Thursday, August 11, 2011

New York City: Day 4

Whew. What a walk! We were up early today to catch a 9am ferry to the Statue of Liberty, which left from Liberty State Park in New Jersey. We knew that the light rail would get us close to the park, but we didn't know that the park was huge, and we took a VERY roundabout way to get out there and ended up having a mile plus trek to the boat. At least we made it on time, no thanks to the security that chose to scan change from J's pocket a second time. Seriously.

The kids and I had never been to Liberty Island before, so seeing Lady Liberty up close was a treat. I was amazed at how glossy the flame looked yet how dingy the statue itself seemed. The island had people everywhere... 13,000 visit each day, but only 2500 tickets are available to go into the statue. Hurrah for planning ahead! The view of NYC from below the island, atop the statue's pedastal was my favorite of the trip, even if it is a TIGHT squeeze to have people walking in both directions up there.

From there, we moved on to Ellis Island. I had no idea there was such a huge, detailed museum there. We spent some time seeing lists of boat passengers, the evolution of the island from a fort to intricately designed complex, and the cramped quarters of the dormitories. My biggest disappointment was that I couldn't look up all of my kids' ancestors that could have possibly come to America through NYC (none of mine, but all of J's fit the timeframe). **I need to look into this at home!**

We had been told to plan for the round trip to both islands to take about 5.5 hours, and I believe it did!

One thing that our trip was missing that we knew we wanted to do was have an authentic Italian dinner. The immediate area around our hotel had a Bertucci's, which I love but can always go to at home. We're only a PATH stop away from Hoboken, though, so we decided to head over to Luca Brasi's, and that place did not disappoint! The meatballs that the kids had on their spaghetti were the size of apples and by far the best I've ever had.

After reluctantly trashing the leftovers (hello... sauce all over our clothes on the way home!), we thought we had a bit of time before Carlo's Bake Shop closed for the night and decided to pay a visit then rather than coming back the next morning, as we had planned. The line to get in was about an hour, we were told, but we stuck it out, not wanting the opportunity to pass. When you join the line, you are given a number, but you are let into the store about 10 numbers ahead of time. Mind you, each party of people is only given one number (ours had six, and one had 10!), so 10 groups of people inside a small bakery makes for some cozy quarters, to say the least. Z and B were on top of each other a bit more than usual. But, we had time to pick out what we wanted before our number was called. We saw some full-size cakes when we walked in, and we were pretty much pinned into the cookie display, so I couldn't see the cupcakes and the like, but J and the kids picked out a cookie each, A and I planned to split a lobster tail (I had heard they were the bakery speciality), and Mom picked a mousse cake that we tried the day before at Discovery. I also chose an 8-inch cake to take home. I almost didn't, but it's almost my birthday, so I thought it could just be my early birthday cake. When else am I going to be able to say that my birthday cake was made by Buddy and his crew?

Love NY, but NJ has turned out to be pretty cool, too.

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