we saw the huge lines for New York, then views of “The Lady” and New Jersey as we headed back to our dock.
A parting image of New York from our New Jersey ferry terminal. The white tent is where we passed through security to get on the ferry.
We were bushed so when we got to the campground at about 6 pm we just fixed a light leftover supper, watched some TV, then went to bed.
This was a fabulous birthday to remember. I’ve hit another milestone: 66 years, full retirement age as far as Social Security is concerned. That means I could work and get SS without the extra taxes on my SS. Life just keeps getting better. I’m so blessed with a great guy, great health and such a fascinating life.